Monthly Archives: March 2007

ossuary

Every couple of years a story surfaces [always by an Israeli or Jewish person or institute] about Jesus, Christianity or Judaism which turns out to be a misconception or a carefully planned hoax. In all such stories, soma facts are hidden for years then surface and are purported as truths; only later to be discredited as well crafted lies.

Start with the Dead Sea Scrolls that were kept under wraps for over 40 years; then came various “biblical studies!”, and books like Holy Blood Holy Grail, The Da Vinci Code, The Jesus Papers, and most recently The Brother of Jesus!

To understand this trend of events, let us take the example of the Ossuary of James and Jesus. Many Christians saw the ossuary as an implicit challenge to Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christian theology, which holds that Jesus’ mother, Mariam, was a perpetual virgin and had no other children.

Let us skip all the technical details and the questionable character of Israeli antiquities dealer Oded Golan and just read the story as covered by CNN on June 18, 2003 [below]:

‘Jesus box’ exposed as fake

Wednesday, June 18, 2003 Posted: 5:03 PM EDT (2103 GMT)

http://www.cnn.com/2003/TECH/science/06/18/jesus.box/

JERUSALEM — A stone box touted as the oldest archaeological evidence of Jesus is, in fact, a well-crafted fake, as French, and (later) Israeli archaeological experts say.

The box, an object known as an ossuary, was said to have contained the bones of Jesus’ brother James.

Carved on one side is an inscription in the ancient language of Aramaic bearing the legend: "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus."

Officials with Israel‘s Antiques Authority announced Wednesday that while the box may date from the correct era, the inscription is a forgery added at a much later date.

"The inscription appears new, written in modernity by someone attempting to reproduce ancient written characters," the officials said in the statement.

They said that a panel of archeological experts had agreed unanimously with the findings.

The box first came to public attention in October last year when French archaeologist Andre Lemaire identified and translated the inscription.

Writing in the Biblical Archaeology Review last year Lemaire, an expert in ancient scripts, said it was "very probable" that the box belonged to Jesus’ brother James.

However, after months of detailed examination of the box and the inscription the team of Israeli experts concluded that the finding was incorrect.

"The ossuary is real. But the inscription is fake," the director of Israel‘s Antiquities Authority, Shuka Dorfman, told Reuters.

"What this means is that somebody took a real box and forged the writing on it, probably to give it a religious significance," Dorfman added.

The committee said another indication that the box was not all it was claimed to be was that the stone from which it was hewn was more likely to have originated in Cyprus or northern Syria than ancient Israel.

However, Oded Golan, the Israeli owner of the "James ossuary," dismissed the findings.

"I am certain the ossuary is real, I am certain that the committee is wrong regarding its conclusions," he said.

Golan had earlier said he had problems with the committee and its methods of investigation saying they had "preconceived notions."

He said he had bought the ossuary in the mid-1970s from a dealer in the Old City of Jerusalem for about $200, but he was unable to remember the dealer’s name.

Ossuaries were commonly used by Jewish families between 20 B.C. and A.D. 70 to store the bones of their loved ones.

 

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