Guest / Limited Access /

Israel's Antiquities Authority begins investigation of James ossuary, wants Joash tablet
A first-century limestone box that may have held the bones of James, the brother of Jesus and leader of the early church, is back in Israel after its display at the Royal Ontario Museum. The Antiquities Authority has created two separate commissions of archaeologists, geologists, and language experts to study the ossuary, the Associated Press reported yesterday. It's trying to authenticate the box and its inscription. Many scholars already accept their legitimacy, though there is some question about whether the inscription "James, the Brother of Jesus" must refer to the biblical men.

There's still plenty of mystery surrounding the James ossuary—questions of where it was found, for example, may forever remain unclear—but a bigger biblical archaeology tempest is swirling around the Joash inscription, which describes repairs to the First Temple in language very similar to 2 Kings 12.

The Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz reports that the inscription is "stirring controversy and suspicion among archaeologists, historians, religious and state authorities, and even the police."

Biblical Archaeology Review says the inscription is big news, whether it's real or fake:

If authentic, it may provide evidence for Israel's claim to the Temple Mount. If a forgery, some Israeli may be trying to manufacture evidence of Israel's claim to the Temple Mount. Or some Palestinian may be trying to plant an obvious forgery in order to undermine supposed evidence of Israel's claim to the Temple Mount. If authentic, it would support the historicity of the Book of Kings. If authentic, it might even show that the First Temple—Solomon's Temple—was decorated with gold. If authentic, ...
Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueLara Casey
Lara Casey
The Southern Weddings editor-in-chief slows things down and pushes “purpose over perfection.”
RecommendedLamentations: A Bottle for the Tears of the World
Lamentations: A Bottle for the Tears of the World
Christopher J. H. Wright explains what one of the Bible's most neglected books teaches about our cries of grief.
TrendingDied: Tim LaHaye, Author Who 'Left Behind' a Long Legacy
Died: Tim LaHaye, Author Who 'Left Behind' a Long Legacy
Jerry B. Jenkins: 'Thrilled as I am that he is where he has always wanted to be, his departure leaves a void in my soul.'
Editor's PickIs There a Better Way to Fight 'Political Correctness'?
Is There a Better Way to Fight 'Political Correctness'?
When language is a tool for coercion, nobody wins.
Christianity Today
"Weblog: Israel Inspects James Ossuary, But Joash Tablet Has ...
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

March 2003

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.