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-   -   hypothetical science question (http://www.myth-weavers.com/showthread.php?t=169282)

silveroak May 7 '12 4:51am

hypothetical science question
 
Assuming the best case scneario for finding the 'tomb of Jesus'- for example finding a tomb with a Latin inscription reading "here lies Jesus of Nazarath, self proclaimed king of the Jews" (because the Romans would certainly not have accepted teh legitimacy of the claim) and inside the remains of a body are found. The idea is put forth, of course, that perhaps after the tomb was vaccasted it was reused- how would you test for this?

i ask because with all the history channels specials and othe rissues being thrown about, the issue remains for me that we don't exactly have any DNa for comparison, how would we even know? It is not meant as an attack on religion or to imply that such a found body would be Jesus, merely a question on how the claim would be scientifically tested.

Plugsy May 7 '12 5:29am

You couldn't prove it. You could date it and estimate the geographical origin by haplogroup providing there's something to get DNA from so, if not mummified you'd need teeth.

Agricolus May 7 '12 5:49am

Interesting question, as the concept of virgin birth might supercede Jesus as having any DNA ties to anyone, anywhere, before or since. Putting virgin birth aside, it may be possible to trace back to St. Joseph's brothers or sisters and Mary's siblings, as well, and use statistics to make a link - they recently used statistical analysis to locate in time an occurrance of a great almost-extinction type of event that 'strangled' man's lines to a few thousands of people, perhaps tens of thousands of years ago, and linked it to a geological event. Damn, I wish I had paid more atention to the documentary, but I didn't and don't have a link to it.

Jesus' time would be the first place I'd want to go when we make the first time machine...hey...idea for a book!

Voxanadu May 7 '12 6:21am

You could date the rocks in the tomb, but it wouldn't be accurate enough to be conclusive.

Such a place would always be in question. Just like the shroud of Turin.

Bbender May 7 '12 9:52am

I don't think dating the rocks would work, since these would probably be (hundreds of) millions of years old, unless they would be bricks perhaps. Is it possible to date bricks?

You could date everything inside the tomb in various ways, match with what we know about that time and place and you would have an indication that someone of the right time period was indeed buried there. It would be a lot more difficult to date the inscription, especially if carved in rock.

Regardless of how obviously fake it would be or how well everything points to it being real, there will always be those who criticise it and those who refute any criticism.
As said above the evidence could never be conclusive, especially in the absence of any other historical evidence that Jesus existed.

silveroak May 7 '12 12:47pm

If any historical evidence were to exst that isn't specifically ties to teh religion, i would expect it to be references to Herod's slaughter of the innocents (which nicely mirrors the last plague of Egypt as a litterary device), but the question is to assume that the tomb itself was somehow authenticated, and it had come down to a question of the identity of the body.

Bbender May 7 '12 1:50pm

There would be no way to identify the body, since there is no
I think it is safe to assume any existing relics are fake. If the DNA would match an existing relic however...
reference. The only option would be that the DNA would be significantly different from other humans.

I'm no expert at all, but a quick google search indicates that the historicity of Herod's slaughter is a very controversial issue.

Gygaxphobia May 7 '12 5:49pm

If you want to use science to test something you need to have a hypothesis on it first really and then analyse how the results compare to expectations.

The scientific theory would be Parthenogenesis though how that would create a male specimen I do not know, but you would find that DNA only came from one parent and presumably somehow both X and Y chromosomes would too.

But that is a completely unique situation, never seen before. I suppose if you found a unique human DNA specimen from the right period you could propose to have found the unique person you are looking for, though it is possible for people to propose an alternate hypothesis to be tested that might give alternative explanations.

silveroak May 7 '12 11:25pm

it seems to me that if we are talking about finding teh body of Jesus who supposedly rose bodilly into heaven according to the bible then testing for supernatural orrigins based on the text saying the body wouldn't be there anyways wouldn't really demonstrate anything. Beyond, I suppose extreem confusion if they came back indicating that he was born through parthenogensis...

Bbender May 8 '12 7:31am

That's an interesting remark. There would be arguments between different fractions trying to prove the Bible: one who wants to prove the body is Jesus, because that would prove his existence, the other who wants to prove the body is not Jesus, because of the above remark...

It also makes it less likely that anyone would fake the whole thing.

Out of curiosity, I googled for "accuracy of carbon dating", because I wondered how well it would work in this case. All I got were religious sites trying to question/disprove it...

(according to a quick wikipedia scan, it is about 16 years for dates after 6000 BC, so it would work well to date a hypothetical body of Christ)
fun fact


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