JERUSALEM — Hailed by some as the most significant of all Christian relics but dismissed by skeptics amid accusations of forgery, misinterpretation and reckless speculation, two ancient artifacts found here have set off a fierce archaeological and theological debate in recent decades.
At the heart of the quarrel is an assortment of inscriptions that led some to suggest Jesus of Nazareth was married and fathered a child, and that the Resurrection could never have happened.
Now, the earth may have yielded new secrets about these disputed antiquities. A Jerusalem-based geologist believes he has established a common bond between them that strengthens the case for their authenticity and importance.
If true this would offer serious evidence that the tradition of Jesus as the unmarried, only child of a virgin mother is wrong. On the other hand, it would also be solid evidence that Jesus actually existed. You pays your money and you takes your choice.
What it will not do is cause any crisis of faith in followers of the various flavors of Christianity. Some will reject it out of hand. Some will ignore it as irrelevant. Some will just adapt their theology. Mormonism survived the revelation that much of its holy book doesn't correspond to New World archeology so I suspect few Christians will have much of a problem with this.
In the end, I doubt many minds will be changed. Still, it would be pretty neat to know the truth.