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The much debated James Ossuary, with an inscription reading “”James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus,” has still not been conclusively ruled a fake. Although no one doubts that it dates to the time of James and Jesus, there has been some question whether or not the inscription was a forgery. However, after having been ruled a fake early on by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), many experts afterward questioned this finding and believed it to be authentic.

A couple of articles at the Biblical Archaeology Society website question the earlier findings.

For example, in an article excerpted from Theology Today 52:4, entitled “The James Ossuary and Its Implications,” J.A. Fitzmeyer reminds the reader that…

(a) The ossuary had been examined by scientists of the Geological Survey of Israel and also by expert curators at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto; neither of these teams concluded that the ossuary or its inscription was fake. In fact, the scientists of GSI went out of their way to stress that “the patina does not contain any modern elements (such as modern pigments) and it adheres firmly to the surface. No signs of the use of a modern tool or instrument was [sic] found.” (b) The reaction of the IAA is simply the same as the attitude of most archaeologists about artifacts obtained from antiquities-dealers, as already mentioned. Only now, it has become a matter of politicized archaeology, advocated by the highest authority on antiquities in the State of Israel.

In addition, Edward J. Keall, in an article entitled “New Tests Bolster Case for Authenticity,” concludes that…

The studies we [at the Royal Ontario Museum] conducted have convinced us that the ossuary and its inscription are genuinely ancient and not a modern forgery. This conclusion, of course, is consistent with the findings of leading Semitic paleographers and Aramaic linguists, as well as the Geological Survey of Israel, and contradicts those who assert that the inscription must be a forgery simply because it is “too good to be true” or because it surfaced on the antiquities market rather than having been found in a professional archaeological excavation.

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