Biblical Archaeology Review 34:5, September/October 2008

Strata: The Jerusalem Forgery Trial by the Numbers

Here are some statistics in the ongoing forgery trial in Jerusalem charging that the ossuary (bone box) inscription reading “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus,” as well as many other items, are forgeries. The prosecution has recently rested its case; it is now the defendants’ turn to present their evidence:

• Date indictment filed: December 29, 2004.

• Number of original defendants: 5.

• Number of remaining defendants: 2. Two defendants were dismissed from the case with the prosecution’s agreement. A third defendant pleaded guilty to an unrelated minor offense and was sentenced to prison for four months, suspended.

• Number of prosecution witnesses: 74.

• Number of pages of trial transcript: more than 4,600.

• Number of prosecution exhibits: more than 200.

• Smoking guns: 0.

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