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Perhaps you will remember a little box called the James ossuary I’ve been talking about for a while now. It’s been embroiled in a trial now for years. I was thinking of printing up bumper stickers reading FREE THE JAMES OSSUARY. Well, that may soon happen, as you will be able to deduce below from the BAR story written by my co-author of the book The Brother of Jesus, Hershel Shanks.

It seems the case of the prosecution against Golan and Deutsch has unraveled, not least because Yuval Goren was forced under oath to testify that there was genuine patina in the word Jesus on the ossuary. You may remember as well that one of the more touted theories was that whilst the first part of the inscription might be genuine the last part, saying ‘brother of Jesus’ was forged. So much for that theory. We are now on the Eve of All Saints Day, or All Hallow’s Eve (from which we get the word Halloween) and James, being one of those celebrated saints, and his ossuary seems to have risen from the dead! Stay tuned for more fun updates. Maybe its the Lazarus Effect!

BW3

Supporters of James Ossuary Inscription’s Authenticity Vindicated
by Hershel Shanks
Updated October 30, 2008

The “forgery trial of the century” has all but blown up. The trial judge who will decide the case—there are no juries in Israel—has told the prosecution to consider dropping the case. “Not every case ends in the way that you think it will when you start,” Judge Aharon Farkash told prosecutor Adi Damti in open court. “Maybe we can save ourselves the rest,” the judge told her.

In the most recent embarrassment for the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), the government’s star witness, Yuval Goren, former chairman of Tel Aviv University’s institute of archaeology, was forced to admit on cross-examination that there is original ancient patina in the word “Jesus,” the last word in the inscription that reads “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus.”

Recent events have also proved humiliating for the IAA in connection with the committee it appointed that supposedly came to a unanimous decision that the inscription is a forgery. In fact, several members of the committee expressed no opinion—but the IAA counted them as “yes” votes. Several other members of the committee based their vote not on their own expertise, but on Yuval Goren’s supposed expertise, which they were in no position to evaluate. One member of the committee who would have found the inscription authentic said he was “forced” to change his mind based on Goren’s scientific arguments.

No paleographer expert in the script of this period has found any paleographical problem with the inscription. And several scientists at the trial have undermined Goren’s scientific arguments. No other scientist has supported Goren’s arguments.

BAR has consistently supported the authenticity of the inscription, as have leading paleographers André Lemaire of the Sorbonne and Ada Yardeni of Hebrew University. All appear now to be vindicated.

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