This is a new series produced by Simcha Jacobovici (of “Naked Archaeologist” fame), son of Romanian Holocaust survivors, acclaimed (and sometimes defamed) controversial Investigative Journalist, and a dual citizen of Toronto, Canada and Israel.
Two of the first four episodes have dealt with Mary Magdalene:
The other two involve analysis of the only crucifixion nails that have ever been found by archaeology. All are quite exceptional programs.
One episode explores a crucifixion nail found in the tomb of Hasmonean king Antigonus II, who was the final king of the Hasmonean Dynasty and said to have been beheaded and crucified by order of Marc Antony. This nail was embedded in a heel bone and still had part of the bone attached to it. According to a plague found in the tomb, the king’s body had been returned by his faithful minister Abba from Babylon to be interred at Jerusalem. The plague also addresses the king not by his Greek name (Antigonus) but by his Hebrew name “Matthew son of Judah.”
The second episode is about the two nails found in the tomb of the High Priest Caiaphas (of Gospel fame). One nail was found inside the bone box and the other on the floor of the cave tomb. Both appeared to be nails that were used to pin down the hands of the victim. However, the two nails had been separated and ended up in a different location than the rest of the burial equipment. By a combination of scanning-electron-microscopy, spectroscopy, and isotope analysis the nails were positively re-united with the Caiaphas burial and the unique conditions of the burial box and flow-stone of the cave. These techniques also showed traces of phosphorus (from human bone) on the nails as well as cedar wood fragments (from the cross).
A study of the two types of nails led the research team to conclude that the victims were placed on a X-shaped cross (ala the cross that Peter was said to have been crucified on).
It is quite stunning that the only known crucifixion nails have come from a kingly and high priestly burial.
In the case of Caiaphas, the presence of the nails is highly provocative. Were they placed in his bone box as a vindictive statement? The documentary team suggests that it was a form of apology after an act of self-preservation on the part of the High Priest for his people. However, this obviously is a superficial explanation. First of all, if these nails were the ones actually used to crucify Jesus, it means that they were deliberately collected and saved at the time of his removal from the cross. Secondly, the type of wood used (cedar) was quite valuable and not expected for a common crucifixion at all. My conclusion is that the crucifixion of Jesus (or rather his substitute) was carefully orchestrated. The local authorities, including Caiaphas, Herod Antipas, and even Pontius Pilate were all actively participating in the “making of a Messiah.” The presence of the nails only confirms this. Caiaphas was proud of his contribution to the “Passion Play.” All had gone according to plan. In other words, it was a true Biblical Conspiracy! Naaaaaailed It.