It’s happened again. The same individuals who brought us the highly problematic Jesus Tomb a few years ago have returned with another tomb. This one has an inscription and a picture of (allegedly) Jonah’s fish. Jonah was sometimes used by early Christians as a symbol for Jesus. (The “sign of Jonah” in Matt. 12:38-40)
Todd Bolen has links and summaries of a few posts reflecting both sides of this question.
I am initially skeptical for the following reasons.
- The context cited for this new announcement is the “Jesus Tomb,” which makes for a troubled foundation.
- One of the key people behind this, Simcha Jacobovici (a.k.a. “The Naked Archaeologist”), is the same guy who just last year brought us the actual nails used to crucify Jesus. Really?
- The widely-circulated photo of the “fish” shows it facing sideways (like a real fish would be) but the object is actually pointed down in the tomb. Does the interpretation depend on a manipulated picture? It just looks fishy to me. (Forgive the inadvertent pun.)
- I’ve looked at the “fish” photo (the link has it upside down) and the patterns of the fish’s scales just don’t look right. The shapes are too varied and inconsistent. Maybe that’s unimportant. What do you think?
Scholars from both “conservative” and “liberal” perspectives appear to be skeptical of the claim. We’ll see how this plays out. It could be a burial place for early Christians, but then again it may not. The best thing is to resist the temptation for sensationalism and money-making (but it’s too late for that now) and stick to what the evidence actually suggests. If the evidence is solid, firm answers will come out in time.