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"Brother of Jesus" bone-box plot thickens [Israeli Scholars: Jesus' 'Brother' Box Fraud]
Israel Insider ^ | November 5, 2002 | Ellis Shuman

Posted on 11/06/2002 11:11:35 AM PST by Polycarp

"Brother of Jesus" bone-box plot thickens

By Ellis Shuman

November 5, 2002

An ancient burial box believed to have belonged to James, the Biblical brother of Jesus, was damaged while being sent for display at a Toronto museum. The museum is awaiting word from the ossuary's owner before attempting to repair the box, but the owner is being questioned by police as the burial box may actually belong to the State of Israel. Meanwhile, Israeli scholars insist that the inscription on the box is a fraud.

Staff at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto discovered numerous cracks Friday in the 2,000-year-old limestone burial box. The cracks appear under an Aramaic inscription which states: "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus." Herschel Shanks, the Jewish publisher of the respected Biblical Archaeology Review, announced the discovery of the box last month as the "first archaeological attestation of Jesus."

"We sent out a conservation proposal to the owner on the weekend and he's decided he wants to wait," Royal Ontario Museum spokesman Francisco Alvarez told The Globe and Mail. The museum sent the owner images of the damage caused in transit, and said that repairs would have to be done in Toronto. The museum plans to exhibit the box between November 16 and December 29.

When granting an export license, officials at the Israel Antiquity Authority received a promise from the ossuary's owner that it would be returned to Israel after four months so that they could continue to study the box in attempts to date it.

Owner may have acquired ossuary illegally "We put one and one together and realized that [the ossuary's owner] must be Oded Golan," says Dr. Uzi Dahari, deputy director of the Antiquities Authority.

Golan, 51, the chief executive at a Tel Aviv high tech company, said he purchased the ossuary from an antiquities dealer some thirty years ago, apparently when he was in his early twenties. "Until a short time ago, I didn't realize the historical importance [of the box] to the Christian world. When I sent the box to an exhibition overseas, it had a small crack in its side that apparently widened during the transit to Canada," Golan told Maariv.

Shortly after the Biblical Archaeology Review announced its finding, Tel Aviv police summoned Golan for questioning. Investigators at the Antiquities Authority claim that Golan acquired the box illegally. According to Israel's Antiquities Law, an artifact that "was discovered or found in Israel" after 1978, when the law was enacted, is "state property." Original media reports indicated that Golan acquired the box about 15 years ago, which would mean that it belongs to the State of Israel.

Scholars insist: inscription is a fraud Israel Insider posted exclusively on October 29 the report of an expert of ancient scripts and writing systems who claimed that while the burial box appeared to be genuine, as was the first part of the inscription, the second half of the inscription, "brother of Jesus," was a "poorly executed fake" and a later addition.

Rochelle I. Altman, co-coordinator of IOUDAIOS-L, a virtual community of scholars engaged in on-line discussion of Judaism in the Greco-Roman world, says that people are taking Sorbonne University paleographer Andre Lemaire's word too quickly when he stated "that the inscription is incised."

Both Altman and noted paleographer Ada Yardeni have concluded that the second part of the inscription was added later. "There are two hands; two different scripts; two different social strata, two different levels of execution, two different levels of literacy, and two different carvers," Altman says.

Altman believes that the second half was actually written in the 3rd or 4th century, while Paul Flesher at the University of Wyoming, an expert on Hebraicized Aramaic dialects, dates it anywhere between the 2nd and 7th centuries.

"The reason the police are onto Golan is that there are two such ossuaries, both already known and photographed in a book on the ossuaries in collections in Israel published in 1996. This one was not bought at an antique dealer in the 1960s, but at an auction, from a museum, in the 1980s," Altman says.

© 2001-2002 Koret Communications Ltd. All rights reserved.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Front Page News
KEYWORDS: catholiclist; godsgravesglyphs; ossuary
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
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Ownership battle brews over Jesus-era burial box Ha'aretz

Ossuary repairs on hold The Globe and Mail

Final report on the James ossuary Rochelle I. Altman

Ossuary was genuine, inscription was faked Rochelle I. Altman

1 posted on 11/06/2002 11:11:35 AM PST by Polycarp
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To: berned
"The reason the police are onto Golan is that there are two such ossuaries, both already known and photographed in a book on the ossuaries in collections in Israel published in 1996. This one was not bought at an antique dealer in the 1960s, but at an auction, from a museum, in the 1980s," Altman says.

2 posted on 11/06/2002 11:12:37 AM PST by Polycarp
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To: *Catholic_list; .45MAN; AKA Elena; al_c; american colleen; Angelus Errare; Antoninus; ...
I think this hoax has been adequately laid to rest. Ping (as usual, if you would like to be added to or removed from my Catholic ping list, please let me know via Freepmail.)
3 posted on 11/06/2002 11:14:30 AM PST by Polycarp
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To: Polycarp; Thinkin' Gal
Both Altman and noted paleographer Ada Yardeni have concluded that the second part of the inscription was added later. "There are two hands; two different scripts; two different social strata, two different levels of execution, two different levels of literacy, and two different carvers," Altman says.

Altman believes that the second half was actually written in the 3rd or 4th century, while Paul Flesher at the University of Wyoming, an expert on Hebraicized Aramaic dialects, dates it anywhere between the 2nd and 7th centuries.

It looks like plain old everyday MODERN Hebrew block letters to me. I think these "experts" are pulling everyone's leg.

4 posted on 11/06/2002 11:18:17 AM PST by Alouette
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To: Alouette
Notice that the limestone is so ancient, so brittle, and so fragile, that merely moving it causes it to nearly disintegrate.

But, of course, forcefully HACKING letters into the 2000 + year old surface did NO DAMAGE WHATSOEVER!!!!!!!!!

5 posted on 11/06/2002 11:22:28 AM PST by berned
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To: Alouette
No, that's the AUTHENTIC part. Remember that Hebrew reads right-to-left.

On the right, traditional funerary script, very meticulous. On the left, scraggly uneven inconsistent lettering, probably by somebody who didn't speak Hebrew or not of that period . . .

6 posted on 11/06/2002 11:23:13 AM PST by AnAmericanMother
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To: berned; Alouette
But, of course, forcefully HACKING letters into the 2000 + year old surface did NO DAMAGE WHATSOEVER!!!!!!!!!


7 posted on 11/06/2002 11:31:41 AM PST by Thinkin' Gal
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To: Polycarp
I don't get it: if the second half of the inscription was done by the 7th century, and the box was in a museum 20 years ago and had presumably been examined, why didn't anyone take notice of the inscription?

Anyway, it isn't necessarily a "hoax" if the whole inscription was completed in ancient times; it can't be used as evidence of the existence of Jesus, though (as if such evidence were really needed, anyway).

8 posted on 11/06/2002 11:32:32 AM PST by LimitedPowers
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To: LimitedPowers
it can't be used as evidence of the existence of Jesus, though (as if such evidence were really needed, anyway).

EXACTLY!!!

Though some here and elsewhere with a sectarian axe to grind have used this ossuary box inscription as if it definitively disproved certain Catholic teachings about the Blessed Virgin Mary.

How absurd.

9 posted on 11/06/2002 11:36:09 AM PST by Polycarp
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To: LimitedPowers
It should be easy to date the inscription."Weathering" on the incised part starts on the incision date as opposed to the surface weathering which starts on the quarry date.
10 posted on 11/06/2002 11:38:25 AM PST by Doctor Stochastic
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To: Polycarp
I think this hoax has been adequately laid to rest. Ping (as usual, if you would like to be added to or removed from my Catholic ping list, please let me know via Freepmail.)

Even if it is a 2nd century hoax, would not this be THE absolute fact that the early Church did not attach itself to a dogma of Mary's perpetual virginity--as proposed by the Church of Rome centuries later?

11 posted on 11/06/2002 11:39:43 AM PST by meandog
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To: Alouette
I think these "experts" are pulling everyone's leg.

Personally, I think "the experts" are making an honest, disinterested study of this ossuary.

The ones pulling everyone's leg are those who, two weeks ago, used this ossuary inscription as a mighty big sledge hammer to attack traditional/orthodox Christianity's teaching's regarding the Mother of God.

They owe everyone a big apology and admittance of error, both on this forum and elsewhere, but I ain't holding my breath.

12 posted on 11/06/2002 11:41:39 AM PST by Polycarp
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To: Polycarp
Though some here and elsewhere with a sectarian axe to grind have used this ossuary box inscription as if it definitively disproved certain Catholic teachings about the Blessed Virgin Mary.

See post #11...even if hoax it backs up fact about early Church theology...

13 posted on 11/06/2002 11:43:02 AM PST by meandog
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To: Polycarp
Unless the box cries or bleeds the Catholic Church won't recognize it as valid.
14 posted on 11/06/2002 11:47:39 AM PST by kjam22
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To: meandog
Even if it is a 2nd century hoax, would not this be THE absolute fact that the early Church did not attach itself to a dogma of Mary's perpetual virginity--as proposed by the Church of Rome centuries later?

No. Mary's perpetual virginity was taught by the early Christians as well as the protestant reformers Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Ulrich Zwingli.

See Mary: Ever Virgin

It was only recently, in the mid 1800's, that protestants began denying this continuous belief of Christianity.

So contrary to the thinking that the RCC "attached itself to a new doctrine...

...the Truth is that protestantism detached itself from the continuous teachings of Christianity regarding Mary, only about a century ago.

15 posted on 11/06/2002 11:50:54 AM PST by Polycarp
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To: meandog
even if hoax it backs up fact about early Church theology...

I guess you fail to see the contradiction in this post of yours.

Typical of the defenders of this hoax.

16 posted on 11/06/2002 11:52:28 AM PST by Polycarp
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To: Polycarp
Who would be the perpetrators of this "hoax" and why would they have done it over a millenium ago? So far there has been no evidence of a "fraud" or a "hoax" even if everything the debunkers say is true.
17 posted on 11/06/2002 11:54:00 AM PST by justshutupandtakeit
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To: Polycarp
1. Jewish scholars reacted negatively before they knew anything. That indicates a religious based hostility to the ossuary that precludes their ability to fairly evaluate it.

2. Even IF the 2nd part of the inscription were demonstrated to be dated 200 years after the first, that would not invalidate the ossuary. In order to maintain exact accountability of a relic, a devotee added the words to keep the box preserved and properly handled and appreciated.

3. The son of Joseph, brother of Jesus inscription does NOT invalidate the catholic position of the virginity of Mary. It might invalidate the notion that James was his cousin. It probably indicates an additional marriage for Joseph.
18 posted on 11/06/2002 11:55:01 AM PST by xzins
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To: kjam22
Unless the box cries or bleeds the Catholic Church won't recognize it as valid.

Typical. Guess you forgot about the Shroud of Turin tho....

19 posted on 11/06/2002 11:55:48 AM PST by Polycarp
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To: All
Altman believes that the second half was actually written in the 3rd or 4th century, while Paul Flesher at the University of Wyoming, an expert on Hebraicized Aramaic dialects, dates it anywhere between the 2nd and 7th centuries.

Now wait a second here. Suppose the early Jewish Christians had this box, labelled "James son of Joseph", which they knew contained the bones of the James who the Bible CLEARLY SAYS was the "Brother of Jesus".

The Jews are run out of Israel in 70AD. As the years go by, and the ossuaries begin to pile up, and there are more ossuaries with "Joseph & James" (very common names) the Jews realize that if they are to diferentiate THIS box from the others as belonging to "James the Brother of Jesus" -- they need to FURTHER LABEL it so they can know WHICH "James son of Joseph" is ALSO "James brother of Christ".

So someone adds the additional identifier.

THAT IS YOUR IDEA OF A "HOAX"?????

20 posted on 11/06/2002 12:02:18 PM PST by berned
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To: xzins; berned
Important points. Thanks.

From Burial Box of St. James Found? By James Akin, a well known Catholic apologist:

Some non-Catholics were quick to tout the box as evidence against the perpetual virginity of Mary, however this does not follow. The ossuary identifies its James as the son of Joseph and the brother of Jesus, it does not identify him as the son-much less the biological son-of Mary. The only point that Catholic doctrine has established regarding the "brethren of the Lord" is that they are not biological children of Mary.

What relationship they did have with her is a matter of speculation. They may have been Jesus' adoptive brothers, stepbrothers through Joseph, or-according to one popular theory-cousins. As has often been pointed out, Aramaic had no word for "cousin," and so the word for brother was used in its place. This inscription is in Aramaic, and so there would be little surprise if it were being used in that way.

While the inscription does not establish the brethren of the Lord as biological children of Mary, it does have an impact on which theory may best explain the relationship of the brethren to Jesus. If James "the brother of the Lord" were Jesus' cousin then it would be unlikely for him also to have a father named Joseph. This would diminish the probability of the cousin theory in favor of the idea that this James was a stepbrother or an adoptive brother of Jesus.

The stepbrother hypothesis is, in fact, the earliest one on record. It is endorsed by a document known as the Protoevangelium of James, which dates to the year 120, within sixty years of James' death (James died in A.D. 62). According to the Protoevangelium, Joseph was an elderly widower at the time he was betrothed to Mary. He already had a family and thus was willing to become the guardian of a virgin consecrated to God. The stepbrother hypothesis was the most common explanation of the brethren of the Lord until St. Jerome popularized the cousin hypothesis just before the year 400.

The stepbrother hypothesis is also supported by the fact that Joseph apparently was significantly older than Mary, as he appears to have died before our Lord's public ministry began.

Bottom line: If the ossuary of James bar-Joseph is that of James the brother of the Lord, it sheds light on which of the theories Catholics are permitted to hold is most likely the correct one, but it poses does nothing to refute Catholic doctrine. If authentic, as seems probable, it is to be welcomed as further archaeological confirmation of the life of our Lord.

21 posted on 11/06/2002 12:02:40 PM PST by Polycarp
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To: berned
Moot point, in the end. Bottom line? See post # 21, thanks.
22 posted on 11/06/2002 12:04:04 PM PST by Polycarp
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To: Polycarp
Israeli scholars insist that the inscription on the box is a fraud.

Ofcourse they do! For obvious reasons.

23 posted on 11/06/2002 12:05:17 PM PST by Cold Heat
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To: wirestripper
For obvious reasons.

This must be taken into consideration, certainly.

24 posted on 11/06/2002 12:07:23 PM PST by Polycarp
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To: berned
...forcefully HACKING letters into the 2000 + year old surface did NO DAMAGE WHATSOEVER!

Here's the article claiming "fraud":


Rochelle I. Altman is co-coordinator of IOUDAIOS-L, a virtual community of scholars engaged in on-line discussion of Judaism in the Greco-Roman world. She is an expert on scripts and an historian of writing systems.
risa3@netvision.net.il


As an expert on scripts and an historian of writing systems, I was asked to examine this inscription and make a report. I did.

The bone-box is original; the first inscription, which is in Aramaic, "Jacob son of Joseph," is authentic. The second half of the inscription, "brother of Jesus," is a poorly executed fake and a later addition. This report has already been distributed on at least two scholarly lists.

Please note that the fraud is so blatant that I did not bother to go into extreme detail on whether the faked addition is supposed to be Hebrew or Aramaic. (If that's a vav, -- then it's Hebrew, not Aramaic; if it's yod, then it's says 'my brother', not 'his brother' or 'brother of'. By no stretch of the imagination can one claim this to be in Aramaic... 'of' in Aramaic is 'di'.)

You have to be blind as a bat not to see that the second part is a fraud...

Here is the report:

Report on the "James" ossuary inscription
I carefully checked many photos and writings on ossuaries and covenants before sending you my report. I make no claim to be an expert on ossuaries, but inscriptions and scripts are another story. It might be in order to warn you that I have a great deal of experience at spotting ancient frauds and forgeries.

There are a few things we have to bear in mind about ossuary inscriptions.

First, according to Rahmani (1981, 1982) on Jerusalem burial practices, most ossuaries are from the period between 30/20 BCE-70 CE -- but by no means all.

Second, human remains are not dug up and displaced without very good reasons. Ossuaries show up in quantity when burial space is at a premium.

Solutions to the burial space problem are quite varied. In Classical Greece, for example, low status people were buried in space-saving one-person shaft graves (with a tiny round marker on the spot with the necessary data). The Keramikon in Athens is full of these. In Italy, from the Renaissance until the late 19th-century, after 3 years, unless a family could afford an ossuary or pay another three years rent, the bones were dumped in a mass grave site -- usually a convenient quarry or crevice or what have you, filled with dirt layer by layer. In Athens, ossuaries are still used (metal boxes nowadays); again, that three-year rent period runs. Even in modern Louisiana, along the Mississippi water seepage makes it impossible to dig graves of a reasonable depth; burials are in family mausoleums and bones are pushed down to make way for the latest arrival.

As ossuaries, after all, contravene the normal rules for Jewish burial, the appearance of so many ossuaries in the period before the destruction of the Temple is strong evidence that the cemeteries around Jerusalem were in a space-crunch. (The post-70 reduction in ossuaries follows naturally enough from the removal of enough people from the area to reduce the need for bone- boxes.)

It is not a question of "popularity" at all (which when one thinks about it, is a most peculiar way to think about the subject), but a lack of burial space... which also gives us information about population density of a given area. (Oddly enough, there does not seem to be very much in the literature that addresses this point for the relevant period; yet the correlation between the space constraints indicated by the rise in ossuaries and the density of the population of a given area is rather obvious.)

Third, while today, grave markers are carved by pros, this was not the case in these Jewish ossuary inscriptions. The apparently wide variations in ossuary inscriptions come from a simple fact: these ossuary inscriptions are covenants, vows to affirm continuing respect for the deceased in spite of having disinterred his/her remains. As with any other vow, the text must be in the hand of the one making the vow. Thus (as is noted in the literature), a surviving member of the family painted on, or scratched into, the (usually) limestone box the memorial data. In some cases a professional would carve over the handwriting exactly as written. (BTW, this is the standard practice for all professionally carved covenants.)

In other words, all those ossuary inscriptions are holographs. Needless to say, in such a mass of individual writing, literacy varied tremendously from semi-literates who wrote only upon occasion to school-boys to scholars. [What is relevant to sorting out the apparent lack of relation between status and ossuary is not the wealth or social status of the individual(s) (up to three sets of same-family bones can show up in an ossuary), but the level of literacy and status of the survivors. Thus, there is a relationship between status and inscription... but we would need information on the "survivors" in each case to know who, what, when, how, and why.]

From the writing on the ossuary inscriptions, some are clearly written by youngsters and semi-literates who did not have complete control of graph sizes and could not hold a straight line. Others are clearly the holographs of literate people.

James inscription was written by two different people
The inscription on the "James" ossuary is a bit more complicated. First it has been gone over by a professional carver; the words are excised (not incised). Second, it was written by two different people.

Translated, with the amendments to the original spelling as given in the article, the inscription reads:

Jacob son of Joseph brother of Joshua.

The emended translation does not indicate the way the words are actually written, which is in two distinct groups:

Y(KOBBRYWSF   )XWW(Y#W(

[Editor's note: the transliteration provided by the author is in accordance with the Michigan-Claremont Encoding System for ASCII]

Nor does the translation give any indication of the change from the carefully executed and expertly spaced *inscriptional* cursive -- including careful angles and the cuneiform wedge on the bet's, the resh, and the yod -- in

Y(KOBBRYWSF
[Jacob son of Joseph]

to the less than expertly executed *commercial* sans-wedge cursive in

)XWW(Y#W(
[brother of Joshua]

While it is customary to dismiss such differences as unimportant ("scribes are not typewriters"), here the differences between the two parts are glaring and impossible not to see.

In the first part, the script is formal
In part 1, the script is formal, the ayin has an acute angle, the bets, resh, and yod have the cuneiform wedge, and the yods are consistent in size and cannot be confused with the vavs.

The person who wrote the first part of the inscription [ Y(KOBBRYWSF ] was necessarily a surviving member of the family. He was fully literate; he clearly was familiar with the formal square script (those cuneiform wedges), the writing is internally consistent, and this part of the inscription is his expertly written holograph.

In the second part, the script is informal
In part 2, the script is informal, the two ayins are completely different from each other and differ yet again from the ayin in part 1. When we compare the yod in Y(KOB with the (amended) three yod's in )XWW(Y#W( we immediately can see that this is a different person writing. First of all, the yod in 'brother of' and the first yod in W(Y#W( are written as vavs. With the model of the correct way to write the yod-ayin [ Y( ] right in front of his nose on 'Jacob', there is no reason at all for the extended vav or the extra vav in what should be Y(#(. Then, the yod in the peculiarly misspelled W(Y#W( does not resemble the yod in Joseph [ YWSF ] as written in part 1 which also has a wedge. The shin in W(Y#W( [damned if I can figure out how to trans-literate this abhorrent spelling of Joshua] is wedgeless and does not accord with the first part of the inscription... but then, none of the forms in the second part agree with the script of the first part.

The person who wrote the second part [ )XWW(Y#W( ] may have been literate, but it is doubtful that he was literate in Aramaic or Hebrew. Again, aberrant spelling is dismissed as dialectic. True, there are dialectic variants, but there is always some linguistic logic behind these variants. There is nothing logical about these misspellings. They smell of someone guessing how the words "brother of" and the name "Joshua" would have been spelled a couple, three hundred years earlier. Once again, the writing in this part is internally consistent in its semi-literacy. Part 2 has the characteristics of a later addition by someone attempting to imitate an unfamiliar script and write in an unfamiliar language.

There is yet another tell-tale sign of fraud here. As noted, the text is excised. (Which indicates a wealthy family.) Nobody excises an entire block of stone to raise the text; not even the Yadi stele is entirely excised. In "name" plates or other small inscriptions, if excised rather than incised (cheaper), the normal practice is to excise the text and a frame, which frame itself is excised by incised limits but never beyond them. Only the area within the frame will be excised; the rest of the block will be left alone. Far too much here has been excised from around the names. More to the point, where is the original frame?

Second part of inscription added later
Well, to anybody who knows something about anti-fraud techniques as practiced in antiquity, it is rather obvious. The frame was removed to add the second part of this inscription. The original frame would have been the barest minimum distance from the text and have appeared something like this:

|-------------------|
|Y(KOBBRYWSF |    )XWW(Y#W(
|____________|

If the entire inscription on the ossuary is genuine, then somebody has to explain why there are two hands of clearly different levels of literacy and two different scripts. They also have to explain why the second hand did not know how to write 'brother of' in Aramaic or even spell 'Joshua'. Further, they had better explain where the frame has gone.

The ossuary itself is undoubtedly genuine; the well executed and formal first part of the inscription is a holographic original by a literate (and wealthy) survivor of Jacob Ben Josef in the 1st century CE. The second part of the inscription bears the hallmarks of a fraudulent later addition and is questionable to say the least.
25 posted on 11/06/2002 12:07:34 PM PST by polemikos
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To: meandog
Though some here and elsewhere with a sectarian axe to grind have used this ossuary box inscription as if it definitively disproved certain Catholic teachings about the Blessed Virgin Mary.
See post #11...even if hoax it backs up fact about early Church theology...
Let me get this straight, are you suggesting we should take a liar’s word for what the theology was in ancient times? Look, they had debates back then too. See the Arian heresy, etc. If you accept the premise that someone perpetrated a hoax, you must ask yourself why? Was he just a greedy conman, was he trying to influence theology, what was the goal?

As for me, I will take the witness from honest Christians fathers about what ancient theology was, not from some hoaxer. No way a fraud should form the basis for Christian theology.

patent  +AMDG

26 posted on 11/06/2002 12:11:30 PM PST by patent
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To: Polycarp
The stepbrother hypothesis is also supported by the fact that Joseph apparently was significantly older than Mary, as he appears to have died before our Lord's public ministry began.

Oooooh! One li'l problem.

THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CATHECHISM TEACHES OTHERWISE!!!!!!!!!!!

500. "Against this doctrine the objection is sometimes raised that the Bible mentions brothers and sisters of Jesus.[Cf. Mk 3:31-35 ; Mk 6:3 ; 1 Cor 9:5 ; Gal 1:19 .] The Church has always understood these passages as not referring to other children of the VIRGIN Mary. In fact James and Joseph, 'brothers of Jesus', are the sons of another Mary, a disciple of Christ, whom St. Matthew significantly calls 'the other Mary'.[Mt 13:55 ; Mt 28:1 ; cf. Mt 27:56 .] They are close relations of Jesus, according to an Old Testament expression.[Cf. Gen 13:8 ; Gen 14:16 ; Gen 29:15 ; etc.]"

27 posted on 11/06/2002 12:12:16 PM PST by berned
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To: polemikos
If the entire inscription on the ossuary is genuine, then somebody has to explain why there are two hands of clearly different levels of literacy and two different scripts.

Umm, ok.

See post # 20!!

28 posted on 11/06/2002 12:14:25 PM PST by berned
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To: berned
The Jews are run out of Israel in 70AD. As the years go by, and the ossuaries begin to pile up, and there are more ossuaries with "Joseph & James" (very common names) the Jews realize that if they are to diferentiate THIS box from the others as belonging to "James the Brother of Jesus" -- they need to FURTHER LABEL it so they can know WHICH "James son of Joseph" is ALSO "James brother of Christ".

So someone adds the additional identifier.

THAT IS YOUR IDEA OF A "HOAX"?????

Best case scenario for its authenticity. Leaves scores of other questions that aren’t answered by your hypo, but I’ll leave most of them (e.g., why wasn’t this phrase recognized years ago, etc.)

The question I have is this. If you find a couple word description on an ossuary, that couple word description being placed on it by unknown persons, on an unknown date, to be reliable as a source of doctrine, do you also find the writings of the Church fathers in the first couple centuries, writings by men who were known, who were taught by the Apostles themselves, on known dates, said writings known to be authentic, do you also find these writings to be valuable evidence of Christian doctrine and teachings, and valid sources of doctrine?

patent  +AMDG

29 posted on 11/06/2002 12:17:47 PM PST by patent
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To: polemikos
bookmark bump
30 posted on 11/06/2002 12:20:13 PM PST by lepton
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To: patent
do you also find these writings to be valuable evidence of Christian doctrine and teachings, and valid sources of doctrine?

Fair question, patent.

The answer is, it depends on whether what they write is consistent with THE BIBLE. God's Word.

The Bible CLEARLY SAYS that James was "The brother of Jesus". The Ossuary merely CONFIRMS God's Word.

Writings that Mary was "ever-virgin", for example, are OUTSIDE of God's Word.

Different than.

Other than.

Foreign to.

31 posted on 11/06/2002 12:24:56 PM PST by berned
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Comment #32 Removed by Moderator

To: IllegalAliensOUT
Mary is not to be revered as some sort of IDOL. I'm sorry but Catholicism is flawed, a preist cannot and never will be able to forgive me of my sins only through Jesus Christ is that accomplished.

When you've seriously learned Catholic teaching, theology and practices, you'll understand that this statement is nowhere close to reality.
33 posted on 11/06/2002 12:31:49 PM PST by Desdemona
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Comment #34 Removed by Moderator

To: Polycarp
Exactly. I have read this and I think it is a reasonable argument for those who wish to be reasonable.

You will never convince the sceptics of either camp. Some will never admit the possibility of the ossuary being genuine. Some for religious reasons....Judaism, for example, will swallow a cow before it admits to the historicity of Jesus. They will never admit to His resurrection, of course.

Protestants, in general, will never admit to the virginity of Mary. It isn't necessary to require the view that Jesus and James shared Mary as blood-mother. It makes sense the way Protestants read the scripture. But it isn't conclusive.

There is something to be said for the notion that she couldn't morally permit herself to have children by two different fathers while both fathers were still living.
35 posted on 11/06/2002 12:36:02 PM PST by xzins
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To: berned
But, of course, forcefully HACKING letters into the 2000 + year old surface did NO DAMAGE WHATSOEVER!!!!!!!!!

Only a member of the anti-Christian pervert persuasion would make such an ignorant, clueless and mindless statement.

One does not now nor ever "forcefully hack" inscriptions onto cut stone.

Here's 50c... go buy yourself a clue.

36 posted on 11/06/2002 12:36:40 PM PST by Publius6961
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Comment #37 Removed by Moderator

To: Polycarp
I don't want to offend anyone, so let me apologise up front if i do, but I have to say this.

What we have here is a pi%%ing contest that has been going on for centuries.

We know from the bible and other documents that Jesus had a family. We know he had a brother. We know his name. We know he was killed as a heritic by the same idiots that killed his brother.

We know how they buried folks at the time. We know they used these boxes. We know what language they used.(for a short time)

So, the probability that there is/was a box is not in dispute. So, what's the beef?

Catholics won't accept the thinking that a brother of Jesus was basically their first Bishop. Jews don't want any proof that they were connected to Christianity and they fight like cats and dogs.

Who the hell cares. This is a antiquity and should be treated as such by proper non biased schollars. (A impossibility)

They will be talking this trash for a thousand years and nobody can stop it, nor should any rational person get bent out of shape over it.

I sure won't!

38 posted on 11/06/2002 12:44:10 PM PST by Cold Heat
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To: Polycarp
The stepbrother hypothesis is, in fact, the earliest one on record. It is endorsed by a document known as the Protoevangelium of James, which dates to the year 120, within sixty years of James' death (James died in A.D. 62). According to the Protoevangelium, Joseph was an elderly widower at the time he was betrothed to Mary. He already had a family and thus was willing to become the guardian of a virgin consecrated to God. The stepbrother hypothesis was the most common explanation of the brethren of the Lord until St. Jerome popularized the cousin hypothesis just before the year 400.

This is fascinating. So the "earliest church writings on the subject DIFFER FROM what the Roman Catholic Chatechism NOW TEACHES on the subject.

See post # 27

So much of the "traditions of the earliest church writers".

39 posted on 11/06/2002 12:45:47 PM PST by berned
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To: Polycarp
It was only recently, in the mid 1800's, that protestants began denying this continuous belief of Christianity. So contrary to the thinking that the RCC "attached itself to a new doctrine... ...the Truth is that protestantism detached itself from the continuous teachings of Christianity regarding Mary, only about a century ago.

Please review your Jerusalem Bible and the Apocrypha--these are the only canonical books accepted by the Church of Rome.

40 posted on 11/06/2002 12:54:10 PM PST by meandog
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To: Polycarp
It was only recently, in the mid 1800's, that protestants began denying this continuous belief of Christianity. So contrary to the thinking that the RCC "attached itself to a new doctrine... ...the Truth is that protestantism detached itself from the continuous teachings of Christianity regarding Mary, only about a century ago.

Please review your Jerusalem Bible and the Apocrypha--these are the only canonical books accepted by the Church of Rome.

41 posted on 11/06/2002 12:54:44 PM PST by meandog
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To: berned
Notice that the limestone is so ancient, so brittle, and so fragile, that merely moving it causes it to nearly disintegrate.

But, of course, forcefully HACKING letters into the 2000 + year old surface did NO DAMAGE WHATSOEVER!!!!!!!!!

"Altman believes that the second half was actually written in the 3rd or 4th century ..."

42 posted on 11/06/2002 1:04:42 PM PST by al_c
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To: wirestripper
What we have here is a pi%%ing contest that has been going on for centuries.

Um, my understanding is this is a relatively new "pi%%ing contest", maybe only 150 years old or so. Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli all held the same view as the church. The controversy wrought by the new position smells like a "tradition of man". ;-)
43 posted on 11/06/2002 1:05:23 PM PST by polemikos
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To: IllegalAliensOUT
"‘As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.’ And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained’" (John 20:21–23)

Guess He was kidding.

44 posted on 11/06/2002 1:11:06 PM PST by american colleen
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To: berned
THAT IS YOUR IDEA OF A "HOAX"?????

At least one expert claimed that, statistically, there were approximately 20 James-Joseph (son-father) combinations in the population at the time. Personally, I can accept the possibility that this is still the ossuary of The James in question, because I think there are a number of arguments that increase the odds above the statistical 5% possibility.

I'm inclined to lean towards a scenario that the box fell into the hands of the Christian community after 70 A.D. because (a) the added inscription is apparently by a non-native speaker (while I would think that the relatives of James would still have their Aramaic language skills), (b) the added inscription would have been important to the Christians (but not necessarily to the relatives), and (c) the Christians had a history of preserving the remains of early church figures (while Israelites on the run could easily have chosen to leave bone boxes behind). Still, one can imagine all sorts of possibilities and ownership changes.

Still, I think comments about this not necessarily being a "fraud" per se are well taken. I don't know the religious beliefs of the "expert" evaluators, but it is possible that those outside of Christianity have an anti-Jesus agenda. Fraud in the "interpretation" of facts might exist, but probably can't be proven.

In the end, actual or not, the authenticity of the box can't be proven one way or the other. So I suspect that everyone will fall back on their existing belief systems.
45 posted on 11/06/2002 1:18:09 PM PST by polemikos
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To: polemikos
Your take is reasonable and well thought out.
46 posted on 11/06/2002 1:37:32 PM PST by berned
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To: Polycarp; kjam22
Typical. Guess you forgot about the Shroud of Turin tho....

Does Jesus have long hair on the Shroud of Turin?

1Cor.11
[14] Does not nature itself teach you that for a man to wear long hair is degrading to him,

Tch tch. Could Paul speak of Jesus this way?

47 posted on 11/06/2002 1:41:01 PM PST by OLD REGGIE
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To: Polycarp
I must say that this is more than I was expecting. I expected either the whole inscription to be a fraud, or the "son of Joseph, brother of Jesus" part to be a fraud. But now we have substantial archaeological evidence that somebody named Joseph had a son named Jakob somewhere between 20 BC - 70 AD, give or take. Remarkable!
48 posted on 11/06/2002 1:44:23 PM PST by Dajjal
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To: meandog
This is not necessarily to you MeanDog, but for the group in general.

I find this to be one of the more amusing strings going on as of yet. This seems to be a pi$$ing match between skunks, although I do find one particular woman to be rather learned in what she is referring to. Bottom line seems to be "who gives a rat's butt?".

If there is one subject more controversial than politics, it certainly has to be religion. Strangely enough, religious beliefs are about the only things that cannot be either proven or disproven in any logical manner. Faith is simply belief in something that cannot be proven - that does not mean by default it can be disproven. People have taken great umbrage at this post, obviously, and have absolutely exhausted themselves in attempting to defend their opinions (which are not actually their own, rather the dogmatic decrees of whatever particular denomination they belong to - of which sadly so few understand the reasons and origins of such).

I consider myself a Christian (well, I am trying to be one everyday - somedays I fall short of my goal), but all of this stupid bickering is mere folly. I could care less if Mary remained a virgin, was even a virgin or whatever. I could care less if Jesus had cousins, brothers, pesky in-laws, and whatever else. So what? Does any of this amount to any bit of a difference in the incontrovertable fact that this is the single most influential man to ever walk the earth? I don't care if he got here via the cabbage patch or a wild nite on the town. These details will most likely never be conclusively proven, mainly out of sensitive prejudices and obstinance. Even so, they are inconsequential anyway.

Very dear friends of my family are Jewish, and this was uttered by a Jew during a Christmas party at my home - I will never forget it. During the blessing of the meal, a Jewish follower said the following "Thank you, God, for sending Jesus - how awful the world would be without him." That is pretty darned powerful. Christ did not have such an impact on the world because Mary was supposedly a virgin for life, or whether he had biological brothers or not. Christ had such an impact because of the message he brought, and the hope that he gave us. Who cares about hashing out the details of over 2000 years ago? The details of such mean nothing to me, but his message means everything.

Let the historians, theologians, the Vatican, Jerry Falwell and whoever else bicker endlessly over that which makes no difference. I on the other hand, choose to follow the teachings of Christ, in the hope and faith that I will come to know him in this life, live a life as he would be proud of, and spend eterntity with him in the hereafter.

If there ever was a classic case of failing to see the forest through the trees......

Cheers,
WKH
49 posted on 11/06/2002 1:57:14 PM PST by wkhjr
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To: al_c
The unspoken element in this concoction is the role of Shanks. Granted he is a polemical type (e.g., the Dead Sea Scrolls), but why he would go out on such a long limb unless he had the box checked out six ways to Sunday, is inexplicable.
50 posted on 11/06/2002 3:28:09 PM PST by gaspar
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