NEW YORK – In yet another bold display of investigative journalism, CBS News has used anchorman Dan Rather and its 60 Minutes program to break a story about a document discovery they say disproves the Biblical account of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
"The documents we're about to show you are sure to turn the world of Christianity on its proverbial ear," Rather told the audience at the top of the 60 Minutes report. "I want to assure our viewers that we have done everything humanly possible to ensure the authenticity of these documents, and CBS News is thoroughly convinced that they are indeed the real deal."
CBS went on to show images of what they say are entries from diary-like memoirs written in the days after the crucifixion of Christ by Thomas, one of Christ's 12 disciples. The documents were provided to CBS News by an anonymous source.
The entry most damning to the Biblical resurrection story, according to CBS, is one that appears to have been written by Thomas at the end of the day on Sunday, April 12th, 0033—exactly one week after what would have been the very first Easter Sunday. That entry begins with the sentence, "Not much exciting happened today." The "today" referred to, if the documents are to be believed, would have been the day Thomas (known to most Christians as "Doubting Thomas") met a resurrected Christ and felt the nail holes in His hands and the wound in His side.
|Thomas' Memoir on Sunday, April 12th, 33 A.D. [view larger]
Text as seen in photo:
Sunday April 12th, 0033
Not much exciting happened today. Still a little down about the whole crucifixion thing on Friday. Kind of a bummer.
Went fishing with Peter and Andrew, but we caught pretty much nothing. They kept trying both sides of the boat for old time's sake, but nothing doing. Andrew kept bugging Peter about trying that whole water-walking thing again. I think Peter was getting really annoyed with him. Talk about awkward.
Peter's still talking about running for the Sanhedrin. I really doubt he would have any kind of a chance. All for now – getting late. I think I got too much sun on that boat.
Monday April 13th, 0033
Another really boring day. I'm starting to realize how much more exciting life was with Jesus around. I doubt I'll ever meet anyone like him again.
"These documents certainly seem to be irreconcilable with the traditional Christian beliefs about the resurrection of Christ," Rather said in his report. "It's almost impossible to believe that Thomas would not have made mention of seeing the Risen Christ in his personal diary."
But what many Christians and others are finding impossible to believe is the authenticity of the so-called Thomas diaries. Arthur Gray, lead writer for the popular bigbibleblog.com, has raised a number of issues he says cast a powerful shadow of doubt on the legitimacy of the claims of CBS News.
"When you look at the images CBS released, a number of problems just immediately jump right off the parchment," Gray told THO. "First of all, the kind of quill that was used in these so-called memoirs was not in common use until at least 40 A.D. Secondly, the sentence structures used throughout these documents has never been seen in any piece of writing dated before the middle ages."
Gray and his fellow bloggers aren't the only ones skeptical about the CBS report.
"Dan Rather and CBS News seem determined to attack our way of life in any way they can," said Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. "First, they launch a completely phony attack on President Bush's infallible military service, and now they're trying to tell me that Jesus never rose from the dead. Well, I have four eyewitnesses who say something different. You may have heard of them: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John."
Despite doubts being raised by Mohler, bigbibleblog.com and other Internet sites, experts interviewed for the 60 Minutes piece are sticking to their claims that the memoirs are the genuine article.
"Please, like someone is really gonna make something like this up," said Marcus Borg – a fellow with the Jesus Seminar and the star expert witness for the CBS report. "Trust me, I know how touchy Christians can become when you mess with the claims of their precious Bible, but that does nothing to change the devastating evidence found in these memoirs."
Rather is also sticking by his report in the face of the emerging controversy.
"It's never going to be a comfortable ride when you embark on the uncompromising path to truth," Rather said in a statement. "When I tell you that we have thoroughly researched the legitimacy of these documents, I mean what I say. Just look at them. The dates check out. All names are spelled correctly. What more do you want?"