27 FEBRUARY 2007

Director James Cameron, the man behind the box-office hit Titanic, unveiled his latest documentary in New York on Monday, in which he claims to have discovered the tomb of Jesus.

The controversial documentary shows the investigation of a Jerusalem tomb first uncovered in 1980, which the Oscar-winning director now believes contains the last remains of Jesus. James maintains the 2,000-year-old limestone coffins at the burial site, which was uncovered 27 years ago by Israeli construction workers building a new apartment block, are those of Jesus, a son named Judah, and Mary Magdalene.

"It doesn't get bigger than this," said the director, whose work The Lost Tomb Of Jesus will be aired on the US Discovery Channel on March 4. "We've done our homework, we've made the case, and now it's time for the debate to begin." James and his Canadian film-making partner Simcha Jacobovici argue that statistical tests and DNA analysis back his belief.

Archaeologists and theologians dispute his claims, however. They maintain the labelling on the coffins does not provide conclusive evidence of the contents, and question the reliability of the DNA testing.

But James and his team are adamant about their claims. "I have never doubted that there was a historical Jesus, that he walked the Earth. But the simple fact is that there has never been a shred of physical archaeological evidence to support that fact until right now," says the director.

Photo: © Alphapress.com
Launching his controversial documentary in New York on Monday, film maker James defended his research into the burial chamberPhoto: © Getty ImagesClick on photos for gallery
Photo: © Alphapress.com
Simcha Jacobovici, who collaborated with the Titanic director on the documentary, at the entrance to the cave in Jerusalem's East Talpiot districtPhoto: © AFP
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