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Austin Cline

Jesus' Nails or Just Plain Regular Nails?

By July 19, 2012

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Did Simcha Jacobovici find the nails used to crucify Jesus? In 2011 he said he did and I missed that story. He even made a documentary called "The Nails of the Cross," though it doesn't appear to have gotten a lot of publicity.

Jesus Nails?
Jesus Nails?
Photo: Lior Mizrahi/Getty

Jacobovici has a reputation for making dramatic claims about his finds. He once claimed to have found the burial site of Jesus and his family, something which the Israel Antiquities Authority disputed. That claim would also seem to contradict this one slightly: if Jesus really did have a tomb, why weren't the nails there? Why would they be in someone else's?

Moreover, the Israel Antiquities Authority says that nails like these are pretty common in tombs. I'm not sure why they would be common, but if they are then that would cast a lot of doubt on what Simcha Jacobovici is saying. It would also bring his basic credibility into question because this is something he should know.

Jacobovici presented two first-century Roman nails that were bent "in a way that is consistent with crucifixion." He contends that these are the same nails found in the burial tomb of Caiaphas, the Jewish high priest who is associated in the Gospels with the crucifixion of Jesus, although he found them at a lab in Tel Aviv University.

Israeli archaeologists discovered the tomb of Caiaphas in 1990. In the tomb were 12 ossuaries, small stone coffins used to store bones. Two of the ossuaries had inscriptions with the name Caiaphas, and scholars believe the tomb does belong to the family of the high priest.

In the Israel Antiquities Authority's report on the discovery, they mention two 8-centimeter iron nails that were found in the tomb. One was discovered on the ground; the other was inside one of the ossuaries and had limestone residue from the ossuary. Around the same time, Tel Aviv University received a delivery of two nails that fit the description; Professor Israel Hershkowitz, a researcher in bio-history, put them in a safe there.

"Based on the size, shape and condition of the nails, it is possible that these were used in crucifixion," Hershkowitz says in the documentary. ... "I can't say 100 percent that these are THE nails used in the crucifixion, but I connected the dots, and it's certainly possible."

Source: AOL News

Apparently the Caiaphas tomb -- and the Israel Antiquities Authority says that it might not even belong to Caiaphas' family -- has been sealed and a park established on the site. This means that it would be difficult for anyone to return to this site and see if there is any more information to be obtained.

Since little to nothing has really been published about this in the past year, I suspect that other archaeologists aren't taking his claims very seriously. Somehow, I don't find that very surprising, do you?

July 21, 2012 at 12:49 am
(1) John Allen Himes says:

First question: The Nails – would they have been pulled to retrieve the body from the cross? If so, was it not the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea that was used to hold the body of Jesus? If so would not the nails be in possession of him(Joseph) or possibly of the disciples? If the reported nails are the ones that held the body of Jesus would not they be used as claim by either of the parties to present their point of view of the crucifixion? Finally, supporting documentation would be transcribed by Caiphas as the Leaders would affirm that these nails were the ones reputed to have held the body to give creedence to their position that the crucifixion was successful.

July 21, 2012 at 2:45 pm
(2) don salter says:

Apparently religious artifacts are a dime a dozen; see this enlightening article by Ed Neumann: World overflowing with holy hardware


July 21, 2012 at 6:05 pm
(3) Marvin says:

“Somehow, I don’t find that very surprising, do you?”

LOL! No.


July 22, 2012 at 3:22 am
(4) OZAtheist says:

This Simcha Jacobovici seems to be just another shyster trying to make a buck from the easily hoodwinked faithful.

Critical thinking is not something the god botherers are good at, so they are an easy target for the unscrupulous. I have read that there have been enough pieces of the cross that Jesus supposedly died on, that have been sold, to construct several crosses.

July 23, 2012 at 3:17 am
(5) Hucul says:

Since there is virtually no evidence of the existence of Jesus and even the scipture in itself defies his divinity in its many contradictions, this whole “discovery” is irrelevant and so is the article about it. :o )

August 2, 2012 at 4:28 pm
(6) Mary says:

I don’t think that such an absurd claim is even worth discussing.

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