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.

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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.

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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. anoolab

    Their faces didn't melt off when they opened the box. Therefore, it was not John the Baptist. Case closed.

    June 22, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
  2. hmm

    Ok, this "dig" is a HUGE leap of logic. So because some bones happen to be dated correctly and are buried in a certain place, therefore they must be John the Baptist's? Pretty crappy scientists, if you ask me.

    June 22, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • me

      No The bones were claimed to those of John the Baptist and the test do not disprove the claim.

      June 22, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • Monica

      re-read the article.

      June 22, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • Miss Demeanor

      Believers jump to conclusions (much like the wrong conclusion you made that any good scientist would claim this proves the bones are John's). Scientists look at the facts to prove their guesses/claims/suppositions. So the fact they uncovered is it was SOME middle-eastern man who lived at the same time as John. That ONLY leaves open a chance that the bones are Johns (since he was one of many thousands of middle-eastern men who lived at the time.) Note that if relics from other locations happen to match the DNA of the bones they tested, it still does not prove the bones are Johns. Matching bone DNA would prove it came from the same man but they could be relics of a hoax perpetrated long ago that got divided up later. Believers tend to like to deny facts that disprove their beliefs. Scientists search for the truth.

      June 22, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • cbinal

      @Miss No, Scientists say they search for truth but, really only search for evidence to prove the theory that they agree with; the one that will either make them famous or get them more grants. You put your faith in scientists, not science. Do the work yourself and you'll discover truth.

      June 23, 2012 at 12:53 am |
  3. Fred Lobster

    Great, maybe they can clone Jesus from his cousin's DNA, and he can save us from his followers.

    June 22, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • david esmay

      Hilarious, but true.

      June 22, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • JC

      Please dont clone me.
      Being crucified once was enough.

      June 27, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  4. Wilbour

    You start out by asking all of us to "Imagine the Horrors Of Heaven! EVERYBODY NAKED" then claim you have no nudist desires. You are a funny little man.

    June 22, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • Wilbour

      Sorry, that was suppose to be a reply post but the servers here in the Monestary are slow so it was posted as a new topic, my bad

      June 22, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
  5. Dan

    So it could have been any male from First Century.

    June 22, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
  6. Dan

    So it could have been an male from First Century.

    June 22, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
  7. andrew

    It seems as if John's junk is scattered all over the place. A hand here and a foot there, a rib claimed here and a thigh bone claimed there. I wonder who claims to have his...well, his...eh...his never minds. Beheading, the original claim, seems to have been followed up by carving of all else remaining. If I were John the Baptist sitting up on a cloud, I'd be mad as all hell and say, "Enough already!" I mean, for heaven's sake! Does anybody claim to have any of the man's toes? If so, we could reassemble him totally.

    June 22, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • Sven Flingerblingenbluengreenen

      With a hand-hand here,
      and a leg-leg there,
      here a head, there a knee,
      everywhere a bone-bone
      Old John The Baptist had a farm

      June 22, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      We could make him bionic! We HAVE the technology!

      June 22, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • JC

      It breaks my heart that some of Johns Junk was found in Bulgaria.

      June 27, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  8. Chance

    God is perfect unchangeable unstoppable eternal and above all things.

    This is in response to your question about God.

    June 22, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • Chance

      Oops posted in the wrong spot

      June 22, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      So then you slap on some other characteristics to reconcile a possible logical inconsistency in your argument. Got it.
      Although these have some questions that come with it as well.

      June 22, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      What question was that?

      June 22, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest


      The previous page near the bottom has the conversation.

      June 22, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • Veritas

      Chance – never mind if you posted in the wrong spot, it's an EXCELLENT comment. God Bless.

      June 22, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • Mr. Pipe

      God is above all things? That explains why he didn't prevent Hitler and Mao and Stalin for doing those unpleasant little things to those who couldn't have all 'had it coming'. Thanks for the insight. Gosh, gawwwd could have broken a nail if he'd gotten involved. How unreasonable of me.

      June 22, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • Chance

      The actions of fellow man; is the will of man. All evil will be brought to justice.

      June 23, 2012 at 1:01 am |
    • Foghorn Leghorn

      Some people like chasing thier own tail around in circles.

      June 27, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
  9. RudyardK

    Overflying blogs
    For some strange reason
    Tom Tom has me seek my doom

    June 22, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
  10. The Bird Is The Word

    Recently, research of a more logical type has been performed and the result is that God is a nudist!

    Before all you Christians get all worked up, read this first and tell me where my logic fails:
    According to the Bible, Adam and Eve were created in God's image. They were created naked. Therefore, God was naked. Adam and Eve weren't aware of their nakedness until they sinned & became ashamed of their nakedness. Their shame drove them to clothe themselves. Am I right so far? Yep. Now, because God didn't sin – indeed, can not sin, God had no reason to be ashamed of his nakedness and cloth himself.

    Now, having established that God was, is, and will always be naked (The eternal God, you know), let's carry this a bit
    further. For one to get to heaven, one must be washed clean of sin. Without sin, there is no shame. Without shame, one
    has no reason to wear clothes.

    Imagine the Horrors Of Heaven! EVERYBODY NAKED! Naked old women! Naked old men! Naked GOD! I can't stand it!

    June 22, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      God is a streaker! That sly dog.

      June 22, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
    • Wilbour

      If you can't find a job to keep yourself busy, perhaps you can volunteer. Just keep your nudist desires to yourself, it's best for everyone

      June 22, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • The Bird Is The Word

      @Wilbour: I have no nudist desires. Am merely reporting the literal word of God. Now get your mind out of the gutter.

      June 22, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • Athiest guy

      I did not know nudists were that touchy. Sheesh

      June 22, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • The Bird Is The Word

      @Atheist Guy: I didn't know that either. Would the touchy feely type be even more touchy? Inquiring minds want to know.

      June 22, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • Miss Demeanor

      God created us the way he wanted (IF he is all-knowing and all-powerful means he knew exactly how humans would act, so it was deliberate) and he made humans a particular type of creature that would do shameful things and then feel shame, it means he loves shaming us. The most damaging psychological abuse is shame. Therefore, god is worse than a poor parent, he is a sociopath.

      June 22, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
    • cbinal

      @Miss God only created two people, don't blame him for the rest.

      June 23, 2012 at 1:00 am |
    • LinCA


      You said, "God only created two people"
      Yes. The first transgender couple.

      June 23, 2012 at 1:02 am |
    • cbinal

      @L That's just wierd, yuck. No he created one male and one female. Obviously your interest in that subject so can I ask you a question? Chaz was a girl who liked girls. Chaz's girl liked girls. Chaz gets a change, and Chaz's girl stays with him(?). Are they now straight? I'm confused, I thought you couldn't go straight? Shouldn't Chaz's girl leave and go find another girl, and shouldn't Chaz go find a guy?

      June 23, 2012 at 1:17 am |
    • LinCA


      You said, "That's just wierd, yuck. No he created one male and one female."
      Didn't your god create Eve from one of Adam's ribs? If so, that makes her a genetic clone of Adam. Eve was genetically male. Your god performed what must have been the first gender reassignment procedure on her, making her transgender.

      June 23, 2012 at 1:31 am |
    • cbinal

      @L Again shows the ridiculousness of your groups conclusions. To create something out of material is to Create, not modify or gender reassign as you call it. Adam was created from the dust of the Earth, maybe it was simplier to create a woman from a rib? But the real reason was for an example to man, that a woman would be at man's side and together they would be complete in God's eyes. Anything else is just a perversion created by men.

      June 23, 2012 at 1:46 am |
    • cbinal

      @L Didn't answer my Chaz question.

      June 23, 2012 at 1:47 am |
    • LinCA


      You said, "Again shows the ridiculousness of your groups conclusions."
      It wasn't a group conclusion. It's logic 101.

      The story of your god creating Adam and Eve is so ridiculous that it is amazing that anyone believes it to be a rational explanation of how humans came about. I don't expect you to be able to follow, let alone accept the logical consequence of Eve being formed from Adam's rib, as by believing the nonsense story in the first place you've shown to be irrational.

      You said, "Didn't answer my Chaz question."
      I didn't answer it because the question is moronic. I don't know your "Chaz", nor do I know her girlfriend. I have no way of knowing whether Chaz changing gender will cause her girlfriend to dump her because she can't love Chaz in a man's body, or stick with her because she loves and supports Chaz. If they are still together, it's probably the latter, but maybe you should ask them.

      What is clear from your question is that you are making door nails look smart.

      June 23, 2012 at 1:59 am |
    • cbinal

      @L Haha Illogic 101 you mean. Someone with such a messed up perspective as you can't think logically. Being irrational is the belief that you are born with a se-xual orientation and that the natural, functional, procreative relationship of a man and a woman isn't a planned purpose. And you know exactly who I mean by Chaz, he's either a hero or an embarrasment to your community. You know – Bono.

      June 23, 2012 at 2:16 am |
    • LinCA


      In the few posts in this thread, it appears that you've made the following assumptions, none based on any evidence:
      You assume there is a god. There isn't a shred of evidence even suggesting there are any gods. Belief in any gods is unreasonable. Worse, belief in one with contradictory traits, is irrational.
      You assume this god created Adam and Eve. This story is so obviously a fabrication of primitive men that it is hilarious to see adults in the 21st century still believe in it.
      You assume that being gay is a choice/unnatural/perversion. There isn't a medical professional organization in the country that agrees with you. Even if, it isn't, but if, it was a choice, you have no right to question that choice.
      You assume that I am gay. To my knowledge, I've never mentioned what my sexuality is. Assuming that I'm gay because I support equal rights, is moronic. Assuming that, because I support equal rights, I must be gay, is equally idiotic as assuming that I'm a tree for wanting to protect the forest. My sexuality is irrelevant in my fight against hate, discrimination and bigotry.
      You assume that, because you assume that I am gay, I must know Chaz Bono. Chaz Bono isn't in my community. I don't know him/her. I've heard of him/her, but that doesn't mean that I know, or even care, about his/her love or sex life. He/she is free to make those decisions with the people in his/her life. I don't care about anybody's sex or gender. I only care when they are discriminated against based on it.

      All you've shown is that you are prone to jumping to conclusions. You've shown that you are incapable of rational thought.

      If you need your religion to get you through the day, that is fine. You are free to remain ignorant and believe that bullshit. It's a free country and stupidity isn't illegal. But just because you are free to believe that nonsense, doesn't mean anybody else is bound by it. Your religion is your disease. You have no right to expect anyone else to live by it.

      June 23, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • Foghorn Leghorn

      *** cbinal

      @Miss God only created two people, don't blame him for the rest.
      Why not ?
      The rest came from incest from the first two.

      June 27, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Foghorn Leghorn

      *** cbinal

      @L Again shows the ridiculousness of your groups conclusions. To create something out of material is to Create, not modify or gender reassign as you call it. Adam was created from the dust of the Earth, maybe it was simplier to create a woman from a rib? But the real reason was for an example to man, that a woman would be at man's side and together they would be complete in God's eyes. Anything else is just a perversion created by men.

      Why would god not create male and female inside the same body ?
      Easier, neater way to reproduce.
      Sounds like your perfect god was experimenting.
      Doesnt matter, if Man was created in Gods image,
      God is a narcissus.
      The Adam & Eve story was a bad way to explain DNA to monkeys.

      June 27, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
  11. meemee

    It is well known that much of the 2nd century on for at least 500 years, all sorts of scriptural forgeries and frauds were concocted to "reveal the truth through lies" and any serious student of historical Christianity knows this. That fraudulent relicts were produced is also well known. So some middle eastern bones were inscribed by fervent believers in the 5th century? It proves nothing except they are some bones someone put a claim on to impress converts, never imagining anything like forensic investigation would ever exist. Few Christians enjoy the fact that it was Emperor Constantin's wife who walked willy nilly through Jerusalem in the 4th century and decided where Jesus walked, preached, and carried the cross; over 3 hundred years later in a city that the Romans had destroyed, burnt to the ground and rebuilt twice after two Jewish uprisings, one after the alleged events of the New Testament and the next in the Second century when another Jew claimed to the the "chosen one (the Bar Kokhaba Revolt). All this ignorant insisting on the mythic supernatural as history and fact continues to amaze. People are really desperate.

    June 22, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
    • cbinal

      You are right in part. Christianity is a hijacked religion, the hijacking began with Constantine and his Mother, not wife. I would say that probably less than thirty percent of those that claim Christianity are true believers in Jesus and the Bible.

      June 23, 2012 at 1:08 am |
  12. Sardukar

    Well 2000 year old bones from a guy...even if those are the real Jesus bones does that prove anything..ooops I guess not...the grave must be empty..the pillar of the christianity...well then its just a gay..

    June 22, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
  13. jqent

    "Four locations, from a mosque in Damascus, Syria, to a museum in Munich, Germany, claim to have his head."
    Hence the origin of the term, "forehead."

    June 22, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
  14. scottpt1

    well here come the atheist and god haters trying to cram thier beliefs or lack there of down everyones throat...just as they accuse christians of doing...thank god hypocrisy applies to us all and its existance is proven daily. To the atheist, thats why they call it faith..to the christians,its called Freedom of choice. Pick one and shut up

    June 22, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
    • TheDudeAbides

      They're bones. From a guy. Even if they were really from John the Baptist, that is still no proof of anything supernatural. It only proves the guy had bones like the rest of us, right?

      June 22, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • meemee

      Very funny, the idea that atheist cram their "beliefs" or lack of them down people's throats. If you knew any little bit of the history of Christianity, you would realize the enormity of ignorance made in this statement. Atheists use forensic evidence, logic and reason in their conclusion that you religious people just make up myths and parade them, force them for centuries down people's throat's perverting logic as you do here to the point that no one, again as your example here, knows how to think critically any longer... except for a few brave philosophic atheists.

      June 22, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • Sardukar

      yea the religious people had their say during the Dark Ages when they pillage plunder and barbecue people ..see how you feel know when nobody cares about you or your fairy tales...this is the Age of Reason in case you did not read the memo..

      June 22, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • The Bird Is The Word

      Spoken like a True Christian. I'm sure that's how Jesus would put it.

      June 22, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • Les Too

      Freedom of choice is NOT about religious choices. Period. It is a modern catch phrase that was is attached to the political abortion/anti-abortion debate.

      It is a given that both religious and anti-religious nut jobs are always drawn to stories of this nature which prevents a candid discussion of the science involved. There is no way to block the crackpot posts that make intelligent discussion impossible on these blogs. Unfortunately, that is the price we pay for allowing open public discussion where the ignorant and the insane have equal access to what otherwise should be pleasant civil discourse between intelligent individuals.

      June 22, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • meemee

      But there's no hater as good at expressing it in fact and history than a Christian. It makes my head spin to imagine how quick we'd see a new inquisition if it were not for law. After all, you guys were still warring over religion in the US in the 19th century and the Irish problem is a remnant of the 17th century Thirty Years War that was fought over Protestant vs Roman Catholic control.

      June 22, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • Les Too

      This is true. Where in the article is anything mentioned about the "supernatural"? The existence of John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth is a historical fact based on the writings of the Jewish/Roman historian Josephus'. The age of the bones is the topic of discussion. It is entirely an archeological issue which has NOTHING to do with whether they are the authentic bones of John or not; but rather, are they old enough to be what they are claimed to be..

      June 22, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      A little defensive, eh Scottie?

      June 22, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      Good job, meemee!

      June 22, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • Schwab

      Isn't it ironic that atheists say they use logic and reasoning to come up with the conclusions they do? Certainly I don't try to say that Christianity or God can be proven, but can they really be disproven? Last time I checked, everything we experience comes from neural pathways telling us what we are seeing, hearing, thinking etc. We all work on faith, face it.

      June 22, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      Swab the Deck, you're right. It would be extremely difficult to prove there is no god. It would be even harder to prove there is a god. I'll make you a deal. As an atheist I will not say there is no god. As a Christian you will not say there is. We both remain silent since neither of us has a clue. D'accord?

      June 22, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • Stainpouch

      Whatever you say–by the way, God is supposed to be capitalized–why can't you Christians show some respect for your own God?

      June 22, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @scottpt1, We're not god haters. You can't hate what does not exist. Have you ever tried hating leprechauns or Zeus?? We're on here because we believe you are suffering from a very curable mental disorder and we want to help.

      June 22, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • hmm

      Schwab...that's not how logic works. You can't disprove something. The onus is on YOU to prove it!

      June 22, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • Jerry

      The difference between irrational and rational is that the irrational believe without proof while the rational require proof to believe. Telling anyone they have to prove something DOESN'T exist is insane. It's the contention of you believers that this irrational God exists, therefore the onus is upon you to PROVE IT!

      The universe is really run by the son of the sainted Mother Murphy and we all rest easy assured his ultimate knowledge that "If anything can go wrong, it will" is the only absolute truth in all of existence. Disprove my assertion, if you can.

      June 22, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
  15. Les Too

    The Julian calender was corrected several times before we got the calender that we have today. If the date actually inscribed was the number 24 then it is extremely unlikely that these bones belonged to St. John unless the Church failed to move the date with the calender changes. This is entirely conjecture on my part because neither the age of the small box or the age of the reliquary is mentioned in this truncated report.

    Another discrepancy is the scientific findings for the age of the "relics" in the small box. The middle 1st century C.E. was about 20 yrs. after the Baptist was beheaded and Jesus was executed as a criminal. A more accurate and believable finding would place the bones in the 1st third of the century. Since the article does not mention a +/- accuracy range this inconsistency becomes problematical.

    June 22, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      How did Julia's colander get into this mess? Ms. Child was a favorite of mine–not really, but she was interesting.

      June 22, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
  16. Diana

    Regarding the Turin Shroud, your article conveniently leaves out the detail that the parts of the shroud that have heretofore been radio carbon tested, are those that were visibly burned in a reported Middle Ages fire that may have resulted in those burned sections in having their testing age erroneously distorted. But thus far, a non-burned portion has not been similarly tested.

    June 22, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      Diana, so you're saying the non-burned parts are indeed from Jesus' shroud?

      June 22, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      Turins are usually for soup, not shrouds. Shouldn't it be spelled tureen?

      June 22, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • The Bird Is The Word

      @Peteyroo: I think you confusing cooking utensils with Tureen O'Hara, the red headed actress.

      June 22, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Peteyroo and Bird, you guys are cracking me up.

      June 22, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • Imagine No Religion

      I always find it amusing (and extremely hypocritical) when christians jump on the carbon-dating bandwagon to prove the legitimacy of the shroud of turin, but insist that carbon-dating is not reliable in determining the age of fossils.

      By the way, my lack of capitalization for religions and relics are not typos, or ignorance of the English language. It is of deliberate intent, in expression of my disdain for religion, the most evil force on this planet.

      June 22, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • The Bird Is The Word

      @ Tom, Tom: Peteyroo And The Bird coming to you soon on the Cartoon Network!

      June 22, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Will Tureen O'Hara make a cameo? Along with Julia's colander?

      June 22, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • The Bird Is The Word

      @Tom, Tom: Oh Tom, I think you're a bit confused too. A cameo is a baked dish, not boiled. As for Julia, I guess you haven't heard that she had a colostomy a while back. She had to quit cooking for a living because NOBODY would eat anything she cooked while wearing the bag. I do hear that the bag always matched her shoes, though.

      June 22, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      My bad.;)

      Thanks for the laughs.

      June 22, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • The Bird Is The Word

      @Tom, Tom: I am at your cervi, er, service.

      June 22, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • Parfin Woodell

      I knew a girl named Tureen.
      Tragic story.
      She fell into a moving cement mixer.
      I can still see the smile on the statue.

      June 27, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  17. Ferde Grofe

    Consider: Thomas means Twin in Aramaic. Was Thomas brother to Jesus? That's what they called him. ' If so then John was also Thomas' cousin. It's the tiny short message found with the bones which has my attention and should scare the beejesuus out of hard line orthodox Christians.

    June 22, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • Susie

      Wow you managed to fabricate that whole supposition out of thin air? Any more magic tricks?

      June 22, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • Seminarian

      The message was in Greek not Aramaic

      June 22, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • nottolate

      @Ferde Grofe,

      That is incorrect. Didymus is simply his Greek name while Thomas is his Hebrew name. It was common for the Jews to go by two names, one associated with Greek and the other Hebrew. And don't get why Christians should be scared?

      June 22, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Off-topic, but Ferde, nice job on The Grand Canyon!

      June 22, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • cbinal

      Wow, what really gets to me is to see both someone who claims to be Christian and an Athiest discuss the Bible and Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek and niether know what they are talking about. Didymus just means he was a twin and it is mentioned after giving the name Peter and then Thomas, so more than likely Thomas was the twin of Peter, or just a twin of someone else, maybe even James- Jesus' brother as some believe. But even with that said, it doesn't even mean it was the same Thomas. Maybe the Thomas it was refering to was someone in the church where the box was found. Nothing to worry about.

      June 23, 2012 at 2:04 am |
  18. Anonymous Mormon

    The bones can't belong to John the Baptist. According to Mormon belief, John the Baptist appeared to Joseph Smith in the 1820's as a resurrected being. During the visit he restored the Aaronic Priesthood upon Joseph and Oliver Cowdrey. If those bones belong to John the Baptist, then the LDS Church will have some explaining to do.

    June 22, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      What was John smith smoking, popular drug of the time, "HEM"?

      June 22, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • Diana

      The bones are Mitt Romney's.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      No he has no bones, he always rolesover to please his hindu sanatans, filthy goon Jew's, self centered, secular of Egypt pretending to be Israelite. Borne to be a hindu gentile, criminal slave.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • Les Too

      The Mormons believe that the celestial body of the Baptist appeared to J. Smith not the actual body. This is been made perfectly clear in religious education classes.

      June 22, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • cbinal

      Wow you're a Mormon and your biggest concern is whether or not Joe Smith's story could be false because of some bones? You should worry that his story is false because he met an Angel of Light in the woods who enlightened him. The only angel mentioned in the Bible in the term of Angel of Light is Satan, which it says he appears as an Angel of Light to deceive. Looks like it worked.

      June 23, 2012 at 2:26 am |
  19. Steven

    He was six months older than Jesus, so he was beheaded around 31 yrs old.

    June 22, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • meemee

      In your mythology, not in fact.

      June 22, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
  20. ocinfo

    John the Baptist was supposed to be a first cousin of Jesus. If these are his bones, could we get enough information from his DNA to show what he might have looked like? What Jesus might have looked like?

    Can they determine how lod he was at the time of death?

    Can they use this to trace any possible ancestors?

    June 22, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      Son of blessed Mary was short, husky with curly hairs and yellowish skin.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • allynom

      If they have the complete genome they may be able to give a very good guess about hair and eye color, but the DNA will not likely tell about age. It could potentially be used to identify living people as having a common ancestor (particularly a common male ancestor) with this person, but could not prove direct descent.

      June 22, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • texasisit

      THey should give some DNA to a country that is advanced in cloning techniques. They could clone him and we would be able to see what he looked/looks like.

      June 22, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
    • meemee

      Scientists have already taken the genome of a typical Judean male from the first century and reconstructed him forensically. Jesus, (if he existed at all) would have been short, swarthy, with curly black hair.

      June 22, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      Same was reviled by Syadan Mohammad, spirit of truth, Pbh, 1400 years ago.

      June 22, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
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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.