The credibility of the New Testament hinges on whether or not its reported eyewitness accounts about Jesus are true as the apostle Peter tells us,
When we told you about the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, we were not telling just clever stories that someone invented. But we saw the greatness of Jesus with our own eyes.
The apostle John also claims here to have been an eyewitness to Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.
We are writing to you about something which has always existed yet which we ourselves actually saw and heard: something which we had an opportunity to observe closely and even to hold in our hands…we saw it, we are eye-witnesses of it, and are now writing to you about it. It was the very life of all ages, the life that has always existed with the Father, which actually became visible in person to us mortal men.
But Jacobovici and Wilson say that the New Testament was changed, and the true story of what happened to Jesus was written in what they call, the “lost gospel.” Before addressing the facts about The Lost Gospel, it should be noted that Jacobovici has made other claims about Jesus that proved to be false.
- In 2002, he produced a documentary on the James Ossuary, arguing it provided evidence that Jesus had a family. Later, the Discovery Channel called it “one of the 10 top scientific hoaxes of all time.”
- In 2007, he and film director James Cameron produced a Discovery Channel documentary on The Jesus Family Tomb, which they purported was the true burial place for Jesus. That claim also became headline news, drawing huge TV ratings. Archaeologists quickly denounced those claims as unfounded (see http://y-jesus.com/more/jft-jesus-family-tomb/). William Dever, a non-Christian archaeologist from the University of Arizona, stated,
It’s a publicity stunt, and it will make these guys very rich. And it will upset millions of innocent people because they don’t know enough to separate fact from fiction.
Furthermore, a letter signed by 17 academics condemned Jacobovici’s work as “controversial,” citing its lack of objectivity.
Although scholars have debunked Jacobovici’s prior claims about Jesus, The Lost Gospel needs to be evaluated on its own merits. Will the evidence show it to be simply another “publicity stunt,” or does it truly revise the history of Jesus Christ?
Let’s look at how Jacobovici and Wilson draw such radical conclusions about this 6th century manuscript. They claim to have spent years “decoding” the text, a Syriac language version of a Greek story, entitled Joseph and Aseneth. The key to their “decoding” is the replacing of the name of Joseph with the name “Jesus,” and the name of Aseneth with “Mary Magdalene.”
Jacobovici and Wilson then launch readers on a trail of intrigue and hypothetical assumptions, ending up with their sensational conclusion:
We now have a decoded manuscript–at least as authoritative as the Canonical Gospels–that provides us with suppressed historical facts about one of the most important individuals who ever walked the face of our planet.
Do Jacobovici’s words evoke memories of Dan Brown’s best-seller, The Da Vinci Code? Although Brown’s best-selling book is fictional, its woven tapestry of fact and fiction led millions into believing that Jesus and Mary Magdalene had a secret marriage. The real facts, however, tell a far different story (see http://y-jesus.com/wwrj/2-da-vinci-conspiracy/).
What will the facts tell us about The Lost Gospel? How do we know if this 6th century manuscript is the true history of Jesus Christ, or just another hoax like the documentaries Jacobovici produced on the James Ossuary and The Jesus Family Tomb? To find out, we need to examine these new claims in light of historical facts about Jesus Christ and other manuscript evidence.