There was a tomb found in a Jerusalem suburb in 1945 and inside it there were ossuaries or jars of bones and on two of them the name of Jesus appears. The first has Jesus help in Greek. The second has Jesus let him arise in Aramaic. The tomb was believed to have been closed in 50 AD.
Dishonest Christians like Michael Green (Runaway World, page 26) take this to be proof of the historicity of Jesus and others go as far as to take the Jesus let him arise to evince first century awareness that Jesus himself had risen and so was able to raise the dead. But these references prove nothing like that. You can pray to an imaginary god and ask him to raise people up. The pagans did that all the time. And one would wonder why only two jars were written on when there were several in the tomb. If only two jars contained Christian bones it is impossible to believe that the relatives who would have been Jewish would have agreed with such inscriptions which were religiously offensive to most Jews. It was a Jewish tomb. And the inscriptions appearing on two jars and not them all seems to be sectarian and offensive. And why one in Greek and the other in Aramaic? And why different prayers? It would have been more natural for the prayer for resurrection to appear on both. And why pray to Jesus to make the person arise as if he wasn’t going to do it anyway? The prayer hints that Jesus did NOT rise again for he never proved that he could raise people up or would do it. But nevertheless the problems suggest to me that some pair wrote the inscriptions long after 50 AD particularly when they are just crude scratches. They were scribbled in a hurry and whoever did it made no effort to do it right.

The Catholic newspaper, The Universe (October 27, 2002, page 3), discusses the find of an ossuary made of limestone which contained an Aramaic inscription running, James, Son of Joseph, Brother of Jesus”. The ossuary was found by a French archaeologist from a collector who bought it from a man who said he stole it from a cave in Jerusalem. Some scholars believe that the find is genuine. Andre Lemaire thinks the inscription refers to Jesus Christ. He dates the box to 63 AD.
Many scholars of the highest calibre think he was being hasty. The paper admits that if this inscription is genuine it is the only physical artefact related to the existence of Jesus that has ever been found. Lemaire thinks that because the brother being mentioned is very unusual this Jesus must have been someone unique, someone famous like Jesus Christ. The writing style seems to indicate a first century origin. There are plenty of college educated people who could have inscribed on the ossuary. The origins of the ossuary are obscure and there are no bones inside it which does not bode well for the authenticity of the inscription. And if it is real, there were plenty of Jameses who had fathers called Joseph and who had brothers called Jesus. And as for the reference to a brother called Jesus, if there was another James in the same tomb who was the son of another Joseph the first James would have to have his brother mentioned to avert confusion. The most plausible answer for the problem of why the brother Jesus was mentioned was because Jesus was the owner of the tomb. Most experts prefer this idea. If so, then the Jesus was not Jesus Christ who had to be buried in a borrowed tomb. It is a fact that brother of Jesus could have been added to the box for the handwriting of the inscription indicates the possibility that two men put the inscription on. And there was no way James who was so loved by the Jews would have had Jesus mentioned on his ossuary. The Jews did not like Jesus and wanted heretics like him to be forgotten.

The Catholic Church opposes the discovery’s authenticity fearing it undermines the Catholic claim that Mary was always a virgin and that Jesus was her only child.
The ossuary when its inscription is so bizarre could be evidence that there was no Jesus for somebody could have scribbled on it in the first century to provide some.
Ossuaries often have no names on them. There was no need to for nobody needed the names on a box that was never going to leave a tomb. All that mattered was knowing which family the tomb belonged to. That is why inscriptions are very often very suspect. Joseph as spelt on the ossuary is an error. The ossuary of Caiaphas uses a different spelling. Part of the James inscription is illegible which is odd for this illegibility starts in mid-sentence as if there was some inept tampering person at work. The ossuary even uses Yeshuwa for Jesus which is a bit unusual and there is no evidence that this name was ever used for this person, Jesus Christ.

How convenient that the bones are not available for DNA comparison with the Turin Shroud too! If James and Jesus were related we could soon prove that if the Shroud and the bones are authentic. Many scholars particularly in Israel are adamant that the second part of the inscription is a forgery for it is so poor and different from the rest that it must have been the work of another carver perhaps from the third century. Rochelle I Altman and the palaeographer Ada Yardeni have declared the second part to be a poor amateurish fake. If it is from the third century then we must ask why somebody then had to do such a seemingly bizarre thing. Was it to provide evidence for Jesus that was lacking meaning there were scholars then who were saying there was no reason to regard Jesus as a real historical person? It cannot be doubted that the early Christians were demons when it came to scribbling graffiti so even if there was no evidence for the inscription being unreal it could still be the case that it is just another bizarre example of Christian scribbling. Christians always were eager to produce fake relics of revered saints.

On June 18th, 2003, the news came from Jerusalem that Israeli Officials stated that the James inscription and a few others were inauthentic. The reference to brother of Jesus was recognised as a later addition for it was not inscribed at the same time as the first bit. The owner of the James ossuary tried to sell it and the investigations were the result of police interest as well. The Israeli Officials are definite that the reference to Jesus was added to the inscription in modern times. It was found suspicious that the ossuary appeared in a year in which there was a spate of interest and books about James.
Some have been saying that the inscription on the ossuary being of recent origin does not mean it is inauthentic because somebody might have re-written it to make it clearer! Desperation is a terrible scourge.


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Who is GA Wells? Rev Dr Gregory S. Neal

The Silent Jesus

Apollonius the Nazarene, The Historical Apollonius versus the Historical Jesus

Why Did the Apostles Die? Dave Matson,
The “Historical” Jesus by Acharya S

How Did the Apostles Die?

History’s Troubling Silence About Jesus, Lee Salisbury

Steven Carr discusses the Christian and apostolic martyrs

Challenging the Verdict
A Cross-Examination of Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ

The Martyrdoms of Peter and Paul, Peter Kirby

The Martyrdoms: A Response, Peter Kirby

A Sacrifice in Heaven,

The Evolution of Jesus of Nazareth

The Jesus of History, a Reply to Josh McDowell by Gordon Stein

Josh McDowell’s Evidence for Jesus – Is It Reliable?, by Jeffrey J Lowder

A Reply to JP Holding’s “Shattering” of My Views on Jesus

Robert M Price, Christ a Fiction

Earliest Christianity G A Wells

The Second Century Apologists

Existence of Jesus Controversy, Rae West

Why I Don’t Buy the Resurrection Story by Richard Carrier

Jesus Conference,
Jesus Conference,
The Testament of Levi Concerning the Priesthood and Arrogance

Sherlock Holmes Style Search for the Historical Jesus
The Ascension of Isaiah

Apollonius of Tyana: The Monkey of Christ? The Church Patriarchs, Robertino Solarion

What About the Discovery of Q? Brad Bromling
Wells without Water, Psychological Buffoonry from the Master of the Christ-Myth, James Patrick Holding

Critique: Scott Bidstrp [sic] on The Case for Christ by James Patrick Holding

GA Wells Replies to Criticism of his Books on Jesus

The Ossuary Scam: A Critical Analysis of the “James” Ossuary

The Origins of Christianity and the Quest for the Historical Jesus, Acharya S

The Amplified Bible
The King James Version

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