‘Naked Archaeologist’ Sues Critic in Israeli Court

Go down

‘Naked Archaeologist’ Sues Critic in Israeli Court

Post by Bryant on Fri Jul 19, 2013 8:30 pm

‘Naked Archaeologist’ Sues Critic in Israeli Court
Daniel Estrin
The World


There’s a dark underbelly to the world of biblical archaeology in Israel. The latest saga involves an Israeli-Canadian filmmaker, host of a TV series called the Naked Archaeologist, who believes he may have found the tomb of Jesus, the nails of the cross, and a smattering of other finds.

A retired curator in Israel’s government antiquities department says the filmmaker’s claims and his methods are one big moneymaking scam. The filmmaker says that’s libel, and he’s suing him for $1 million.

The filmmaker did not want me at his trial.

After I met him outside the courtroom last week and told him I would be covering the case, his lawyer filed a motion to hold the hearing behind closed doors. The judge overruled the motion. So I got to stay. And for seven hours I watched a courtroom drama unfold that captured the essence of the intriguing, and cutthroat, business of biblical archaeology.

Simcha Jacobovici is the filmmaker who says he’s been wronged. He the star in a TV series, “The Naked Archaeologist.” No, he’s not actually naked.

“It’s called the naked archaeologist because we serve the archaeology naked,” says Jacobovici.

In one video clip he says he’s looking to see if there’s historical proof for the stories of the Bible.

“My job is to be like the little kid in the story of the Emperor Has No Clothes and say, ‘wait a minute, where are the clothes?’” he says. “And that means sometimes people get upset with me and sometimes people get excited. But at least we’re opening the windows and letting the fresh air in and we’re talking about the stories again.”

What some people are talking about right now is whether Jacobovici is a fraud.

“Had he said this is science fiction, I could care less. Historical fiction, I could care less,” says Joe Zias is a Michigan-born anthropologist.

Zias has retired from Israel’s antiquities authority. But during his term he was particularly zealous in his quest to expose Jacobovici.

“The moment you said that it’s DNA, the moment you say its science, the moment you step into my world, then I think you’re into trouble,” he says.

Zias doesn’t just accuse Jacobovici of bad science. He has accused him of pimping off the Bible, trying to deceive the public, calculated deception, and propagating multi-million dollar schemes.

Zias is particularly critical of Jacobovici’s documentary called, “The Lost Tomb of Jesus.”

In it, Jacobovici investigates the site where he believes Jesus and his family was buried. There was much buzz surrounding the film. Its executive producer was none other than James Cameron, of Titanic and Avatar fame. The film was slated to air on the National Geographic channel. But experts invited to examine the film’s claims were not convinced, and the channel dropped it.

Jacobovici wouldn’t speak about his archaeological theories for this story.

But outside the courtroom, Jacobovici was willing to speak about the case.

He says professional disagreements are one thing. But all of this has gone too far.

“I just think it’s a very simple thing. Democracy ends when libel begins,” he says. “When you accuse people of criminal activity. Of planting evidence and things like that. You have crossed the line from legitimate debate to plain old classic libel.”

Jacobovici says Simon and Schuster, the publishers of his book about Jesus’ tomb, delayed the publication of his next book because Zias wrote them a critical letter. And he claims Zias’ correspondence with the National Geographic channel and the Discovery Channel led to the cancelation of film screenings on both those networks.

Zias denies all that. Altogether.

Jacobovici claims Zias has cost him about $2.3 million dollars in damages. But he says this trial is about more than just money. It’s about enabling people like him to voice controversial theories about biblical archaeology without fear of defamation.

“Professors come up to me, and they whisper to me as if we are living in the Soviet Union, I agree with you on that, or I agree with you on this, but I am not going to say it because I don’t have tenure yet,” says Jacobovici. “What kind of society do we live in where people are afraid to express their views because they will be libeled? Especially when you have theology involved, people are scared to express their opinions,” Jacobovici says.

But Zias says that’s exactly what Jacobovici is doing in this lawsuit– making his critics scared of expressing their opinions.

“You’d be surprised about the number of people colleagues who support me to the bitter end but who are afraid to speak up,” says Zias.

The lawsuit is expected to last about another year. No matter who wins this one battle, Zias says his opponent and his team have already won the war.

“In a way, they would have won already just by filing the lawsuit against me,” he says. “The message is: you want to criticize us? You’re gonna end up like Joe Zias.”

The dean of a university in California told me lawyers for Jacobovici threatened a lawsuit after he published an article critical of Jacobovici’s theories on the Jesus family tomb.

There was never any further legal action, however.

The dean spoke on condition of anonymity because, he said, he didn’t want to get dragged further into all of this.

And who can blame him? When my interview with Jacobovici took a turn he didn’t like, he insinuated he’d sue me too.
avatar
Bryant
Admin

Posts : 1452
Join date : 2012-01-28
Age : 30
Location : John Day, Oregon

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: ‘Naked Archaeologist’ Sues Critic in Israeli Court

Post by Dennis324 on Sat Jul 20, 2013 6:48 am

I used to watch his show.  Actually I think I've seen all his shows.  They were always pretty interesting, but I must admit that Simca's show is heavy on speculation and light on fact. 
 
He did one special talking about the Exodus that was fascinating!
 
But the Tomb of Jesus show got him in hot water (as, I expect, Bill OReilly's book on 'Killing Jesus' will as well).  Simca was looking at an Ossuary that had some names scrawled across them that he says connects it with Jesus of Nazareth.  It was a beautifully carved Ossuary that appears as if a rich man (say...Joseph of Aramathia) commissioned it.  Oddly the names on it looks like it could have been scrawled on it with a rock at some point in the past.  Allt hat loving work on the Ossuary and then they scrawl the names on in such a primitive fashion?  Anyway anytime you deviate from tradition and present it as fact, you will get into hot water.
 
Scott Wolter's show "America Unearthed' reminds me a lot of the 'Naked Archaologist'.
 
I'd noticed Simca's show wasn't on the air anymore.  I guess this is why.

_________________

 


                   Roll Tide!
avatar
Dennis324

Posts : 1689
Join date : 2012-01-28
Age : 56
Location : Alabama

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: ‘Naked Archaeologist’ Sues Critic in Israeli Court

Post by Sir Pun on Sat Jul 20, 2013 8:58 am

Sim as show was fun to watch when dealing with the OT but his jewish bias just shines through in dealing with anything NT

Sir Pun

Posts : 1621
Join date : 2013-01-30

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: ‘Naked Archaeologist’ Sues Critic in Israeli Court

Post by Bryant on Sat Jul 20, 2013 12:23 pm

I really dislike his methodology. He begins with a conclusion and tries to force everything he finds it. Now we can add suing anyone who points out his ruses to the method.
avatar
Bryant
Admin

Posts : 1452
Join date : 2012-01-28
Age : 30
Location : John Day, Oregon

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: ‘Naked Archaeologist’ Sues Critic in Israeli Court

Post by Dennis324 on Sat Jul 20, 2013 7:08 pm

Sir Pun wrote:Sim as show was fun to watch when dealing with the OT but his jewish bias just shines through in dealing with anything NT

 I kinda got the same impression.  Smile

_________________

 


                   Roll Tide!
avatar
Dennis324

Posts : 1689
Join date : 2012-01-28
Age : 56
Location : Alabama

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: ‘Naked Archaeologist’ Sues Critic in Israeli Court

Post by Sir Pun on Sat Jul 20, 2013 8:58 pm

Bryant wrote:I really dislike his methodology.  He begins with a conclusion and tries to force everything he finds it.  Now we can add suing anyone who points out his ruses to the method.
mmhm, kind of like "climate change."

Sir Pun

Posts : 1621
Join date : 2013-01-30

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: ‘Naked Archaeologist’ Sues Critic in Israeli Court

Post by Dennis324 on Mon Jul 22, 2013 9:18 am

lol!

_________________

 


                   Roll Tide!
avatar
Dennis324

Posts : 1689
Join date : 2012-01-28
Age : 56
Location : Alabama

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: ‘Naked Archaeologist’ Sues Critic in Israeli Court

Post by Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum