BAR 28:06, Nov/Dec 2002
The Ultimate Test of Authenticity
To forge the James inscription, a forger would need to be able to imitate Aramaic letter forms of the first century C.E. and also to avoid any errors in first-century Aramaic usage.
Before publishing the inscription, we showed it to Father Joseph Fitzmyer, formerly of the Catholic University of America and one of the worlds leading experts in first-century Aramaic and a pre-eminent Dead Sea Scroll editor (he edited a number of the Aramaic texts among the scrolls). Father Fitzmyer was troubled by the spelling in the James inscription of the word for brother; it is spelled aleph, het, waw and yod. In Hebrew it is spelled simply aleph het. Only after hundreds of years would the spelling on the James inscription appear in Aramaic, and then it would be plural, not singular.