Here are some lessons we can learn from the Jesus tomb saga:
1. First do the research, then make the movie.
2. Don’t just hire consultants who you know already agree with you; what’s the value of that?
3. Don’t rely uncritically on the work of others, even experts in the field, especially when your central thesis depends on it.
4. Avoid getting infatuated with your own theory so that you are no longer able to evaluate the evidence objectively.
5. Don’t be tempted to “follow the money”; follow the evidence instead. Be on a quest for truth, not fame or fortune.
6. Don’t circumvent the peer review process and address yourself directly to the public; your scholarly reputation will almost certainly suffer if you do.
7. Don’t persist in a state of denial when you’ve been proven wrong. Admit your mistake; everyone else already knows it anyway. Denying the obvious will only make you look even more ridiculous.
8. Don’t miss the subtle clues—a backwards “N,” a supposed “U” that looks a lot more like an “I”—even if it requires you to change your theory.
9. Be modest in stating your case. Don’t overreach.
10. Don’t use statistics or DNA evidence to pad a weak case.
11. Don’t confuse your theory with the facts.
12. Develop a healthy respect for the need for expertise in a certain area before making confident pronouncement of things you know little about.