Who comes to mind when a McGill University alumni generates a tsunami of media debate after claiming he has found the tomb of Jesus? The answer is Israeli-born Canadian Simcha Jacobovici, three-time Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker and New York Times best-selling author.
Acclaimed by the Ryerson Review of Journalism as “Canada’s Top Documentary Filmmaker,” Jacobovici gets a great sense of excitement and purpose applying his investigative journalistic skills to biblical archaeology. He can be seen uncovering and sharing his findings on reruns of Canada’s Vision TV hit show The Naked Archeologist and on recent documentaries The Lost Tomb of Jesus and The Exodus Decoded, both collaboratively produced with Avatar director/producer James Cameron. “What a great pleasure it is when you get paid to do what you love,” says Jacobovici. “Contextualizing something physical that came in contact with the bible and using the tools of investigative journalism to do so is a thrill.”
Jacobovici has become an internationally recognized expert in “decoding” the ancient past and has appeared on numerous television shows, including Anderson Cooper 360°, Larry King Live, The Oprah Winfrey Show and NBC Today. “We do a lot on the Hebrew bible but also on the Christian Gospels, looking at this material from a historical point of view, not a theological one. What we do is uncover the science and archeology behind the biblical narratives,” says Jacobovici.
For over ten years, Jacobovici, of Jewish Modern Orthodox faith, has been sparking heated scientific and academic debates for multiple archeological claims. He has argued that he has located the exact coordinates that the book of Exodus provides for the parting of the sea, claims to have identified the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth, and even argues that two Roman nails found in the tomb of the high priest Caiaphas are the very nails of Jesus’ crucifixion. “These claims seem fantastic if we mythologize historical events. My goal is to create a good archeological and journalistic case so that scientists can further investigate,” he argues. Simcha was born on April 4, 1953 to Romanian Jewish parents. His late father, Joseph, and mother, Ida, are Holocaust survivors. At the age of 9, he moved with his parents and sister to Montreal, where his father had been offered an engineering position. Jacobovici earned his Bachelor of Arts from McGill University with a degree in philosophy and politics in 1974. After a year of volunteering in the Israeli Army, he got his Masters in International Relations at the University of Toronto, where he completed all but his dissertation for a Ph.D.