The Israeli who claims to have identified two nails from Jesus's crucifixion says that the widespread trouncing of his theory points to a deep problem in the field of archaeology.
Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici, an Orthodox Jew from Tel Aviv, went public with his discovery this week. It is the subject of his documentary, Nails of the Cross, due to air on Israeli and American television next month. But archaeologists dismissed his claim as sensationalist and lacking evidence. The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) released a statement saying the idea that the nails were used in the crucifixion is "simply fantasy".
Mr Jacobovici reacted by telling the JC: "The minute someone says anything significant about the New Testament, the immediate response is to scoff, not to study it." He believes experts prefer to avoid making bold claims relating to the New Testament because it brings them under such intense scrutiny - and they resent it when others do so.
He said that he located the nails after they went missing from a previous find in 1990 when archaeologists unearthed a first-century Jewish tomb, believed to have belonged to Caiaphas, the High Priest at the time of Jesus's death.
Mr Jacobovici admitted that his evidence is circumstantial but argued that scholars should criticise the IAA for losing the nails, not attack him for finding them and proposing a theory.
"When a reporter brings to light something that other people have lost, he should get an award, not criticism," he said.