Excerpt: 'The Jesus Dynasty' by James D. Tabor

1. For more information on these and other interesting sites relevant to biblical studies see http://www.tfba.org.

2. The students with me that afternoon were Kaitlyn Cotanch, Lee Hutchinson, Vicki Powell, Jeff Poplin, and Mark Williams.

3. In the Bible the phrase "gathering the bones" of the deceased possibly refers to this practice of secondary burial. The Jewish practice is summarized in the Mishnah, m. Sanhedrin 6:6: "When the flesh had decomposed they collect the bones and bury them in their right place."

4. B. Zissu, S. Gibson, Y. Tabor, "Jerusalem -- Ben Hinnom Valley," in Hadashot Arkheologiyot (Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 2000), vol. 111, pp. 70?72, Figs. 138?39.

5. Hershel Shanks and Ben Witherington III, The Brother of Jesus: The Dramatic Story & Meaning of the First Archaeological Link to Jesus & His Family (New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 2003).

6. David Samuels's "Written in Stone" (New Yorker, April 12, 2004), gave many the erroneous impression that the case was closed.

7. A full regularly updated archive of materials both pro and con on the authenticity of the James ossuary inscription can be found at http://www.bib-arch.org

8. Her official letter is at http://bib-arch.org/bswbOOossuary_yardeni.asp.

9. Their official press release is archived at: http://www.rom.on.ca/news/releases/public.php?mediakey=vhggdo3048.

10. See Gibson's published account of this information based on Rafi Lewis' written affidavit in "A Lost Cause," Biblical Archaeology Review (November/December 2004): 55?58.

11. Samuels, "Written in Stone," 51.

12. It is interesting that the initial AP headline, "JESUS" CASKET FOUND IN ISRAEL, was defensively softened to CASKETS LABELED JESUS, MARY AND JOSEPH PROBABLY COINCIDENCE within a matter of hours. By the time the story filed by veteran Jerusalem Post reporter Abraham Rabinovich appeared in USA Today on April 3, the Gannett headline read COFFIN IN ISRAEL IS NOT THAT OF JESUS' FAMILY, experts say. The story had deflated like a punctured tire.

13. L. Y. Rahmani, A Catalogue of Jewish Ossuaries in the Collections of the State of Israel (Jerusalem: Israel Antiquities and Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, 1994). The ossuary inscribed "Jesus son of Joseph" is catalogue No. 80.503 in the Israeli warehouse and listed as No. 704 in the Rahmani publication.

14. The ossuary is catalogued as S 767 in the warehouse and appears as No. 9/Plate 2 in Rachmani. It was "discovered" by Eleazar Sukenik of Hebrew University, the first Israeli to identify the Dead Sea Scrolls. He found it in a basement storage area of the Palestinian Archaeological Museum (today the Rockefeller) in Jerusalem in 1926.

Unfortunately it had no archaeological context. When Sukenik published a report about the ossuary in January 1931, the news that such an inscription existed, it being the only one ever found until that time, created no small stir in the world press, particularly in Europe (see L. H. Vincent, "Épitaphe prétendue de N.S. Jésus-Christ," Atti della pontificia: academia romana di archaeologie: Rendiconti 7 [1929?30]: 213?39).

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