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Scholar says Jesus' brother artefact may be genuine

An ancient Holy Land burial box with the controversial inscription "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus" may be authentic, according to Fr Joseph Fitzmyer, a noted Jesuit Scripture scholar.

Delivering a lecture at the University of Dallas, Fr Fitzmyer questioned a finding by the Israel Antiquities Authority, a government agency, that the inscription is fake. The Israeli agency known as the IAA has failed to settle the issue.

Fr Fitzmyer sided with Andre Lemaire, a Scripture scholar at the Sorbonne University in Paris, in disputing a conclusion by the antiquities authority that the inscription on the burial box, called an ossuary, is a fake.

On 18 June, the Israel Antiquities Authority said two archeological committees that it set up concluded that the ossuary was ancient but the inscription fake.

The committees' researchers, through chemical and microscopic analyses, said the inscription cut through the patina, a thin coating acquired with age.

This finding contradicted an earlier conclusion by the Israel Geological Survey that the inscription was authentic.

Scholar says inscription about 'brother' of Jesus may be genuine (Catholic News Service 17/11/03)

Jesus artefact 'a fake' (BBC 18/6/03)
Burial Box May Be Jesus Artifact ( 22/10/03)
Israel Antiquities Authority
Joseph Fitzmyer SJ (Biography,

19 Nov 2003