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The case against two Israeli antiquities dealers accused of faking an ossuary which some believe to be that of the brother of Jesus looks set to collapse, after the Jerusalem judge presiding over the trial advised the prosecution to drop the charges against them (though it’s worth pointing out – contrary to the news article linked – that the James Ossuary on its own offers no proof of Jesus’ existence, given the common nature of the names):

“Have you really proved beyond a reasonable doubt that these artifacts are fakes as charged in the indictment? The experts disagreed among themselves. Where is the definitive proof needed to show that the accused faked the ossuary?” Judge Farkash asked prosecutor Damti. “You need to ask yourselves those questions very seriously, and if necessary consult with your superiors in the public prosecutor’s office.”

The case began in December 2004 when the Israeli State Prosecutor’s Office indicted ‘discoverer’ Oled Golan for antiquities forgery, after the Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA) concluded that the inscription on the ossuary was a recent addition. Many have argued against the IAA’s assertion, including the influential Biblical Archaeology Society, led by Hershel Shanks (they have, understandably, quickly reported on this news themselves). Geologist James Harrell has also previously given his own thoughts on why the IAA case was weak.

Previously on TDG: