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Yet another twist in the saga of the ‘Jesus Bone Box’ (the ossuary supposedly bearing the name of James, the brother of Jesus). In December 2004 the State Prosecutor’s Office in Israel indicted ‘discoverer’ Oled Golan for antiquities forgery, after the Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA) concluded that the inscription on the ossuary was a recent addition.

Now, evidence has been presented in the case which suggests the allegedly forged inscription was in place three decades ago:

In the defense’s photographs, dated 1976, the ossuary is shown on a shelf, apparently in Golan’s home. In an enlargement, the whole inscription can be seen with great difficulty. The photo was examined by Gerald Richard, a former FBI agent and an expert for the defense. Richard testified that “Nothing was noted that would indicate or suggest that they were not produced in March 1976 as indicated on the stamps appearing on the reverse side of each print.”

This latest development follows years of highly charged arguments from various authorities. Of note is the dispute between the IAA and Hershel Shanks, the editor of the Biblical Archaeology Review, who has been a vociferous supporter of the authenticity of the ossuary. Stay tuned for more…