BAR 37:01, Jan/Feb 2011
Forgery Trial Now in Hands of Judge
Closing arguments in the Jerusalem trial to determine whether or not the James Ossuary, the Yehoash tablet and other ancient artifacts were forged by two defendants finally wrapped up in October. After five years of proceedings, all that remains is for trial judge Aharon Farkash to pore through the evidence and deliver his verdict.
According to journalist Matthew Kalman in the Jerusalem Post, the judge’s final deliberation could still take months. During the trial’s 116 sessions, more than 130 witnesses were called to the stand, producing nearly 12,000 pages of testimony for Farkash to work through.
The judge will be deciding whether the case’s two remaining defendants, Tel Aviv collector Oded Golan and antiquities dealer and scholar Robert Deutsch, are guilty of creating and selling forged antiquities, most notably the now-famous first-century C.E. bone box (or ossuary) inscribed “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus,” and the Yehoash tablet, which, if authentic, would be the first royal inscription of an Israelite king ever found.