Jerusalem trial fails to end the “brother of Jesus” burial mystery

March 14, 2012

(Israel Antiquities Authority workers prepare ossuaries, found during an excavation in Jerusalem 27 years ago, for display in the Israeli city of Beit Shemesh February 27, 2007. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)

The authenticity of a burial box purported to have been for the “brother” of Jesus Christ remained shrouded in mystery on Wednesday after a Jerusalem court acquitted an Israeli private collector of charges he forged the artifact.

The court, in finding Oded Golan not guilty, noted that expert witnesses could not agree on whether an inscription on the 2,000-year-old limestone box which reads: “James son of Joseph, brother of Jesus”, was genuine or had been forged.

The authenticity of the so-called “James ossuary” will likely “continue to be investigated in the archaeological and scientific arena, and time will tell”, the court said.

The decade-long mystery has haunted archaeologists and religious scholars worldwide. It has focused on what could be the earliest, most concrete evidence of Jesus’s life in Jerusalem and suspicions of the most sophisticated of forgeries.

The saga began in 2002 when Golan, supported by Andre Lemaire, a renowned French scholar of ancient texts, said the ossuary, a limestone box for storing bones of the dead, had on its side the inscription “James son of Joseph, brother of Jesus”.

James, who was believed to have been stoned to death in 62 AD, is mentioned in the Gospels as Jesus’ brother. But the Roman Catholic and other Christian churches believe Jesus had no siblings.

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Perhaps Mr.Rabinovitch should look at Israel Antiquities Authority site cataloged ‘IAA 80/500-509′ in an area called Armon Hanatziv /Talpiot where some construction workers readying a site for a new housing development uncovered a 1st century crypt that contained 10 ossuaries — and one of them (cataloged as IAA 80/509)disappeared before the other 9 were removed from the site. There were names inscribed on six of the ossuaries – ‘Maria’, ‘Yoseph/Jose or Yosa’, ‘Matia or Matthew’,then ‘Yeshua Bar Yoseph – Jesus son of Joseph’ in a tiny ossuary , “Yehuda Bar Yeshua – Judah – son of Jesus, and a last ossuary labeled/inscribed in Greek ‘Mariamne’. According to modern scholarship Mary Magdalene’s real name was Mariamne. Also in the Christian Gospel of Mark, Jose or Yosa (Joses in Greek) is explicitly mentioned as one of Jesus’s four brothers.

Please check it out Mr. Rabinovitch and report on it. I’m sure the world would like to hear more.

Posted by Galvestonian | Report as abusive

On this issue, the Protestants are correct in the plain reading of the Gospels and Epistles regarding the immediate family of Jesus. It would be a bit ironic if St. Peter greeted the Pope at the pearly gates with James, Joses, Simon, and Judas … the brothers of Jesus … standing nearby.

Posted by PeterHebert | Report as abusive

I believe Jesus had no blood related siblings. I, personally, have a family branch in Ohio with duplicate names of family members in Virginia. How much easier if they only had one name and one parent to match very common cultural/societal names. But, please go on google or to a few cementries in any country and find how many people have the same names (first, middle and last) even today.
Trying to discredit the mystery of God will take more than empty boxes. And, why must Jesus the Christ, the son of Mary; have had to had a wife? Was he not a single minded traveling workaholic?

Posted by glovergirl | Report as abusive

@glovergirl Mar 15, 2012, 4:25 PM EDT

How is any one “Trying to discredit the mystery of God…” by seeking more historical truth about Jesus?

I have no religious faith (other than faith in the ability of the average person to usually do the right thing), but I do find the actual historical evidence, if any, of famous religious folk quite fascinating.

If there is a God(s), I am sure he, she, it or they will confound our attempts to find out truths that the God(s) would rather remain hidden. Since we do not know what those hidden truths might be, we might as well look anyway.

I was born Jewish and as a possible descendant of Jesus, I give you full permission to search…..

Dan Brown did alright by searching….

Posted by Lee_Enfield | Report as abusive