Of Ossuaries and Toilets

When the James ossuary was found I initially commented that I thought it looked like a forgery. This was a rather bold statement on my part, probably excessively so. I’m not a paleographer, and I only had a newspaper photograph to work from. Nonetheless, there was enough that I could see that I seriously questioned the item, and I do read both Aramaic and Hebrew, which makes me a little more qualified than the average bear, though not by much. Unfortunately this was in preblogging days, and I don’t have a copy of my remarks from that time, made in the Compuserve Religion Form under its old software.

Whether I was right for adequate or not at the time, nothing that has occurred since has served to convince me that I was wrong, and a number of things have been written to convince me that I was right. Now 60 minutes has a segment on the collector who brought this ossuary to light and other forgeries in which he has participated. There is no absolute proof that this particular ossuary is a forgery, but combining its own problems with a provenance of “a forger’s house,” it would seem questionable at best to give it any credence.

A hat tip goes to Jim West for leading me to the 60 minutes article indirectly, but then I also want to link to his picture of the ossuary in situ for your viewing pleasure!

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