Is The Jesus Discovery Tabloid Journalism?
by James Tabor
Many months ago I did an interview with talented Italian reporter Elisa Bosco for Fenix magazine on our recent Talpiot tomb discoveries. Her extensive story, Giona e la Tomba della Resurrezione,” which translates as “Jonah and the Resurrection Tomb,” running as the cover story in the current issue, has just come out. I don’t know how good your Italian might be but you can get the idea if you would like to take a look, see here.
My Italian colleague Antonio Lombatti has already commented here on his blog in Italian, pointing out that Fenix magazine is an Italian tabloid that specializes in sensationalist type stories ranging from “Atlantis being found” to “Aliens built the pyramids.” Not knowing the Italian press I trust his point in that regard but his concluding remark, that such media outlets are the “right place” for our discoveries in the Talpiot “patio tomb” is nasty, unprofessional, and uncalled for, despite his disagreement with our interpretation. What I do know is the reporter, Elisa Bosco worked hard to get the story right. I am not fluent in Italian and I look forward to reading a translation of her story and will withhold judgment until I have read it. Tabloid or not, you’ve gotta love those crazy Fenix covers–talk about a combination of images!
For the record I should point out that our press conferences have been open to any and all reporters who come and we do not try to control who writes popular stories or the shape they might take. Anyone who has dealt with the press knows this is the case and often errors or mistakes are made in stories no matter how carefully we all try to prevent them. However, beyond any popular press coverage of our Talpiot tomb discoveries there is a responsible cover story on Eretz magazine that had added substantially to what we know, see my blog post here, our academic report on our findings at Bible & Interpretation here, a half dozen follow-up articles at B&I with comments (search for “Jonah”), a wide-ranging and responsible academic discussion with comments on the ASOR Blog for the entire month of March here, our fully documented book, The Jesus Discovery, which covers both Talpiot tombs, and our web site with lots of photos and other materials here. I will be presenting a paper on our findings at the Society of Biblical Literature meeting in Chicago in November, and at the ASOR regional meeting next Spring. Let’s just say for now there is lots more to come.