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The Missing Ossuary

In the public’s mind the so-called "James Ossuary" is a forgery. But the reality is that the jury is still out on that artifact—literally. The trial of collector Oded Golan is still ongoing in Jerusalem. At issue: did the antiquities dealer fake the inscription? Scholars have been at war, with telling evidence that the inscription is false, and equally compelling evidence that it is the real thing.

In 2006, Professor Wolfgang E. Krumbein, of Oldenburg University, Germany, the world’s foremost expert on stone accumulated patina, declared the inscription to be authentic. He explained that the “isotope reading” that led the IAA to declare the inscription a forgery, was most probably due to the fact that the letters had been cleaned – rather than forged- by an overzealous antiquities dealer (and possibly Oded Golan’s mother). In any event, there is no issue concerning the authenticity of the ossuary, or the first part of the inscription i.e., “James, son of Joseph”. The controversial words are “brother of Jesus.”

The documentary “The Lost Tomb of Jesus” presents startling new evidence in the ongoing debate concerning the “James Ossuary.”


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