Biblical Archaeology Review 35:6, November/December 2009

Strata: Lemaire and Yardeni Were Suspected of Forgery

Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) director Shuka Dorfman testified in “the forgery trial of the century,” now in its fifth year in a Jerusalem court, that both André Lemaire, a world-renowned paleographer who teaches at the Sorbonne, and Ada Yardeni, one of Israel’s leading experts in Semitic script, had been under suspicion by the IAA as being members of an international forgery conspiracy.

Dorfman’s testimony was given on September 8, 2009, and reported in The Jerusalem Post by Matthew Kalman, the only journalist regularly attending the trial.

The basis for the suspicion attaching to Lemaire was apparently that he published the first announcement of the now-famous James Ossuary inscription in an article in BAR.a Yardeni was suspected of being part of the forgery conspiracy because she judged the inscription on the ossuary, or bone box, referring to James as the “brother of Jesus,” to be authentic.

The prosecution had refused to call Dorfman as a witness, so the judge permitted the defense to call and cross-examine him.

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