I am not yet convinced by one element in the scholarly reaction to the "Jesus Family Tomb", the claim that the case should have been made through the normal channels of academic peer reviewed journals. The claim has been made on several occasions and I don't need to illustrate. A large part of this scholarly reaction is, I think, understandable. It proceeds from the frustration of having to make a speedy judgement, when a paper calls you for a quick comment, on a case that one has not had the time to begin to digest. Even those who have already written more extensively on the case have often confused the filmmakers' case over the "Yose" tomb, which is that this is Jesus' brother Joses, not Jesus' father Joseph, something that comes from having to rush to comment while the topic is hot, while the wider world is interested. Scholarship is rarely about snap judgements, and it is not easy to provide a quick and easy answer to the claims when approached to do so by the papers. Few took the time last week to familiarise themselves with the basics of the case , but even if one does have the data at one's fingertips, one can hardly begin to get into any kind of detail when approached for a quick comment by the media.
All those things having been said, I think it is unreasonable to expect Jacobovici to have published his case in academic peer-reviewed journals. As he has repeatedly insisted, he is a journalist and a filmmaker and not an academic. It is notoriously difficult for non-professional academics to make it into a peer reviewed journal, all the more so if the case one has might be seen as imaginative or speculative. To turn it around, how often do we academics first publish our results by means of television documentary? If a filmmaker were to complain about our not having gone first to television, we would rightly point out that our access to that medium is limited and that we do not have the requisite expertise and experience to go through that portal. I realize that for some this might be seen to be begging the question. Their complaint is that the case for the identification of the Talpiot tomb needs to be properly set out, fully sourced and carefully argued. I agree that this is ultimately necessary if the claim is going to be properly explored, and James Tabor mentions that he and Shimon Gibson are working on such a piece (see The Jesus Dynasty blog, bottom of that entry). But I wouldn't expect a filmmaker like Jacobovici, without such academic expertise or experience, to be able to prepare such a piece. Under such circumstances, and if one were convinced one had chanced upon something massive, surely one would pursue it using the avenues available to one as a filmmaker.
I remain unpersuaded by the claims made in the film, and there are points where I wish Jacobovici had run his scripts through (at least) some fact-checking academic consultants, but I am not sure that it is right to criticize him for doing something that would have been outside his remit as a filmmaker. After all, if one were to ask the question about whether he has done what he can to get the data out to the public, one would have to say that he has done a good job. The reason that so many academics have been able to weigh in so quickly is that the Discovery website and the Jesus tomb website have featured so much of the necessary data, including even PDFs of earlier works (like Kloner's article, the pages from the Rahmani book), and then interviews and more.