Burial Box of James, the Lord's Brother found!

The inscription on the top reads, "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus."

Photograph supplied by the Biblical Archaeology Society. Top: The actual inscription. Bottom: The burial box.

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In one of the most spectacular archeological finds this century, the burial box of James the brother of Jesus has been discovered. All the details have been reported in the November/December 2002 issue of Biblical Archaeological Review. Technically, the burial box is referred to as an ossuary. The ossuary slightly trapezoid in shape with dimensions about 20 inches long, by10 inches wide, by 12 inches high. On the top of the box the inscription reads, "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus." The paleographer at Sorbonne University in Paris (École Pratique des Hautes Études), Andre Lemaire, dated the empty box to 63 A.D.

What is significant about this find, is that it is the only artifact of archeology in existence to connect the names Joseph, James and Jesus. Until now, all references to the three men have been found only in manuscripts.

From 100 B.C. to 70 A.D., it was the custom of the Jews to leave their dead in a cave and come back one year later to retrieve the bones, which were de-articulated and placed in the ossuary. The box itself is one of hundreds that have been found in the area. The Geological Institute of Israel confirmed the inscription is written in a form of Aramaic used during the middle of the first century A.D.

The burial box is currently in the hands of private anonymous Jewish owner. We can only wonder why such an artifact of breathtakingly important value would have been hidden from the world until now. The story that the Jewish owner did not know what the inscription said, seems unlikely. Obviously, if you are "Israel's largest private collector", (as rumors say) you would certainly want to know what the inscription said. The 15-25 year delay, therefore, only hinders authentication of the artifact.

After the box was shipped to Canada for a museum display, it was discovered the box was damaged in transport. This was due to no fault of Canada or the museum to which it was shipped. The owner had not used qualified "museum trained" packers, who if used, would have packed it properly.

For the Roman Catholic or a member of an Orthodox sect this box refutes a false doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Of course we don't need the inscription on the burial box of James to prove Mary had other children with Joseph her husband after the virgin birth of Jesus. We have the Bible was plainly says in 14 different passages that Jesus had other blood brothers and sisters.

For a detailed theological review of the Bible texts that prove Jesus had other blood brothers and sisters through Mary and Joseph, click here.

Steve Rudd


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