Saturday, May 21, 2005

Hmmmm, Color Me Skeptical...

Tom at Scared Monkeys posted about what he called an intriguing story about the Ark of the Covenant.

An unnamed Kabbalist has granted blessing to famed archeologist Dr. Vendyl Jones to uncover the Holy Ark of the Covenant. Jones plans to excavate the Lost Ark by the Tisha B’Av Fast this summer.

Sounds good, right? Wait, there's more...

“1967 was a repetition of Kadesh Barnea,” Jones says. “If Israel had come in and taken this place, the Arabs would have fled like they did in 1948. But no, because of the evil report of Golda Meir and Motta Gur and Moshe Dayan, who said ‘We cannot do that, world opinion will be against us.’ So Israel was sentenced to 38 years more – and June the 7th [2005], Jerusalem Day, will be the 38th year.

Jones believes that the Jewish prophecies regarding the greatly anticipated redemption are occuring in front of our eyes.

Jones' escapades and explorations were the inspiration for the blockbuster movie 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' of the 'Indiana Jones' trilogy. The man who wrote the first draft of the film, Randolph Fillmore, was one of the volunteers who worked with Jones in 1977.

“I agreed to help him write the movie,” Jones said, “as long as – number one – he wouldn’t set it here (in Israel). Some people believe the ark is in Ethiopia or Egypt, some believe its in Constantinople or Rome. I just didn’t want it to be portrayed as being here. The second thing was, 'Don’t use my name.' So he didn’t. My name is Vendyl – V-E-N-D-Y-L. So he just dropped the first and last letters and it ended up Endy Jones.”

Those were some enjoyable movies. I had always thought that they were just your typical action-adventure escapism movies. Was I that gullible? Maybe so.

But wait, there's still more...

Dr. Jones says the discovery of the lost ark will “flip the whole world right-side-up.”

“I just gotta drill a bore-hole into the chamber, drop a pin-camera in and there it is. And everything is gonna change, believe me. The Jewish people are gonna come back.”

Cool, world's now gonna be right-side-up. Have we been up-side-down? This is good, almost on a par with finding E.T. in your garden shed.

But wait (you get the idea)... boingboing reports:

Eccentric Texan archaeologist Vendyl Jones--often incorrectly named as the inspiration for Indiana Jones--claims that this summer he will finally excavate the real Ark of the Covenant from its hiding place in the Judean Desert.

Following the link incorrectly above, and scrolling down to near the bottom, we find:

Spielberg and Lucas have said that the adventures were inspired by some of their favorite fiction from when they were growing up, such as Republic Pictures serials. Spielberg wanted Indiana to be a James Bond-like figure that got into difficult situations and worked his way out.

Many people have been called the real-life inspiration of the Indiana Jones character. Probably the most cited person is famous paleontologist Roy Chapman Andrews. Archeologist Vendyl "Texas" Jones claims that he was the inspiration, citing his names (he also notes that his first name trimmed becomes Endy — very similar to Indy). Other people called Indy inspirers include explorer Gene Savoy [1] and University of Chicago archeologist Robert Braidwood [2]. But the most likely inspiration was the fictional character Alan Quatermain.

The character was originally named Indiana Smith, but Spielberg disliked the name and Lucas casually suggested "Indiana Jones". The name was thus changed early in the production of Raiders of the Lost Ark. The origin of the name "Indiana" is the same in the real world as in the fiction: It was the name of an Alaskan malamute Lucas had in the 1970s. His name is also said to be derived from the character "Nevada Smith", played by Steve McQueen in the 1966 film of the same name.

Hmmm, so there is some question as to the validity of the name association. Checking further, on Vendyl Jones' website, we find:

Was the Indiana Jones character based on Vendyl Jones?

It may be hard to believe but Vendyl has no connection with the popular motion picture character. He has never received any money from the producers of the movie. And he's never asked.

OK, so Indiana Jones was not modeled after Vendyl Jones. What about the rest of the story? Where is the Ark of the Covenant?

The Talmud says the Ark is hidden in a secret passage under the Temple Mount. Jones says that the tunnel actually continues 18 miles southward, and that the Ark was brought through the tunnel to its current resting place in the Judean Desert.

Or maybe:

...the ancient Holy Ark of The Covenant resides in the Chapel Of St. Mary Of Zion in Axum?

Or how about here?

The last record of the location of the Ark of the Covenant in the Tanakh, (Old Testament), is Jeremiah 3:16. "And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the L-RD, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the L-RD: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more." You will recall that Jeremiah knew that Babylon would soon conquer Judah and was preaching repentance to the people of Judah. You may also recall that the L-rd instructed Jeremiah to purchase a specific field. Jeremiah knew the first temple, built by Solomon, was going to be looted and destroyed by Nebuchadnezer. At the L-rd's instruction, with the help of the remnant of faithful priests, Jeremiah had the Ark of the Covenant and the furnishings which were in the Holy of Holies moved to the location which the L-rd directed. Before hearing Henry Gruver, I had always thought that G-d had taken the Ark of the Covenant to heaven, according to the b'rit chadasha, Revelation 11:19. "And the temple of G-d was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail." Now I can see that this is the temple of G-d in heaven. The Ark of the Covenant, which the L-rd had Moses construct, was a model of that which was in heaven. The Ark of the Covenant was placed in a certain specific location by Jeremiah at the L-rd's direction. The Ark of the Covenant is hard physical evidence which proves the absolute truth of the Bible and that Mohammed is a false prophet. If the Muslim leaders knew of the whereabouts of the Ark they would have an all out jihad to destroy the Ark. That is why discretion should be exercised in the publication of this information.

Ah HAH! Here we find a second reference to Axum (Ethiopia):

We next journeyed to Axum, the purported resting place of the Ark of the Covenant, and made our way to St. Mary's of Zion Church. There I was introduced to a man referred to as "The Guardian of the Ark of the Covenant." This man reportedly lives his entire life inside a fenced-off area in which is St. Mary's of Zion. He will not leave this fenced-off compound until he dies and is replaced by the next Guardian of the Ark. In the chapel of the church, 30 robes from 30 previous guardians are on display - and every one of the 30 professed that the object they protected was the Ark of the Covenant.

That leaves us so far with one YES vote for Mr. Jones being correct, two NO votes, and a NULL vote. And to tell you the truth, I still have no idea.

So, the best way to determine the validity of the original article is to wait until August 14, 2005. I won't be holding my breath.

Tom at Scared Monkeys was correct, it IS an intriguing story.

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