BAR 30:03, May/Jun 2004
Rumor, Gossip and Misinformation Swirl around the James Ossuary Inscription
Intense scholarly disagreements are common in archaeology. Cases of deliberate lying, however, are rare. Is this such a case? If so, what is the motive? When I returned from the Annual Meetingsa in Atlanta last November, I penned my customary report for publication in the March/April issue.b (I have been doing this in the March/ April issue for 22 years.)
For this years report, I described a conversation with two scholars who told me that they had seen the controversial James ossuary, now inscribed James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus, in the shop of a Jerusalem antiquities dealer named Mahmoud in the mid-1990s or earlier. But when they saw it, on separate occasions, it bore only the inscription James, son of Joseph. No reference to Jesus!