The ancient ossuary (“bone box”) marked with an inscription identifying the occupant as “James, brother of Jesus” has been officially declared a fake:“The varnish covered large areas of the ossuary surface and the patina had burst through the varnish in many places. Both varnish and patina coated a rosette inscribed on the other side of the ossuary. But Goren and Ayalon’s meticulous microscopic analysis showed that the letters of the entire Aramaic inscription “James, Son of Joseph, Brother of Jesus” were cut through the varnish, indicating that they were carved long–perhaps centuries after–the varnish-covered rosette.”
Note to self: If ever planning forgery of important document likely to draw the attention of scholars from around the world, try to get the grammar right.
I previously blogged the Temple record as an example of ancient technical writing, so I’d better set the record straight.