DNA could tell us about Mary
Weblog had expected U.S. News & World Report to be the weekly newsmagazine with the most extensive coverage of the James ossuary this week. After all, religion reporter Jeffery L. Sheler wrote a book on the topic: Is the Bible True? How Modern Debates and Discovery Affirm the Essence of the Scriptures. But Sheler's article on what Biblical Archaeological Review editor Hershel Shanks calls "the most important find in the history of New Testament archaeology," though providing helpful background on the life of James the Just, doesn't offer anything new.
Neither does Newsweek, which asks whether Jesus' family really believed in him.
Time, meanwhile, not only goes in depth on James's history and the scientific testing of the ossuary, but nabs the journalistic holy grail: an exclusive look at the bone box itself. "I don't want my apartment turned into a church," the owner told magazine reporters Matt Rees and Matthew Kalman. The magazine complied with the owner's request that his name and location not be given, but added, "His hope to avoid being overwhelmed by pilgrims seems a bit forlorn, however, especially when a reporter notes that the soil at the bottom of the now famous ossuary is littered with bone chips."
That's right. There are bone chips in James's ossuary.
The magazine makes you wait until the end of the story to dish the dirt, but here's the deal:
The bone fragments lie in the dirt at the bottom of the box like the dots and dashes of some infuriating code. They were there, says the owner, when he bought it. Whoever sold it to his dealer would have removed anything larger, since Israeli collectors and looters alike know that the rabbinical authorities are sensitive about human remains. What ...1
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