Beliefnet

The controversial St. James Ossuary

“For archaeologists, the court decision doesn’t really change anything,” says University of North Carolina archaeologist Jodi Magness, author of Stone and Dung, Oil and Spit: Jewish Daily Life in the Time of Jesus. “There is no way to tell where the ossuary came from, and without that context, the ossuary is worthless.”

So, is Dr. King’s papyrus fragment a forgery? That remains to be seen. She has agreed to have it scientifically dated by impartial experts.

However, other issues remain: “Aside from questions about the fragment’s authenticity and provenance, some scholars have questioned Dr. King’s interpretation,” writes Goodstein in the Times, “since the fragment lacks context.”

Echoing others, Darrell L. Bock, senior research professor of New Testament studies at Dallas Theological Seminary, noted that even if the fragment is somehow found to be authentic, it might well show Egyptian Christians 350 years after Jesus walked the roads of Israel telling a metaphorical story about Him. 

After all, in his epistles to the early church, the Apostle Paul refers to Christ's wife repeatedly -- but it is Christians and the church who are called “the bride of Christ.”

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