Home (Netzarim Logo)

Burning Issues: Ya·aqov Ossuary

Yaaqov Bar Yoseiph Ossuary

    Timeline Hi-lites

    (See also Detailed Background)

    Go to Conundrums

  1. 1980.03.28 – Talpiot Tomb Unearthed During Construction. The tomb was found to contain approximately 1 meter of terra rosa soil collected, indicating that the tomb had been exposed to the elements, presumably including weather and plant growth, at some time in antiquity and for an unknown length of time.

    Along with nine other ossuaries, ossuary Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) 80-509 was taken from Talpiot Tomb to the IAA warehouse.

    According to the recent statement by the widow of the late supervising archeologist of the site in 1980, Yoseiph Gat, he immediately recognized that the Talpiot Tombs were, arguably, the tomb of the family of Ribi Yәhoshua. The Yaaqov Ossuary inscription made it a slam dunk. Being a Holocaust survivor and fearing a Christian backlash against Jews for exposing this evidence, it appears that Gat chose not to see the inscription, noting only that the ossuary was undecorated ("plain") and broken. Subsequently, anthropologist Joe Zias (and archeologist Amos Kloner, may not have examined the ossuary. His only notes, like Kloner's later notes (why, if he wasn't involved?), only echo Gat's notes – verbatim. Zias' and Kloner's antagonistic and bellicose, contra-scientific pronouncements (e.g. Impossible!) only add to the wonder why they are so willing to clearly go limitlessly beyond the bounds of science to attack Prof. Tabor and Simcha Jacobovici. If Prof. Tabor and Simcha Jacobovici are wrong then, perhaps, the Talpiot Tomb is not likely that of the family of Ribi Yәhoshua and the Yaaqov ossuary, IAA 80-509, isn't that of the famous Ya·aqov ha-Tzadiq. But to exclaim "Impossible!" That's ludicrously unscientific, it's unscholarly and it's stupid. It's highly likely. The only question is how highly – and that can probably never be answered satisfactorily.

    If the inscription was noticed by Joe Zias, who (rather than archeologist Amos Kloner, why?) catalogued the ossuary (or the inscription notice by anyone else working for IAA), it would surely have represented a powerful temptation, seeing it's existence was being concealed, and an opportunity for personal enrichment. In Zias' own words "I put the 10th one [IAA 80-509] out in the courtyard" – at which point Ossuary IAA 80-509 disappeared.

    Further, also in Zias' own words, "In the intervening years, the elements, despite several attempts by myself to find inks which were weather resistant, took their toll on the provenance of the ossuaries and the numbers disappeared." What a convenient alibi.

    The curator and anthropologist, Joe Zias, ultimately responsible for the loss of the ossuary, noticed no inscription or decoration and, presumably with similar care, Kloner – the last person to see and handle the ossuary – originally noted (solely from Gat's notes?) that the ossuary was 60x26x30 cm. Little wonder this duo who, along with Yoseiph Gat who, his wife has announced, suppressed the evidence, are responsible for the ossuary being gone, so zealously declares, with contra-scientific absoluteness, that this ossuary was never missing and, therefore, cannot possibly be the 10th ossuary from the Talpiot tomb. Andre Lemaire measured it as 50.5-56x25x30.5cm. "The IAA recently re-measured the J*ames ossuary and its dimensions are 57.5 x 26 x 30" (Prof. James Tabor). The hasty and cursory handling, combined with Gat's desire to bury the evidence, entirely accounts for the 2.5 cm apparent difference in length before and after cleaning in addition to the reported original encrustation build-up.

  2. 1981 – Gat publishes initial report in Hebrew, in Israel Antiquities Authority's (IAA) periodical, Khadashot Arkhiologiot (1981: 24-25).

  3. 1994 – Leiwi Yitzkhâq Rakhmani published his Catalogue of Jewish Ossuaries in the Collections of the State of Israel (1994). Ossuary IAA 80-509 was already missing by this time.

  4. 2002 – French scholar, Andr&#eacute; Lemaire, stumbled across Yaaqov Ossuary in Golan's storage shed … and within a year the subject of a police investigation.

  5. 2003.06.09-18 – Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA, Goren, et al.) published report concluding that the Yaaqov Ossuary and first part of inscription authentic but second part of inscription is a modern forgery, based on their analysis of the patina.

  6. 2005.05.25 – Richards Forensics Services receives photographs Oded Golan claims prove, based on being printed on "Kodak Polycontrast rapid RC paper, exp 3/76 F|mw" paper, that the Yaaqov Ossuary, with inscription, was in his possession prior to the Israeli law

  7. 2005.07.13 – forgery "findings" of IAA (Goren, et al.) demolished by unassailable scholar Prof. Dr. Dr. hc. mult. Wolfgang E. Krumbein, Geomicrobiology Group, ICBM Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg, Germany, who testified that the Yaaqov Ossuary spent approximately two centuries partially buried, exposed to the elements and plant growth. Joe Zias and Amos Kloner argue, without basis, that this makes it "impossible" that the missing IAA 80-509 is the Yaaqov Ossuary. Exactly to the contrary, not only does the electron microscopic patina matching to the other ossuaries in the Talpiot Tomb prove the Yaaqov Ossuary is from the Talpiot Tomb, the evidence of the tomb being exposed to the elements in antiquity is corroborative, not contradictory, evidence that the Yaaqov Ossuary is, indeed, the "missing" IAA 80-509!!!

    Dr. Krumbein also proved that the red coloring was added and the alleged "forged patina" found by Goren, et al. was removed (and perhaps the rosettes added) while in the custody of the IAA or police!!! Thus, these "decorations" are no reliable contradiction Gat's original description of "plain." Exactly to the contrary, Gat's description of broken – presumably – describes the Yaaqov Ossuary and, if the inscription was not noticed or ignored, the ossuary would have been "plain."

  8. 2005.09? – trial of Oded Golan begins

  9. 2007 – Electron microscope patina-fingerprinting confirmed that the 10th ossuary catalogued from the Talpiot Tomb complex as plain and broken by Levi Yitzkhaq Rakhmani, of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), was that of Ya·aqov Bar-Yoseiph.

  10. 2007.01.16-17 – Biblical Archeology Society convenes a Forgery Conference of leading scholars in various disciplines to form a consensus well summarized by paleographer Ada Yardeni: "I am sure that it is no fake, unless Oded [Golan] comes and tells me he did it. So he's a genius. But I don't believe it." A forger would have had to be superior to the world's best experts in nearly a dozen technical specialities. That is what isn't possible!

  11. 2007.02 – Seeking to prove that Oded Golan purchased the Yaaqov Ossuary from Silwan Arab Faiz El-Amlah before the 1978 Israeli Law that would enable the State of Israel to take possession of the ossuary from him, defense produces photographs printed on "Kodak Polycontrast rapid RC paper, exp 3/76 F|mw" paper showing Yaaqov Ossuary with a couple of older books, an album and a picture of an old girlfriend on shelf.

  12. 2007.10.19 Update on Authentic vs Forgery Controversy: Fitzmyer and the Biblical Archeology Society Conference on Forgery. See also Analysis.

  13. 2008.02 – most recent reports on progress of the trial of Oded Golan (and Robert Deutsch): prosecution expected to wind up its case "in a few more weeks." IAA has disproven their own case, demonstrating that all evidence indicates that the Yaaqov Ossuary and its entire inscription is authentic, with no contradictory evidence that withstands scrutiny. Charges against Oded Golan and Robert Deutsch are expected to be dismissed. If there are scholars involved in a conspiracy, and I suspect there may be, then the evidence points not to Robert Deutsch, nor even Yose,iph Gat who merely chose to ignore and "pass the buck" with the evidence; but to Joe Zias, perhaps in collaboration with Amos Kloner.

  14. 2008.03.06 – Yirmeyahu Ben-David finds "Kodak Photographic Paper F|mw Polycontrast rapid RE exp 3/76" (what a "coincidence" that the only old film offered is '76, and exactly that spec Roll eyes; update 2017.09.07: pg gone, 404, somebody bought & destroyed remaining film and managed to get page deleted) offered on internet at least until 2006.06.21. Oded Golan's "proof" of possessing the Yaaqov Ossuary 2 years before the 1978 Israeli Law (requiring that anything illegally excavated after that date belongs to the State) evaporates – along with "proof" that the Ya•a•qov Ossuary isn't IAA 80-509!!! Thus, there is NO evidence that the Ya•a•qov ossuary wasn't the now missing 10th ossuary, IAA 80-509, in the Talpiot Tomb along with the other 9, when the tombs were first discovered in 1980!!!

Rainbow Rule


  1. Oded Golan pre-1978 claim
  2. Ossuary exposed to elements for two centuries
  3. Ossuary broken
  1. Faint rosette vs "plain"
  2. Zias e-rant / Tabor: No photo
  3. Koppel (denials or retractions)
  1. Nearby-buried baby corroboration
  2. Jerusalem Forgery Conference
  3. JFC Appendix

Rainbow Rule
Oded Golan's Pre-1978 Claim

Note: while Oded Golan testified concerning his purchase of this ossuary that "I know it would be before 1978" – rather than 1980 when the tomb was discovered – this is because 1978 is the applicable date of an Israeli law that says that anything illegally excavated after that date belongs to the State, There's no Fifth Amendment in Israel. To refuse to testify would have meant jail; to testify otherwise would have incriminated himself.

As proof he possessed the ossuary before Israeli law could take it from him, Mr. Golan offered a photo he claims was taken in 1976 of the ossuary, showing the inscription (how coincidentally fortunate!). According to the Forensic Report in the Biblical Archaeology Society's "Jerusalem Forgery Conference Appendix," the photo was printed on "Kodak Polycontrast rapid RC paper, exp 3/76 F|mw." The major scholars have concluded that no one, certainly not Mr. Golan, is genius enough in all of the necessary technical specialties to have forged the Ya·aqov ossuary.

Faking aging of a photo printed on old photo paper, by contrast, is nothing special. Mr. Golan's proof consists of 2 photos printed on old (3/76) photo paper of the ossuary beneath a shelf containing an old National Geographic, a book (far right) with 1974 on its spine, an old book from a library, an old Elton John album and a photo of an old girlfriend. Few would find this terribly difficult to stage. As recently as 2006.06.21, I've been able to find very similar old photo paper, "Kodak Photographic Paper F|mw Polycontrast rapid RE exp 3/76," advertised on the web.!!!

Rainbow Rule
Ossuary IAA 80-509 Exposed to Elements For 2 Centuries

There is, however, a bigger problem: according to the world's most renowned petrologist , Prof. Dr. Dr. hc. mult. Wolfgang E. Krumbein, Geomicrobiology Group, ICBM Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg, Germany, the Ya·aqov ossuary had been exposed to elements for 1-2 centuries. Quite the opposite of contradicting IAA 80-509 as the Ya·aqov Ossuary, however, this corroborates IAA 80-509 as the Ya·aqov Ossuary!!!

Rainbow Rule
Ossuary IAA 80-509 Broken

Note, in both the facade and rear views, that the Ya·aqov ossuary is broken – exactly as the "lost" 10th ossuary, IAA 80-509, described by Rakhmani.

Rainbow Rule
Faint Rosette vs. IAA 80-509 "Plain"

Note, also, the barely visible circular pattern on the facade right side, which seems only partially-finished or worn away (see Prof. Krumbein's report). It's easily seen how this could have been mistaken for plain, particularly when the ossuary was only hastily looked over and obscured by a crust of terra rosa soil. There are at least 3 reasonable explanations why the inscription appears to have been inscribed faintly originally:

  1. fear of being caught by the Romans inscribing the ossuary during this period of cruel Roman-occupation made the inscriber rush or

  2. deliberately inscribing the decoration faintly, feeling that the important ossuary should be decorated balanced against the fear of the ossuary, and its contents, being destroyed if the Romans discovered the decoration. Decorated ossuaries of long-dead kings and princes was one thing, but perpetuating the dynasty (decorating ossuaries recognizing a continuing succession) was unacceptable to the Romans. Although qid Ya·aqov \'ha-Tzadiq\' was dead (witness the ossuary), both Hellenist (Notzrim) factions cooperated to seek and kill heirs to the Beit-Dâwid "Dynasty"; burning their yukhasin, and killing their admirers – namely the Nәtzârim.

  3. Perhaps to escape detection by Hellenist (the ancient counterpart of today's Reform/assimilated) Jews (Notzrim = Hellenist \'guards\' – not \'Nazarethans\' – who acted as informers, as referenced in the Birkat ha-Minim).

Rainbow Rule
Anthropologist-Curator Joe Zias e-Rant

According to Prof. Dr. James D. Tabor's Blog
(Chair of Dept. of Religious Studies at Univ. of North Carolina at Charlotte)

#18 of "The Top Twenty 'Fictions'"

"…no photography of it in the IAA files whereas the other nine have photographs and descriptions. All that we know about this 10th ossuary is the single line in Amos Kloner's 1996 article in 'Atiquot on the Talpiot tomb that reads: '10. IAA 80.509. 60 x26 x 30 cm. Plain'" – and that is nothing more than copying Rakhmani's description.

Prof. Tabor (heardworld.com)

"Notice on all the others, even those that are plain, he gives photos and detailed descriptions. We checked Gath's notes and there is nothing about this one, again, other than the dimensions and the registration number.… something does not add up here but we were told by the IAA curators that had the ossuary been brought in, even if it were put in the yard outside in the Rockefeller, it would have been given recorded as received and only nine were so recorded."

Yet, anthropologist/IAA curator(?) Zias stated that he placed it in the courtyard!!!

Anthropologist-Curator Joseph Zias e-Rant

Full email On the 10th Ossuary and the J*ames Ossuary 2007.03.20 (Expanded 03.22)

"If there is one thing that angers academics here in Jerusalem, directly connected to the story, it is how Cameron and the BAR crowd have willfully manipulated data in a most dishonest and cynical way to sell the their film, book as well as the book called The J*esus Dynasty upon which much of the story is based.

"One can see this manipulation and deliberate deception in the following posting by someone from Toronto (surprised ?) supporting the premise of the film and the books. He writes as follows when questioned about the film:

The Facts

The history of the J*ames son of Josef, brother of J*esus ossuary which the IAA and nearly the entire academic community have written off as an attempt to con the public including the ROM was a few years ago declared by Tabor and Gibson to have come from what they call their the "Tomb of the Shroud." which is based on a handful of badly decomposed fragments from a burial shroud. This was done to attract media attention which they did and the impt. fact to remember is, that the tomb was robbed twice once in 1996 and again in 2000. No one bought it, aside from Tabor and Gibson and a few naive followers. They attempted to show on the basis of a small detail on the ossuary that the ossuary in question, James which Oded Golan claims to have been purchased in the 1970's actually was from their 2000 find ! All of us knew this was a cheap attempt to manipulate public interest, Shroud=J*esus=James the brother. Few bought into it.

In the meantime the BAR crowd along with the Canadians decided to resurrect the 1996 British documentary on the Talpiot tomb. Time was right, Dan Brown, Baigent and a host of others had successfully conned people into believing the Da Vinci Code as history and Baigent had come up with a book entitled J*esus Papers in which he claims to have seen some papers evidently written by JC himself.

So time was right to move the narrative of the James ossuary, from the Tomb of the Shroud in Silwan to the Talpiot J*esus Family tomb, one valley over, same period and why not, as the Canadians claimed to have found the tomb of the J*esus Family, and James the brother of J*esus was missing from the scheme. No one will know, particularly the public, if it is hyped well enough. The problem now was how to give it some 'respectability' some 'hard science' There were some problems however as one expert hired by the defense in the current trial recently declared in BAR that the ossuary had been out of it's tomb environment for 150 years (sic) . We all knew that it was exh. in the ROM for a few months but 150 years, was it taken to France by the priory to some chateau and then returned to Jerusalem ? James sounds like a frequent flier or as we say for those of you who know Hebrew, Frequent Fryer .


In order to obtain patina samples, why not turn to that same IL geological organization which had earlier authenticated several of the allegedly fraudulent objects such as the Jeohash Temple inscription, the oil lamp with all those ritual symbols, which any first year student would immed. recognize as a forged object. Several were more than willing to comply despite the fact that they were earlier shamed by the academic community having been once burned and now the possibility of being burned twice. I suppose that once you have lost your creditability, there's nothing more to lose except face and for some that comes cheap when millions of dollars are riding on it. What's ones reputation worth dollar wise in academia ?

The Patina Testing

For certain legal reasons I cannot go into this in detail other than to say that A-the US lab which ran some of these tests specializes in such things as car homicides, run of the mill forensic issues and have nothing whatsoever to do with archaeology. B had they sampled other patinas in other collections they would have found that all ossuaries found in Jerusalem basically would share the same geological features, same time period, same stone duh ! C. According to the BAR expert, James was outside the tomb for 150 years and developed a somewhat unique 'patina fingerprint" did 'double name' Mary (aka as Billy Bob) and the rest of the 'menage' share the same geological characteristics with James ? I'd bet the farm they did.

The Missing Ossuary

I've seen better plots in the daily soap opera's. For starters as we have said again and again, the 10Th ossuary which was removed from the tomb, was despite what the BAR crowd say, was never, never given a final number in the tomb nor missing. Final numbers are only given in the IAA upon receivership, by the curators [himself, Joe Zias!!! -- who notes, later in this paragraph, having received the 10th ossuary!!!]. By this time the ossuary has been seen by those excavating the tomb and others in the IAA, inc. myself, Professor Kloner, LY Rakhmani and a few others. Any ossuary which entered the Rockefeller Museum along with Rakhmani who was writing his magnum opus and PhD. on ossuaries, which will for decades remain the standard reference work on ossuaries, would have noticed any ossuary with an inscription, particularly since the 'James ossuary" was decorated with two rosettes on the front, traces of red paint and an inscription on the reverse. [but, according to Kloner, coated with terra rosa soil] In terms of museum protocol this was a 'keeper' and for lack of space those plain white ossuaries including the 10th one, were recorded, numbered, measured, cataloged and stored in a safe open inner courtyard, along with tens and tens of others. The 10th ossuary fell into the category of discard. It's that simple it was not permanently stored inside along with the other 9, not measured in the tomb, not photographed, it was simply stored away. In the intervening years, the elements, despite several attempts by myself to find inks which were weather resistant, took their toll on the provenience of the ossuaries and the numbers disappeared. [How convenient for Zias.] Tabor knew this as he was told by myself personally well in advance of the film this month. In fact, I advised him that he was traveling a slippery path working with SJ and rapidly losing his academic standing in the community with all this as well, first it was his total support of the James ossuary, his attempt to secure some bone fragments stored in Tupper Ware in Tel Aviv, (the IAA refused) evidently to clone the DNA of James or what they would probably call the Second Coming, The Cave of John the Baptist with Gibson which no one accepted , the J*esus Dynasty, which few if any accepted. The list was growing, his somewhat cynical reply to my remarks will appear sometime in the future.

Conspiracy theories

Ignoring every thing which I had related to Tabor that day, including the fact that Tabor's claim that the dimensions of the 'missing 10th ossuary' was identical to the dimensions of James sounded like the slam dunk they were looking for, to authenticated their conspiracy claim. Fortunately, a Jrsm scholar totally unconnected to the controversy decided to look up the dimensions of the two and published the facts, Tabors claim that the dimensions of the two were identical was purely an invention, hoping to sucker a few more people into the scheme.

So here we have a few problems with James the Elder, A- he was declared to be forged, he moved from valley to valley, with short episodes outside the tomb in the ROM and somewhere else for 150 yrs before being re-interred, in Silwan or Talpiot (take your pick) and now here's the real clincher..... Remember that Tabor, Gibson and the Canadians now claim that the ossuary was not 'outed' in Silwan in 2000 but 1980 (the year it was excavated) from the Talpiot tomb of J*esus Family and then taken under the noses of the IAA.

Oded Golan, the owner who is currently on trial produced a few weeks ago, a photo of James son of Joseph, brother of J*esus, with a time stamp 1976 !!!

So much for the creditability of all those involved in this scheme which I have maintained from the beginning.

Feel free to pass it on to the SBL crowd this weekend.

Joe Zias, Jerusalem

Rainbow Rule
Ted Koppel Denial Claims

One of the first things in clearing the decks of false and misleading information is to deal with a critique by Ted Koppel, 'The Lost Tomb of J*esus – A Critical Look', in which he "revealed he had denials from these three people Simcha Jacobovici had interviewed in his documentary."

  1. First, Koppel claims to "ha[ve] a written denial from the forensic archaeologist asserting that he had NOT concluded that the remains of Yeshua and Miriamne showed they were husband and wife. In fact, he had logically stated, "you cannot genetically test for marriage."

    Please, Mr. Koppel, produce this document you claim is a denial. This can only be a denial of Koppel's claim, a straw man, since no such claim is found in Jacobovici's documentary, "The Lost Tomb of J*esus." That is misleading and fraudulent. Doh!

  2. Koppel had a written denial from the Suffolk Crime Lab Director asserting that he had NOT stated the J*ames ossuary patina matched that of the Yeshua ossuary. He denied ever saying they were a match, and said he'd have to do much more comparison testing of other tombs before he could draw any conclusions.

    Why has no one required Mr. Koppel to publish both of these "denials" so that we can see if they support Mr. Koppel's claim? What Robert E. Genna said was, verbatim: "But what I find interesting is the small trace materials that we are locating here as opposed to the general limestone properties that you would expect to find. We're noticing iron, titanium, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium. So far, the elemental composition that we analyzed with this particular section of patina is consistent with the trace materials that we found in the J*ames ossuary." None of the random samples from any other tomb matched. Therefore, it appears as if the alleged denial, if it exists, merely denies a complete or 100% match. Two samples from the same ossuary probably wouldn't be a complete, or 100% match!!! Doh! Mr. Koppel is being devious and misleading again.

  3. Koppel claims that he had a verbal denial dated 2007.03.04 from Professor Amos Kloner, the archaeologist who had supervised the initial 1980 dig of the tomb of Yeshua, asserting that the ossuary that later turned up missing from the alleged Tomb of 'Jesus' could not have been what is now known as the James ossuary. In fact he indicated there was evidence that it was not the same by saying that the now missing ossuary he had seen and photographed and catalogued in 1980 had been totally unmarked, whereas the James ossuary is marked with the name of James and a rosette.

    Since no photograph was taken of this ossuary in 1980 (review the discovery of the tombs) that would be quite a feat for Amos Kloner – the last one to see the ossuary before it went missing – to pull off!!! For an ossuary he claims never went missing he certainly hasn't been able to produce it!!! Is there no end, no limit, to false statements? If an art curator lost the Mona Lisa and claimed it was never lost, that it was a blank canvas he photographed, but couldn't produce it or the photograph, would you be suspicious of the last "experts" to see it, handle it and who were responsible for it but couldn't produce it??? Doh!

Rainbow Rule
Nearby-Buried Baby Corroborates House of David

The nearby-buried baby, Yәhudâh Bar-Yәshua may have been betrayed by the Temple-Sadducee Jewish Hellenists and Hellenist proselytes (Notzrim – think Birkat ha-Minim), like Ribi Yәhoshua was, and killed by the Hellenist Romans to prevent continuation of the Beit-Dâwid \'Dynasty\' that threatened Rome as ruler of the Jews – and, consequently, the power base world of the Roman-sycophant, Hellenist Temple-Sadducees.

Rainbow Rule

2007.01.16-17 Jerusalem Forgery Conference


Biblical Archaeology Society / Hershel Shanks

Full Report

The bottom line seems to be a scholarly consensus that the ossuary inscription is too good to be accomplished by any less than a team of the world's top scholars in a fistful of different specialties. Paleographer Ada Yardeni: "I am sure that it is no fake, unless Oded [Golan] comes and tells me he did it. So he's a genius. But I don't believe it." (p. 6)

"Bezalel (Buzzy) Porten of Hebrew University agreed with Ada's analyis. (p. 6)

Andr&#eacute; Lemaire, France's leading Semitic paleographer, has long he J*ames ossuary Inscription and continues to be of the view that it is authentic… Gabriel Barkay spoke of his respect for Lemaire's judgment as well as his own examination of the inscription: 'It is true that one has to suspect everything. But still my assumption a priori is that if Andr&#eacute; Lemaire, a ery sharp-eyed and knowledgeable scholar, has some observations about the Ossuary inscription, I accept it because of his knowledge, his expertise and his honesty.But still I'm going to check the object myself. I went to see the ossuary. I went to touch it myself. I went to the Rockefeller Museum. My impression is that the inscription is genuine. And my feeling is also that of a very well-known expert in Jewish script, Ada Yardeni." (p. 6)

"Frank Cross originally expressed the view that the inscription is authentic, but later changed his mind. He still finds no problem with the inscription paleographically, as he reaffirmed in a conversation with me since the conference, but what, in his words, put him 'on the fence' is the fact that the rosettes on the back of the ossuary have badly weathered while the inscription on the other side has not and the inscription is still clear." [I noticed this difference immediately as well, but wasn't aware at the time that the ossuary at some time in the distant past spent 2 centuries out in the weather before being placed (returned) to the tomb.]

[Could the known cleaning and unknown forging attempts on the rosette side have affected the rosette side more than the inscription side? Could the cleaning, and perhaps an attempt to forge rosettes on one side, have caused the ossuary to appear to have been outside of the cave for longer than it was? If so, it still may have come out of the Talpiot Tomb in 1980; in which case, it was stolen or sold out of the IAA warehouse by someone intent on a combination of naked opportunism for self-enrichment and deliberately eliminating and discrediting evidence that would disprove Xy and bring Xn wrath on Jews and Israel – as we have seen it is doing.]

"But this does not prove that the inscription is authentic. There is no way to prove that any inscription is authentic and not a forgery [just as there is no way to prove that the Talpiot tomb is that of the family of RibiYehoshua]: The forgery may be perfect. Or the scholars and scientists have notyet found the test that will unmask the forger. This is true even of a professionally excavated artifact… Therefore, we are always talking about probabilities. All the factors that we discussed at the conference increase or decrease the probability that an artifact or an inscription is authentic." (p. 7)

"Another subject of discussion was whether the J*ames Ossuary Inscription was by one or two hands. Was the first part ('J*ames son of Joseph') by a different hand than the second part ('brother of J*esus')? This is the theory of the forgery indictment, which alleges that only the second part was added by the forger and that the first part is authentic.

"This position has been firmly rejected by Ada Yardeni, Andr&#eacute; Lemaire and Emile Puech. In a post-conference telephone conversation, Frank Cross discussed whether the first and second part of the inscription are by different hands. He said the idea was 'absurd.' As Yardeni states in her abstract, 'As for the claim that the two parts of the inscription were made by two different hands, I insist on my opinion that this is not the case. If there are differences between the forms of certain letters, this is a natural phenomenon in hand-written inscriptions, as can be seen in numerous ossuaries.' Here she cites ten examples from the Rakhmani catalogvi. I will not repeat the remainder of the extensive discussion in her abstract, which I find convincing." (p. 8)

"Gaby Barkay commented about the conditions under which ossuaries were engraved, suggesting that looking for these minute deviations in an inscription was not meaningful:

"[These inscriptions] were written in the dark, sometimes inside a cave. They were written by family members, not professional scribes. They were written haphazardly and not pre-planned. They were not measuring characters, and they were not measuring tics or measuring the different kerning of the characters. They did it as it came. One has to think about the circumstances under which these inscriptions were written. They are meant to identify the bones within the ossuary, and they are not meant to be an exercise for future paleographers." [laughter] ( p. 9)

"At one time, it was urged that the latter half of the inscription was a forgery because the first part was in lapidary script and the second was in cursive script. This argument was not considered seriously at the conference because Andr&#eacute; Lemaire had already demolished the argument in a BAR articleviii that has apparently been accepted by all mainstream scholars. The mixture of formal letters and cursive letters is found in the first part as well as the second part of the inscription. As Lemaire stated in his abstract: 'This means that we have a mixture of formal and cursive shapes, a well-known phenomenon in ossuary inscriptions.'" (p. 10)

"On that issue, Yuval Goren, a petrologist from Tel Aviv University, whose analysis led to the IAA's condemnation of the James Ossuary Inscriptoin as a forgery, had testified at the forgery trial just days before our conference. His testimony surprised almost everyone. On cross-examination, Goren seemed to admit that he saw some original ancient patina in the ayin of Yeshua and perhaps elsewhere in the inscription. This is especially significant because the indictment charges that only the second part of the inscription is a modern forgery. Everyone agrees that the ossuary itself is authentic and ancient, so obviously, if there is original patina in the letters, the inscription (or at least those letters) must be authentic. Unfortunately, Goren did not attend the conference, so it was impossible to discuss this recently-made admission with him." (p. 10)

"At the outset, it must be noted that Krumbein has been retained by the defense in the forgery trial. Because of this, the IAA gave him full access to the ossuary even after the case had been filed. No one else has had this advantage. He also had available to him many photographs of the ossuary and the inscription taken before the ossuary went to Toronto for a museum exhibit; other photographs taken in Toronto; still other [p. 10->11 break] photographs taken on its return; and photographs taken after the ossuary had been confiscated by the police.

"As is well-known, he found that the ossuary and its inscription had been contaminated after it had been confiscated by the police. Comparing photographs that were taken in Toronto with photographs taken after the ossuary had been confiscated, he found granulation on the ossuary in the earlier photographs, but not on the photographs taken after the police confiscated the ossuary. 'After custody, I was the next person to study it,' Krumbein stated. 'These grains were completely [gone]. 100 percent not anymore existing … Grains are coming and going during the period that the ossuary is under custody … [In the new photographs] there is a lot of red material … You see this reddish material [showing us a picture on the screen] … There is a lot of red material … Again you see this reddish material that was never there before 2005."

"Krumbein questioned the custodians of the ossuary in the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem about the reddish contamination. They said it was 'done by the police' when it was in their custody.

"Krumbein concluded that 'Somebody has deliberately added something and deliberately taken away something from it.'

"On the positive side, Krumbein was able to say that the ossuary has been out of a cave environment for at least 150 years. The ossuary had been covered with a kind of biochemical patination that takes that long to develop and could not have developed in a cave atmosphere. The evidence that demonstrates this is observable on the surface of the ossuary and in the inscription. It may have been sitting in damp soil, which would account for the biopitting near the bottom of the ossuary. 'I cannot imagine that the ossuary came directly out of the cave to the [antiquities] dealer and from the dealer to [Oded] Golan.'

"Shmuel Ahituv asked Krumbein if he examined the other side of the ossuary—the side with the weathered rosettes, the basis by which Frank Cross concluded that he was 'on the fence' with respect to the authenticity of the ossuary inscription. Krumbein replied that he did indeed examine the side of the ossuary with the rosettes. 'One explanation [for the differential weathering] could be that it was standing next to a wall somewhere and the other side was exposed to different atmospheric conditions. The other option is that it was standing in a garden under different conditoins–one on the rain side and the other on the sun side.'

"Perhaps as important, the rosettes were drawn with the turn of a pointed stylus and the inscription was made with a metal chisel.

"Continued Krumbein: 'The ossuary has been cleaned and scraped all over, crisscross, crisscross. They go right through the inscription. They must have used a steel brush. They could have used a cleanser.' He observed a cement-like coating, which could be 'the remains of a cleanser.' Speaking from the viewpoint of the person doing the cleaning: 'If I clean an object and I realize there is writing on the object, then I will clean more seriously in the place of the writing.'

"Where the ossuary sat for the last 150 years could also explain the flawed results of the IAA examination based on oxygen isotopes. This experiment ultimately depended on a finding that water temperature from which a coating on the ossuary was formed was made with water hotter than is commonly found in nature in the Jerusalem area. (Goren called this coating the 'James Bond.') Goren admitted in his report to the IAA committee that this covering could be the result not only of a fake patina made with hot water, but [11->12 break] also the residue from cleaning with a cleanser. But, according to Krumbein, if the ossuary sat in a garden or a balcony of a home for 150 years, exposed to the sun, this covering could well have been formed naturally from hotter water than normally flows in the area and resulted in the oxygen isotope ratios Goren relied on to conclude that the inscription was a forgery." (p. 12)

Rainbow Rule

2007.01.16-17 Jerusalem Forgery Conference


Biblical Archaeology Society / Hershel Shanks

David Noel Freeman

"This debate has raged for some time now, and I don't believe that, as a group or individually, we really know enough or can settle this argument by the available evidence of force of reasoning. Not now, and maybe not ever." (p. 14)

"We would say that if the inscriptions are fakes, then the information provided hardly adds anything new or striking and nothing would mislead scholars in the future. If authentic, they would not add much to the knowledge we already have. So in the end, whether real or fake, they don't seem to make much difference." (p. 15)

Except disproving a "bodily resurrection" and "Divinity of Yësh"u"; hence, the hysterics stem from religion, not scholarship or science.

Rainbow Rule

Int'l flags

Go Top Home (Netzarim Logo) Go Back

Nәtzârim… Authentic