Brother of Jesus Ossuary Proven Authentic!
Many readers are, no doubt, aware of the prolonged controversy in an Israeli courtroom about whether a now-famous ossuary from the 1st century was the actual ossuary box for the bones of James, the brother of Jesus Christ himself. In the recently-released July-August issue of Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR), there is an article entitled “Brother of Jesus Inscription is authentic!”
The trial verdict in this case confirmed that the inscription on the ossuary box is authentic and the article further asserts that the inscription dates to the time period of 6-70 AD, lending further support to the belief that this is the burial box of the bones of James the Apostle. Herschel Shanks, the Editor of BAR, states frankly: “There is no reason to doubt the authenticity of the inscription on the James Ossuary…” Two of the most prominent paleography experts in the world also agree. The article does a thorough job of debunking the objections of those who tried to assert the inscription includes forged letters and the motives behind their actions, so I will let you examine that information in the article for yourself (link).
The article also examines the issue of whether the “James, the son of Joseph, the brother of Jesus” inscription on the ossuary box designates the very Apostle James of the Bible or whether it was someone else who coincidentally had all the same names and relationships in their own family. This issue has to be considered. A mathematical probability examination of this matter concluded that “with a confidence level of 95%, we can expect there to be 1.71 individuals in the relevant population named James with a father named Joseph and a brother Jesus.” That means there is a very good statistical chance that the ossuary box is, indeed, that of James the Apostle. The article also notes that it was very atypical for ossuary inscriptions of the time to include the name of a deceased brother unless the brother had “importance and fame.” This very much supports the case that this is the very ossuary box of James the Apostle as his brother, Jesus Christ, was the most famous “Jesus” of that time in Jerusalem and Judea.
A further point supports this conclusion. The article notes that the family of the occupant of the ossuary box had to be “fairly well-off to afford an ossuary (and a burial cave in which it would be placed).” As I note in my book, biblical evidence indicates that Jesus (and his family) were well-to-do, and that Jesus was not a poor carpenter at all. His uncle, Joseph of Arimathea, was a “rich man” (Matthew 27:57) who could purchase in advance a burial cave for a tomb (Matthew 27:60). Joseph of Arimathea was very prominent in Judean and Roman society of that time, as my books document, and the fact that he was granted instant access to Pilate himself at a very troubled and politically-charged time confirms his status (Matthew 27:57-58). Joseph of Arimathea’s money would very likely have been used to bury not only Jesus Christ, but James the Apostle in a expensive and honorable manner, as Joseph of Arimathea was a “rich uncle” to James as well as Jesus. Since the Bible clearly shows Joseph of Arimathea was closely involved with and funded the burial of Jesus’ body, it is logical to assume he took the same role in burying and funding the remains of James. However, Jesus himself was wealthy as he traveled for three and one-half years in a large band of either “the 70″ or “the 12″ which did not work at jobs and had no visible means of support the entire time. Indeed, they had so much money in their band that they periodically gave gifts to the poor (John 13:29) and Judas the Treasurer thought his embezzlements wouldn’t even be noticed (John 12:6). Jesus Christ would have been made very wealthy himself by the costly gifts of “gold, frankincense and myrrh” given to him by the Parthian “Wise Men” or “Magi” who gave him kingly gifts when Jesus was a small child (Matthew 2:1-12). I devote considerable time in my books to an examination of the visit of the Parthian Magi/Wise Men to the child Jesus as the Parthians were Senators and Priests of the vast Parthian Empire, an empire ruled by the ten tribes of Israel who had become ascendant over all the nations that had taken them into exile (fulfilling an explicit prophecy in Isaiah 14:2 that this would happen). The Bible does not limit their number to three, and it is my belief that they numbered either ten or twelve dignitaries (one for each of the ten tribes of Israel or all the tribes of Israel).
There are some who try and deny Jesus Christ ever lived, but I debunk that idea in my book as I cite specific references from the official annals of Rome as well as an account of Josephus that Jesus Christ both lived and performed miracles. The emergence of the ossuary box of James the Apostle, mentioning his famous brother, Jesus, is further evidence that Jesus Christ both lived and had the prominent life attributed to him in the Bible. I hope this boosts your faith!
I urge you to read the entire article in the link as I think you will find it most interesting.
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