Bulgarian bones could be John the Baptist's as claimed, scientists say
A reliquary box thought to have been used to carry the bones of John the Baptist.
June 22nd, 2012
07:55 AM ET

Bulgarian bones could be John the Baptist's as claimed, scientists say

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

(CNN)– When the tools of modern science are applied to religious relics, the results are almost always the same: Science says the relics aren't what their supporters claim.

The most famous of them all, the Turin Shroud, is widely regarded as a Middle Ages forgery, and even the Catholic Church does not insist the shroud was actually used to wrap the body of Jesus himself.

So when Bulgarian archeologists announced two years ago that they had found the bones of John the Baptist, Tom Higham was skeptical.

He got a surprise.

Higham, an Oxford University scientist and an atheist who doesn't believe in "any kind of religion or God or anything like that," was asked to test six small bone fragments found on an island named Sveti Ivan - St. John.

CNN's Belief Blog: the faith angles behind the big stories

The bones turned out to be from a man who lived in the Middle East at the same time as Jesus, Higham said.

"We got a date that was exactly where it should be, right in the middle of the first century," said Higham, a radiocarbon dating expert.

It's not proof that they belonged to John the Baptist, since there's no DNA database of early Christian saints, the archeologist who found the bones said.

But the mere fact that the testing didn't prove the bones are fakes is unusual.

Archeologist Kazimir Popkonstantinov led the team that found them under the altar of a fifth century basilica on Sveti Ivan, a Black Sea island off Sozopol on the south coast of Bulgaria.

The bones were in a reliquary, a container for holy relics, with a tiny sandstone box.

Written on the box in Greek were the words, "God, save your servant Thomas. To St. John. June 24."

Scientists take samples of the bones for radiocarbon and genetic analysis.

The date is the Christian feast day of John the Baptist, believed to be his birthday.

When the bones were found in 2010, Popkonstantinov said it was "logical to suggest that the founders of the monastery did their best to bring relics of its patron saint."

Higham, the deputy director of Oxford's Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, got involved because a colleague knew the Bulgarian archeologists. National Geographic was also interested, so it provided funding for more extensive testing than Higham originally planned, and made a film about the project.

Radiocarbon dating showed that the bones were from the right period to be from John the Baptist, Higham said, while genetic testing showed it was a man and all the bones were from the same person.

DNA testing by colleagues at the University of Copenhagen suggested that the person was most likely to have been from the Middle East, he said.

Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter

More detailed nuclear DNA testing could pin down his location even more accurately, Higham said, but "does cost quite a lot of money."

There is reasonably good historical evidence that John the Baptist, whom Christians believe baptized his cousin Jesus, did exist, said Paul Middleton, a senior lecturer in Biblical studies at the University of Chester.

All four gospels and the contemporary Jewish historian Josephus say he was beheaded on the orders of the ruler Herod Antipas, Middleton said when the bones were found.

The six small bones are far from the only relics purporting to belong to him.

Four locations, from a mosque in Damascus, Syria, to a museum in Munich, Germany, claim to have his head, while the Topkapi Museum in Istanbul, Turkey, has a relic alleged to be his right arm.

A monastery in Montenegro says it has his right hand, while another in Egypt has a crypt containing relics of the saint.

Tom Higham says he can test them to see if they match.

"We have a complete genome. It's possible that we could step this a step further and see if there is any similarity," in the genetic material of all the relics.

"We've sort of got interested in this. It's not beyond the realms of possibility, and we know that there were relics moving out of the Middle East in the fourth and fifth century," he said.

But for him, the project remains a purely scientific one.

"I'm an atheist," he said. "I perceive this as an archeological dating problem. We have some bones and we're trying to get as much information out of them as we can."

CNN's Simon Hooper and Susannah Palk contributed to this report.

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Christianity

soundoff (1,475 Responses)
  1. Tom Paine

    I appreciate the atheist who did the testing. Many on this blog would say, "I will not waste my time testing these bones. John the Baptist no more existed than Peter Pan." Of course, finding bones from the era does not mean anything. As always there is plenty of room for doubt and many on here will think that the ancient church just took any old person's bones and claim they were JTB. But more responsible historians will talk about whether they could be JTB or not, not whether JTB existed.

    June 24, 2012 at 7:55 am |
    • alligatorob

      John the Baptist probably most likely did exist, stories of him are found in Josephus independent of the Bible. But that is not proof of God or the divinity of Jesus, just that there is some fact behind the new Testament, something few atheists would argue. I am an agnostic who finds research of this kind fascinating.

      June 24, 2012 at 8:18 am |
      • Tom Paine

        Rob: Oh, read through these boards and you'll find lots of people who assert that believing Jesus, JTB, or any Biblical figure existed is akin believing that Mary Poppins, Rip Van Winkle, and the like existed. I totally grant that finding someone's bones doesn't mean anything from a religious point of view. But I so remember reading countless articles about King David not ever really existing, that he was just a made up person to inspire the Jews. Yet, just a few years ago, they found an actual coin with his image on it. There is no way any physical evidence like this will affirm or refute the faith portion of the stories. But it is beyond cynical and simply just poor logic to think these figures were made up.

        June 24, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • Wiki Wiki

      Tom Paine,
      "Yet, just a few years ago, they found an actual coin with his image on it." [King David]

      Cite your source, please.

      June 24, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
      • Tom Paine


        This is a recent link on what has been found. I am still searching for the coin story and will post it as soon as I find it. I read about it last year. Again, a coin with a man's image with "David" below doesn't mean all we read in the Bible. But it also surely doesn't mean this figure is made up out of the blue which is what many mistakenly believe.

        June 27, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
  2. John Baptista

    I hope they sell it on Ebay.

    June 24, 2012 at 7:04 am |
  3. whybs on twitter

    Sadly, religious scientists (a.k.a. clowns) think they know more than the pharaohs!

    June 24, 2012 at 5:57 am |
    • John

      Well you Atheists act the same way from what I can tell and see. So are you so different? I guess not, now run along now kido! Let the grown folks talk. πŸ˜‰

      June 24, 2012 at 6:04 am |
    • Jeff

      So John, are you suggesting the "grown folks" are the ones who use emoticons and believe that Noah's Ark is a true story?

      June 24, 2012 at 7:54 am |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      I love it when the believers of magic and fairy tales act like they are the rational ones....it is so cute.

      June 24, 2012 at 10:07 am |
  4. rileyla

    Peteyroo, why so angry? I'm trying to get an image of just what kind of person would so aggressively troll these boards to "take to task" anyone who would believe in a God. Why do you care? You have your beliefs, they have theirs. Why so insulting? You are either a very lonely guy trying to stir controversy to add excitement to his life, or a teenager engaging in foolishness.

    June 24, 2012 at 1:33 am |
  5. Cheyla

    Why wouldn't someone believe in invisible people who are only male and who give birth to only sons – what's wrong with this story? Makes you wonder if the Y chromosome is disappearing due to stupidity.

    June 24, 2012 at 1:25 am |
    • M@

      Its called faith, just like you believe that the universe was created by a "Big Bang" a theory you can never scientifically prove. So you believe in a THEORY, which is cool because some of the best stuff cant be proven but its real. You love your parents right, well prove it! Love has no evolutionary advantages, it make us do stupid things, make bad choices which don't further our cause as humans. What is the reason for tears of emotion, like when i held my little girl for the first time. I didn't hold her up and say "what an amazing collection of atoms and skin this will surely further our evolutionary dominance, great job dear." The bible for me is true because it speaks about and to our human heart and that is why it is true, think about it we still have wars, crime and empathy and that is what Jesus spoke about during his ministry. Because human hearts haven't evolved they are the same since it all began.

      June 24, 2012 at 2:34 am |
  6. Skoolz

    Lots of angry little people here. Makes me wonder how happy your lives are.

    June 24, 2012 at 12:55 am |
    • John

      I could say the same for you. πŸ™‚

      June 24, 2012 at 6:06 am |
  7. b4bigbang

    Peteyroo: "There are no unicorns. There is no God."

    Well, that depends upon your definition of unicorns. If you're referring to the superst itious Medieval Catholic construct of a magical horse then of course i agree wholeheartily.

    If on the other hand, you are referring to a one-horned animal in the actual animal kingdom, then i'd disagree with you.
    If you insist that the Bible is referring to the magic horse, then i'd have to ask you for academic reference for such having such a minority viewpoint.

    June 24, 2012 at 12:39 am |
    • Peteyroo

      I'm talking about the unicorns that play in my backyard. They truly are magic.

      June 24, 2012 at 12:52 am |
    • b4bigbang

      Would there also be special 'magic' mushrooms in your backyard that you eat before seeing these magic horses?

      June 24, 2012 at 12:57 am |
  8. nancy

    So, we jump to the conclusion that it is the remains of John the Baptist? Really, were there no other men in the Middle East?

    June 24, 2012 at 12:12 am |
    • b4bigbang

      Of course it's not John the Baptist, but if it gives a thrill to the Catholics and Orthodox then i guess they'll keep on grooving on it like they do with all the other old relics....

      June 24, 2012 at 12:42 am |
    • Macarius

      They didn't say it was John the Baptist. The scientists said they were surprised that dating didn't remove the possibility that they were John's bones. That's all. They COULD be his bones, based on dating, and it is certainly odd for a 5th century church in Bulgaria to have bones from a 1st century man from Palestine/Israel. Those two facts leave open the potential for these to be John's bones. If one believes that they ARE, then that is something presently beyond the ability to prove directly and must, instead, depend for its warrant on other beliefs one brings to the table already (e.g. if one has other reasons for trusting a given church or faith).

      June 24, 2012 at 7:54 am |
  9. Chance

    Man is responsible for mans action; that's my stance, its not double talk. I believe God gave us all the freedom to do as we please, you believe we just do as we please minus God. Like you said we are responsible for our selves. I agree with that. I don't ask for things both ways Gods fault and Mans fault, that's your insinuation. I'm clearly stating man is free and responsible for his own actions, we shouldn't pass the buck. Man needs to own up for its mistakes in the world, its not double talk.

    June 24, 2012 at 12:09 am |
    • Peteyroo

      Fat Chance, there is no God unless, of course, you'd like to provide even a hint of evidence for his/her existence. It doesn't have to be rock-hard solid irrefutable evidence. A tiny sliver of evidence will do. Just something to get us talking. And please no horse crap about the Bible proving anything–it doesn't. Show me God, or shut up!

      June 24, 2012 at 12:34 am |
    • Chance

      How about the fact that we exist; or that there is something rather than nothing. Maybe the extreme fine tuning required for intelligent life to exist. You pick.

      June 24, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
  10. b4bigbang

    Here's how i, a former agnostic, got past the one big stumbling-block that stands in the way of belief.
    I always had a problem with why God doesnt reveal himself to the world today in a way that can be detected, measured and so on. This lack of hard evidence kept me questioning and disbelieving until one day i learned that the God in the Bible declares that he has hidden himself from the world, and that the very word 'holy', as used in the Scriptures means separated, withdrawn – hidden, so to speak. It then occurred to me that the Bible also reveals another super-intelligent ent ity, Satan, who blinds people to the existence of the true God.

    It was after adding these two ideas together that i finally understood why there's no hard scientific evidence of the existence of God. Frankly put – God doesn't want to be proven scientifically, therefore he won't be proven in this manner.

    June 23, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Just another bit of lame circular illogic.

      June 23, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      HotAirAce: Circular logic only to one who already pre-supposes that the Bible is a pack of lies concocted by evil old bronze-age men.
      But then pre-supposition is a fallacy too, i believe.....

      June 23, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      No presupposition – no foundation, not in the many years of religious traing my parents forced on me, and nothing in the 40+ years since. Nothing, absolutely nothing.

      June 23, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      I'm sorry to read that your parents forced religion on you. That explains the emotion leaking out in some of you posts.
      I hope things are better btw you and your parents. My relationship with my parents isnt as good as i'd like it to be, but im glad i found faith in spite of them. Thanks goes out to my aunt in that regard.

      June 23, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • Timmuh

      The bible has been disproved; DNA shows there was no Adam and Eve, there was no great flood with 2 kangaroos jumping and swimming all the way to Australia without leaving a fossil record along the way, and the study of linguistics comprehensively and demonstrably shows the development and proliferation of language, whereas the Tower of Babel does not etc. etc. etc.. And given that god is completely invisible, intangible and inaudible with his works unseen, someone claiming that he did exists would write in a book that he has hidden himself from humanity on purpose. I personally believe in a god that doesn't make cups of tea for me in the morning and I have yet to receive one, so it's conclusive then.

      June 23, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Your physic abilities are no better than your cognitive abilities. My parents were only doing what was the silly custom of the day. I had a great relationship with them. And trust me, that's not leaking emotion you detect – I choose my words very carefully. And what's with believer's thinking they can accurately detect emotion in posts anyway?

      June 23, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      @Timmuh: I disagree that the Bible has been disproven of course. Indeed, if that had happened beyond refutation, then we wouldn't have so many leaders, scientists included, who still believe.
      I wont go into an argument re fossils, floods, etc., as this is not the place to be demanding academic footnotes, etc.
      Besides, many, probably most scientists who are Christian or Jew believe in an old earth theology which does no real violence to the Scriptures.
      But i suppose the young-earthers have riled you up.

      June 23, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • Timmuh

      Then the dilemma being if there was no Adam and Eve and therefore no original sin, why did god send his only son to die as a blood sacrifice in the first place? Moreover, even if there was an Adam and Eve, why did god send his only son to act as a loophole for a rule that he made in the first place? Also, doctors, lawyers and politicians are as just as susceptible in believing all kinds of things. It's called departmentalization.

      June 23, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      @Timmuh: Why did God give his only son as a sacrifice for our sins? I'm assuming you're inferring 'why not some other method rather than such a grisly means' right?

      I believe the answer is to show us how serious our sin really is as well as to show us how much God's willing to sacrifice for our well-being. I know that's only a partial answer to some, but it's difficult to really get into the mind of God (a huge understatement!).

      June 23, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      Big Wimper, you got it all wrong. If I told you that I saw unicorns in my backyard, you'd laugh at me. If I said I spoke with God, you'd say that was just fine, true, and correct. What is the difference? Why is God so reasonable, but unicorns so ridiculous? They're both fatuous. How can I see it so clearly while you refuse to acknowledge it? You have provided no reasonable explanation for believing God is real. I have provided no reasonable explanation for unicorns. There are no unicorns. There is no God.

      June 24, 2012 at 12:28 am |
    • Peteyroo

      Only one stumbling block? Ha! That's rich, my foolish friend. If you will accept that there are unicorns, I'll accept that there is God. Deal? The thing about unicorns is that they hide and only true believers can see them. You can't? That's because you don't know how to believe. Wait, you do believe horse crap about God and Jesus, et al. Why not unicorns? Or leprechauns? Show some faith! Don't be so stingy with your belief system. If you can suspend reason with God and Jesus then surely you can accept unicorns and leprechauns as well. I'm going to tell you a secret. The painting in the Sistene Chapel of the Last Supper is not as it was originally painted. Some two hundred years after Michelangelo painted it, someone airbrushed the two unicorns standing directly behind Jesus out of the picture.

      June 24, 2012 at 12:45 am |
    • b4bigbang

      @Peteyroo: "Some two hundred years after Michelangelo painted it, someone airbrushed the two unicorns standing directly behind Jesus out of the picture."

      The painting of the ceiling of the Sistene Chapel was completed by Michaelangelo in the mid 1500s. – wikipedia

      The first airbrush, depending on your definition, was patented in 1876 (Patent Number 182,389) by Francis Edgar Stanley of Newton, Massachusetts. Stanley and his twin brother later invented a process for continuously coating photographic plates (Stanley Dry Plate Company) but are perhaps best known for their Stanley Steamer. No artistic images that used this 'paint distributor / atomiser' exist or are as yet known. – wikipedia

      Care to restate your history more accurately?

      June 24, 2012 at 12:54 am |
  11. howart Dao

    Great found the bones of some John back 2000 or so years ago. But will it ever settle help us solve any pressing problem here on earth ???

    June 23, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • b4bigbang


      June 23, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
  12. CdnJim

    All that is proved by these bones is that the bones of a middle eastern man who lived in the mid-first century were buried in a box bearing the name of John yadda, yadd, yadda. This does not prove they were John the Baptist's. The problem is, there were lots of men in the middle east and trade in relics has always been a good business, whether they were real or not. So both sides need to shut up and let the other relics be tested to see if any of them are from the same person. Nailing down these bones as Jewish would then be a third step. THen comes the tricky part of identifying these as Jesus' cousin. Remember, according to Christians Jesus only has female DNA since he was born of a virgin. Fortunately Mary and Elizabeth were sisters. If Joseph was Elizabeth's brother there could be no match becasue Jesus only had Mary's DNA, which brings up another problem – if he only had Mary's DNA, why wasn't he a girl? Where did the Y chromosome come from? Mary got boinkled by someone with testicles.

    June 23, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      I agree with some of your post CdnJim, but i disagree with this part: "according to Christians Jesus only has female DNA since he was born of a virgin."

      He was born of a virgin but he has all the dna of a normal man. Any deviation from this norm would make him a textbook mutant, and remember, Christian theology teaches that Jesus is the Perfect Man (physically, mentally and spiritually).
      As far as how God did this, the answer is that the incarnation is to this very day, one of the Divine Mysteries. Sorry science fans (i like science too), i know this is irritating to many of you, but it is what it is.

      June 23, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      Btw, if i were a betting person, i'd bet an entire paycheck that there are no authentic relics in human possession today.
      That includes ALL of them, the shroud, splinters of the 'true cross', bones, clothing, etc, etc.

      June 23, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
  13. thecollegeadmissionsguru

    Soooo, now any bone fragment found that can be carbondated to the first century is either Jesus or John the Baptist? I thought Christians didn't believe in carbon dating, what with the earth being only 6,000 years old and carbon dating actually telling us it is more like four billion.. hmmmm?

    June 23, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • chaz8181

      No.. the earth is only 5, 688 years old.. it can be traced by using "Ancestry.com" back to Adam and Eve.

      June 23, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
    • howart Dao

      A year in the Bible could mean 1, 10, 100, 1000 or 1 million depending on your mood of interpretation, just like any other item in there πŸ™‚

      June 23, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
  14. Jesus was a Mongoloid Idiot!!!!!!!!

    They're probably the bones of a goat, because the brain case of a goat and john the baptist were the same size.

    June 23, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • NativeBornUSA

      Gee what an intelligent and thoughtful debate argument on your part........similiar to your ID name........wow i would say its your parents fault possibly genetic but I see now you have the devil in ya...........sad very sad....

      June 23, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • mydogbill

      Good luck on the other side

      June 23, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • alfonds

      You need to pray for happiness.

      June 23, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
  15. bubbles

    So atheists want proof but will deny any(meaning literally anything) proof presented to the table?

    Strange how their dumb logic works.

    June 23, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      Babbles, you moron. What proof have you offered that this atheist has denied? Nothing, my prevaricating friend. Serve it up, nimrod. I await your table setting.

      June 23, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • Jimmy G.

      I do not deny actual proof, but then I am not a gullible idiot, either.
      There is no credible proof of any sort that your imaginary god exists so far, so when you have actual proof I and many others will be glad to examine it. We are not brainwashed idiots, unlike some people I could name.

      June 23, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • bubbles

      Not proof of God.Man you atheists need to stop assuming that...

      June 23, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • Just Claims, No Truth


      I am asking nicely, what proof are your refering too?

      June 23, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      bubbles...what proof has been denied? was some given and verified?

      June 23, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • NativeBornUSA

      Jimmy G. Sir Isaac Newton had made an incredibly accurate model of the universe upon which one of his friends an ardant athiest asked him if he had made the model, upon which he replied what do you mean it just came in to being is all no one made it.

      June 23, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • Just Claims, No Truth


      Isaac Newton also believed is Alchemy and magic, 2 more things he was wrong about.

      June 23, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      bubbles, where's the proof?

      June 23, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • bubbles

      So you want it easy? So you think you are above everything? Just because you want evidence doesnt real the rest is going to be eay.

      you think you are so high and above what every religious person faces? the test which tests everything they hold true to?

      No wonder atheists give up..you lost the passion and became lazy.You dont want to walk the walk you want the easy route.The route that closes the doors to becoming what the faith teaches.

      you want it easy? scientists spend years searching studying etc..why cant you atheists do that? you admire them right?

      the part that faith requires YOU to do cannot be solved by science.Stop being lazy and do it yourself.

      technology science education etc wont save you.

      June 23, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Bubbles, quit ranting and raving and show us the proof. You suggested you had some, so let's have it.

      June 23, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • bubbles

      so if i have this "evidence" you really think the walk is going to be more easy?

      you will "just believe" but will have no desire to have a passion like a person who follows God with his entire will.You will lack it.

      i admit i have no proof of God.You wont ever accept that..

      June 23, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      I completely, unreservedly accept that you, nor any other believer, have any proof for any god(s) or any of your beliefs.

      So now that we have that degree of agreement, just what are you on about?

      June 23, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • Just Claims, No Truth


      You talk in circles. You don't have proof so what you said in your first post was a lie. Accepting the answer "god did it" is the opposite of hard work, it is lazy and ignorant. I am always looking for better information but it has to be real not just claimed. You are done looking because everything can be answered by those 3 words "god did it".

      Religion is to science

      as theft is to hard work.

      June 23, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • bubbles

      You proof is going to make what let's say what Jesus often spoke about? You ignore it and go after this "evidence".

      Even for a monk..They must WORK.Please you arent worthy nor above it.

      Stop being lazy and do it yourself.Want the honest truth?

      that is the honest truth.

      June 23, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
    • bubbles

      I didnt say anything about "God did it".Im actually literally speaking about the life Jesus often spoke about.For other religions its going to be different.But since you demand evidence of just God,the work you must do,not even science can help you.

      reread the teachings of Jesus if you wish to know.You admire scientists but take advantage of what they do..they prove whatever you just stand by and watch.

      June 23, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Ah, the old you have to work for it dodge...

      bubbles, let me bring this thread to it's appropriate end:

      You have nothing to support your delusional beliefs – Fuck Off!

      June 23, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • Just Claims, No Truth


      Jesus talked in circles too. I have read Jesus' teachings and to say it is lacking is an understatement. He had some positive teachings but he had some real poor 'wisdom' as well, and I don't think I am going out on a limb when I say you don't follow his teachings fully either. For instance he said to 'take no thought for tomorrow', which is not just illogical it is irresponsible.

      June 23, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • bubbles

      Such anger and immaturity.

      June 23, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Merely working at a level you would understand – yours!

      You indicated you had proof of something and that we would reject it. When politely asked for your proof, you admitted you had none. You've ranted and raved, and gone off on tangents, wasting our time, just like. child.

      June 23, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
    • bubbles

      Never said proof of God.Thats what you want right?

      June 23, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      No, I'm not looking for proof of any god(s) – I've already come to a conclusion on that. I'm just playing along because you claimed atheists would deny any proof you put on the table. Back to you jesus freak!

      June 23, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • bubbles

      Nah not after your little childish rage

      June 23, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • chaz8181

      It is all a matter of faith..no proof..It cannot be scientifically proved. The bible wants to keep us guessing. if this was not true then Jesus would have written his life story himself and it would have been handed down as proof. If supposedly his disciples wrote the gospels , which they did t , then why didn t Jesus write his bio. and we had proof in DNA now that he did.

      June 23, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
  16. Reality

    From p. 8:

    The existence of JB is one of the few certainties of the NT. JB's life to include his execution however like everything in the NT got twisted to suit the likes of the NT authors.

    To wit:

    "Professor JP Meier, University of Notre Dame, [Ma-rginal Jew II,171-76] reviews the material relating to John's execution, before concluding:

    When it comes to the imprisonment and death of John, Josephus, not Mark (6: 14-29) must serve as our main source. Receiving a folkloric legend already remodeled as a pious account of a martyr's unjust execution, Mark used the story for his own purposes. The tradition he inherited preserved the most basic facts: sometime after Jesus' baptism, John was imprisoned and executed by Antipas. Mark's story also had a v-ague recollection that Antipas' irregular marriage to Herodias was somehow connected with the Baptist's death, but lively imagination and OT allusions had long since developed the nexus in a different direction from what we read in the Antiquities. Coming as it does from a diverse matrix and being developed in a very disparate fashion, Mark's account supplies valuable independent confirmation of the most basic points of Josephus' report. Beyond those, Josephus is to be preferred for history; Mark is to be mined for tradition history and theological intent. (p. 175)"

    Add this to the "dismemberment" of the rest of John's sacred body and one is very skeptical about having said bone relics scattered all over the globe. Smells to "high heaven" of tourist traps.

    See added discussion at http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb197.html

    Then there is this:

    Estimating the population of Palestine in antiquity relies on two methods – censuses and writings made at the times, and the scientific method based on excavations and statistical methods that consider the number of settlements at the particular age, area of each settlement, density factor for each settlement.

    According to Magen Broshi, an Israeli archaeologist "... the population of Palestine in antiquity did not exceed a million persons. It can also be shown, moreover, that this was more or less the size of the population in the peak periodβ€”the late Byzantine period, around AD 600"[52].

    Bottom line: There is approximately one chance in a million that the topic bones are JB's.

    June 23, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  17. gliese 42

    John the Baptist will get a shock if he ever visits America and probably confuse it with Sodom

    June 23, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Woody

      Being that this man has been dead for around 2000 years, it's highly unlikely that he'll be visiting anywhere, anytime soon.

      June 23, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • Grey, Atlanta

      There are literally over a million Johns (the Baptists) in America today who are alive and well.

      June 24, 2012 at 2:55 am |
  18. Grey, Atlanta

    So, not only are the adherents of this religion enage in cannibalism by eating their god's flesh and drinking his blood, but they also dismember the bodies of their saints and take the pieces all over the world! Sign me up for I'm afraid I will end up in Hell if I don't follow this cult's beliefs.

    June 23, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  19. billsf

    They also could belong to "Joe, the drunk".

    June 23, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
  20. SHAIARRA a



    June 23, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.