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Bugimus
Maniac (V) Mad Scientist

From: New California
Insane since: Mar 2000

posted posted 10-22-2002 02:45

This article is from NYTimes.com

Artifact May Be Earliest Relating to Existence of Jesus

October 21, 2002
By JOHN NOBLE WILFORD

An inscription in stone, found in or near Jerusalem and written in a language and script of 2,000 years ago, bears
the words "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus."

This could well be the earliest artifact ever found relating to the existence of Jesus, a French scholar has
concluded in an analysis of the inscription being published this week in the magazine Biblical Archaeology Review.

If the inscription is authentic and indeed refers to Jesus of Nazareth, it would be the earliest known documentation of Jesus outside the Bible. The magazine, which announced the find yesterday, is promoting it as "the first-ever archaeological discovery to corroborate biblical references to Jesus."

Other scholars are reacting with caution, calling the find important and tantalizing but saying it will probably be
impossible to confirm a definite link between the inscription and any of the central figures in the founding
of Christianity.

Fraud cannot be ruled out, they said, though the cursive style of the script and a microscopic examination of the
etched surface seemed to diminish suspicions. An investigation by the Geological Survey of Israel found no
evidence of modern pigments, scratches by modern cutting tools or other signs of tampering.

Radiocarbon dating was impossible because no organic material was found with the inscription. But the words were carved on a 20-inch-long limestone burial box, similar to ones the Jews used only in the first centuries B.C. and A.D. More specifically, the scholar said, the style of the script and the forms of certain words placed the date of the inscription to the last decades before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

Biblical scholars said in interviews that the circumstantial evidence supporting a link to Jesus was
possibly strong, but circumstantial nonetheless.

Although James (Jacob or Ya'akov), Joseph (Yosef) and Jesus (Yeshua) were common names of that time and place, several scholars noted, it would have been highly unusual to have them appear in the combination and kinship order found in the inscription. The words, in Aramaic, "Ya'akov bar Yosef akhui diYeshua," were carved on a burial box, known as an ossuary, which presumably once held the bones of a man named James who died in the first century A.D.

Several times the New Testament mentions that Jesus had a brother named James, who became leader of the nascent Christian community in Jerusalem after the crucifixion. And the first-century Jewish historian Josephus recorded that James was executed by stoning around A.D. 63.

The James whose name is on the stone could have been one of many Jameses. But the rest of the inscription significantly narrows the possibilities. First, in the common practice, his father is identified, in this case as a Joseph.

Rarely, though, would a brother of the deceased have been added to the inscription, unless the brother was prominent. James the apostle might have wanted to proclaim one last time his kinship with Jesus.

Dr. André Lemaire, a researcher at the Sorbonne in Paris and a respected specialist on inscriptions of the biblical
period, calculated the statistical probability of the three names' occurring in such a combination as extremely slim. Probably over two generations in first-century Jerusalem, no more than 20 people could have been called "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus," and few of them might have been buried in inscribed ossuaries. Other calculations yield an even lower probability.

"It seems very probable that this is the ossuary of the James in the New Testament," Dr. Lemaire wrote in the
magazine article. "If so, this would also mean that we have here the first epigraphic mention - from about A.D. 63 - of Jesus of Nazareth."

But elsewhere in his article, he acknowledged that "nothing in this ossuary inscription clearly confirms the
identification" of this James as the one known in Christian tradition.

Christians have three different interpretations regarding the kinship of James to Jesus, Dr. Lemaire noted.

Protestants generally read the New Testament to mean that James was the son of Joseph and Mary; in this case, Mary presumably gave birth to Jesus as a virgin and then had James and other children. A second interpretation, dominant in the Eastern Orthodox Church, regards James as a son of Joseph by a previous marriage. Roman Catholics tend to regard the word "brother" to mean any close relative; perhaps James was a cousin, the son of Joseph's brother, which would accord with teachings of Mary's "perpetual virginity."

Before this, Biblical Archaeology Review reported, the earliest mention of Jesus was in a piece of papyrus
containing a fragment of the Gospel by John, written in Greek in about A.D. 125. Most of the existing early texts
for the New Testament date from 300 or more years after the time of Jesus. The earliest Gospel to be written, by Mark, is thought to have been composed around the year 70.

Only a few other ancient artifacts mention New Testament figures. In 1990, the ossuary of Caiaphas, the high priest who turned Jesus over to the Romans, was uncovered. Even earlier, archaeologists discovered an inscription on a monument that bears the name of Pontius Pilate.

Like other biblical scholars, Dr. James C. VanderKam of the University of Notre Dame praised Dr. Lemaire as an
authoritative epigrapher, or specialist in ancient inscriptions, whose research is thorough and evaluations
judicious.

"Since the research comes from André Lemaire, I take it very seriously," Dr. VanderKam said. "If it is authentic,
and it looks like it is, this is helpful nonbiblical confirmation of the existence of this man James."

Dr. Eric M. Meyers, an archaeologist and director of the graduate program in religion at Duke University, said the
rarity of this configuration of names occurring, especially the inclusion of a brother's name, "lends a sense of
credibility to the claim."

But Dr. Meyers questioned whether the discovery, if it does refer to Jesus Christ, will "tell us anything we didn't
already know." He and other scholars agreed that Jesus as a historical figure has long been well established.

Dr. Joseph Fitzmyer , professor emeritus of New Testament studies at Catholic University in Washington, hailed it as a significant discovery if it does indeed refer to Jesus of Nazareth. "That would be a new extrabiblical attestation of his existence, and there are so few extrabiblical things that do," he said.

Still, Dr. Fitzmyer said he had serious doubts that the third name on the inscription actually referred to Jesus of
Nazareth.

"My reaction is, it's possible, but I hesitate to say probable," he said. "I don't see how anybody can say any
more."

How the ossuary was discovered is part of the problem, scholars said. It somehow fell into the hands of looters,
who then turned a profit selling it on the antiquities market. Hershel Shanks, editor of Biblical Archaeology Review, said the ossuary was now owned by an unidentified collector in Jerusalem.

Because the ossuary did not come from a controlled excavation, where archaeologists plot every detail and
possible clue to a discovery's context, scholars said they despaired of ever knowing the inscription's meaning beyond doubt.

"This could be something genuinely important, but we can never know for certain," said Dr. P. Kyle McCarter Jr., a professor of biblical and Near Eastern studies at Johns Hopkins University. "Not knowing the context of where the ossuary was found compromises anything we might say, and so doubts are going to persist."

A few scholars criticized the magazine for publishing an article based on research involving looted goods, arguing that this encouraged unethical practices in the antiquities market. The Discovery Channel announced it planned a television documentary next spring on the scientific testing of the so-called James ossuary.

Ossuaries were used in the two-burial practice that was standard among Jews in the first century. When a person
died, the body was first laid out in a burial cave for about a year. After the flesh decayed, the bones were then
gathered and placed in a limestone box, an ossuary. The one in question was unadorned, except for the inscription of 20 Aramaic letters etched on one side.

In the article, Dr. Lemaire concedes that no one knows whether Christians at the time continued the Jewish
two-burial custom. He said the shapes of three of the letters in the script indicated that the burial occurred
shortly before the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in the year 70.

In the immediately preceding years, Dr. Meyers of Duke said, it was possible that the nascent Christian community in Jerusalem might still have been following certain traditional Jewish practices because "they were just beginning to articulate the differences between Christianity and Judaism."
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/10/21/science/21CND-JESU.html?ex=1036245634&ei=1&en=24a4147f5f92af83

. . : slicePuzzle

InSiDeR
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: Oblivion
Insane since: Sep 2001

posted posted 10-22-2002 03:01
quote:
"This could be something genuinely important, but we can never know for certain,"



Really....

Bugimus
Maniac (V) Mad Scientist

From: New California
Insane since: Mar 2000

posted posted 10-22-2002 03:17

Well, at least I know you read it

eyezaer
Lunatic (VI) Mad Scientist

From: the Psychiatric Ward
Insane since: Sep 2000

posted posted 10-22-2002 03:58

thanks for posting yah! man i cant wait for the next indy movie. heh.

                                    &nbsp;

WebShaman
Maniac (V) Mad Scientist

From: Happy Hunting Grounds...
Insane since: Mar 2001

posted posted 10-22-2002 11:38

Now I'm confused...Jestah posted this article in the other thread...*sigh*

Ok, my qeustion is then :

What's all the fuss? I had always believed that Jesus (the man) had really existed, and that they had proof of this...am I wrong? I thought the Romans had documented the trial of Jesus...or is this also incorrect?

Until this point, I had always believed that the man Jesus had really existed, and that there was solid evidence for his existance...now, I'm not so sure...Bugs? Got anything on this?

Bugimus
Maniac (V) Mad Scientist

From: New California
Insane since: Mar 2000

posted posted 10-22-2002 18:54

WS, I posted this first here, Jestah probably didn't notice it before he posted in the other thread.

The "fuss" is that this could be the earliest physical piece of evidence referencing Jesus. We have nearly 5,000 *copies* of all or part of the New Testament which proves the originals had to exist sometime after Christ's death. The earliest one of these dates to about 100-150 AD and is a fragment of the Gospel of John.

If this ossuary is authentic, it will push that back to around 63-70 AD! That's an incredibly good piece of evidence to have.

There are a few who deny the existence of the *man* Jesus. But I believe that position is very questionable based on the New Testament alone. There are a few extra-biblical references to Jesus as well. Here is a blurb about them:

quote:
Consider that we are studying the life of a man who, by all accounts, was an obscure stone worker from an obscure town (Nazareth) in an obscure region (Galilee) in an obscure province (Judea) in a far corner of the Roman Empire [vii]. To begin with, we have the writings of Flavius Josephus, a first century Jewish historian, which contain references to Jesus. One refers to Jesus directly, another refers to the execution of Jesus’ brother James, explicitly identifying him as the brother of Jesus. [viii] Similarly, the second century Roman historian, Tacitus, wrote in 109CE ("Tacitus") of a Christ who "suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus" (quoted in Strobel, 82). From this evidence it is clear that, in 65CE, Christians believed Jesus to have been executed by Pontius Pilate; recall that Pilate reigned in Judea from 26-36CE. Further, a prominent historical detail in this extrabiblical source – the name of Pontius Pilate – is in full agreement with the gospel accounts.

http://www.theism.net/article/21

I can understand people questioning the godhood of Christ but the existence of the man? Frankly, I find it as absurd as questioning the existence of Napoleon or Sidharta Buddha.

. . : slicePuzzle

[This message has been edited by Bugimus (edited 10-22-2002).]

Slime
Lunatic (VI) Mad Scientist

From: Massachusetts, USA
Insane since: Mar 2000

posted posted 10-22-2002 20:15

Napoleon was *real*?!?

InSiDeR
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: Oblivion
Insane since: Sep 2001

posted posted 10-23-2002 03:19

Wait wait wait WTF?

The romans DID have a census on jusus? It WAS proven that jesus existed? Well FUCK!

Suho1004
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: Seoul, Korea
Insane since: Apr 2002

posted posted 10-23-2002 03:40

Whoa, Bugimus is real?!

Bugimus
Maniac (V) Mad Scientist

From: New California
Insane since: Mar 2000

posted posted 10-23-2002 04:33

InSiDeR, I think the census occurred too, but it wasn't mentioned in anything I posted above?

Moth
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: columbus, ohio, usa
Insane since: Jul 2002

posted posted 10-23-2002 07:17

Pretty interesting stuff, Bugimus.

However, given the fact that many of the events in the new testament occured during the longest running shooting war in history, I am surprised such a perfect item was found. I am immediately reminded of the lead cross found at Glastonbury Tor that "proved" King Arthur existed until it turned out to be a fake. I am taking a wait and see attitude.



WebShaman
Maniac (V) Mad Scientist

From: Happy Hunting Grounds...
Insane since: Mar 2001

posted posted 10-23-2002 12:21

Ahhh...that's what I was meaning...thanks, Bugs. I knew there was evidence (outside of the Bible) that Jesus, the man, had lived...and that it was Roman in nature.

Don't know why this 'Box' is stirring up any controversy...while I find it interesting, I already knew that there was evidence pointing to the existance of the man Jesus. Maybe because it actually mentions his name?

InI
Paranoid (IV) Mad Scientist

From: Somewhere over the rainbow
Insane since: Mar 2001

posted posted 10-23-2002 12:54

The poster has demanded we remove all his contributions, less he takes legal action.
We have done so.
Now Tyberius Prime expects him to start complaining that we removed his 'free speech' since this message will replace all of his posts, past and future.
Don't follow his example - seek real life help first.

Gilbert Nolander
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: Washington DC
Insane since: May 2002

posted posted 10-23-2002 14:45

I sort of agree with Moth on this, I mean its not like some archaelogist found this at a dig. It was stolen by looters, and then sold at an antique store. I mean they can't carbon date it, so they are just guessing at the date based on historical evidence. I don't know.

But I do definatly believe Jesus existed, I don't know if all the stuff in the bible was actually said by him, but I do believe he existed.

Cell 816

bodhi23
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: Greensboro, NC USA
Insane since: Jun 2002

posted posted 10-23-2002 16:07

Historical dating methods have actually proven to be fairly accurate. Techniques of pottery making and engraving and stone carving etc. have been proven to have changed over time. Techniques are specific to cultural location and time of existence. While they might not be able to get the date EXACT, they can figure within a reasonable number of years. A lot of times, it's the only thing archaeologists have to go on.
In 1995, I participated in a dig at Caesarea Maritima, which was King Herod's capital in Judea. King Herod, if you'll remember your Sunday School, was the mean ol' guy who killed all the children under 2 the year Jesus is said to be born because a prophet said a king had just been born who would superceed Herod in power and noteriety. The Pilate Stone, which is what they call the stone referring to Pontius Pilate, was found in Caesarea, they still have a replica of it on display at the dig site.
Flavius Josephus is considered to be the Expert on Judean history of that time. His writings are the most complete and most detailed about the area ever to have been found. While no one specifically doubts the existence of Jesus of Nazareth, very little physical proof of his existence has been found. Archaeologists live for physical evidence. It's what justifies their profession. The Pilate Stone is the only physical, historical reference to Pontius Pilate other than the Bible. That's why it's important. This ossuary with James's inscription on it, is likely one of the few verifiable relics referring to the actual man, Jesus of Nazareth. To this day, they still argue over whether or not the tomb where Jesus is said to be buried is in the garden located outside of the old city walls, (over a 3,000 year old crossroads that is now an Arab bus station, next to a rock outcropping with formations strangely reminiscent of skulls...) or in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, within the city walls, where the local residents informed Queen Helena, 50 years after the fact (Constantine's mother) that the body was actually buried. Archaeology is all about finding something and then trying to link it to it's place in history. Not to debate the existence of something, but to further confirm it.

Bodhisattva: an enlightened being full of generosity who chooses to remain on this plane in order to help others find enlightenment.
Cell 617

Jestah
Maniac (V) Mad Scientist

From: Long Island, NY
Insane since: Jun 2000

posted posted 10-23-2002 17:08

Oops sorry Bugimus. Apparently I missed this thread when I posted the story.

I think the real significance of this article is it proves Jesus was *somebody*. Having a sibling on your grave wasn't a common practice then. While it doesn't specifically say that He was the Son of God, it does suggest that He was an important and significant figure of the time, so important to actually list.

-Jestah
Cell 277

GrythusDraconis
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: The Astral Plane
Insane since: Jul 2002

posted posted 10-23-2002 17:27

Right, but I think what WS is getting at, and I agree with him, is that this is just more of the same. This isn't anything that should be ground shaking. So what if this evidence is 25-75 years earlier than any other evidence, it doesn't change anything in particular. Jestah's point that it proves that Jesus was an important man is a good point but I think the Bible does that better than this ossuary does. The fact that stories were written about him, whether they are real or not, is proof enough to me that he was an important man in history.

GrythusDraconis
"Be careful not to anger the Great Dragon for you are crunchy and taste good with Ketchup" T-Shirt Somewhere

Jestah
Maniac (V) Mad Scientist

From: Long Island, NY
Insane since: Jun 2000

posted posted 10-23-2002 18:15

I'm not sure if the Bible would be the best example, GD. Ozzy Osbourn has a following and has had plenty of books published about his life, yet I would hardly consider him an important man. IMO the real question was never if Jesus really existed. I always found even those who didn't believe in Jesus the Son of God, believed in Jesus the charismatic carpenter boy who started a religion. IMO This discovery could mean one of two things. The first being that Jesus was a very important and significant figure in the world at this time period. Hence the reason he's included on his brothers ossuary. Second, James was a devoted follower to Jesus. It could mean absolutely nothing.

Thats just my opinion.

-Jestah
Cell 277

Amerasu
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From:
Insane since: Jun 2002

posted posted 10-23-2002 18:21

I look at it this way - the ossuary could very well be authentic. But, at the same time, the inscription may have nothing to do with the Jesus, Joseph and James of the New Testament. Apparently, Joseph was a common name for the time, as was Jesus and there have been other ossuaries found with similar inscriptions. As far as I know, there are two inscribed with "Jesus, son of Joseph" and a few others have the name "Jesus" inscribed on them. I'll wait until more scholarly research has been done.

GrythusDraconis
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: The Astral Plane
Insane since: Jul 2002

posted posted 10-23-2002 20:14

Amerasu - While not completely definitive, there has been some research into that very possiblity.

quote:
Dr. André Lemaire, a researcher at the Sorbonne in Paris and a respected specialist on inscriptions of the biblical
period, calculated the statistical probability of the three names' occurring in such a combination as extremely slim. Probably over two generations in first-century Jerusalem, no more than 20 people could have been called "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus," and few of them might have been buried in inscribed ossuaries. Other calculations yield an even lower probability.



Copied from the above article. You must have missed that part.

Jestah - Point taken. But we're talking about a time where things weren't written and recorded as a passing matter like we do things today. Something had to happen relating to that somebody before it was passed on through the generations. We don't hear about the scullery boy in the Temple of Agribar because he didn't do anything but wash dishes. If he had say... saved Jesus' life I bet we'd know something about him. Now-a-days we might be able to find some kind of information on him. Granted this is a bit extreme as far as examples go but the point still stands that you can't equate today's information drowned society with one from the past where news traveled as fast as your feet could walk.

GrythusDraconis
"Be careful not to anger the Great Dragon for you are crunchy and taste good with Ketchup" T-Shirt Somewhere

Bugimus
Maniac (V) Mad Scientist

From: New California
Insane since: Mar 2000

posted posted 10-23-2002 20:25

Moth,

quote:
longest running shooting war in history

I'm not getting what you're referring to here. Help!?

Amerasu
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From:
Insane since: Jun 2002

posted posted 10-23-2002 20:28

No, I didn't miss it. I'd just like to read and study what other experts in this field and related fields have to say before forming an opinion on the ossuary's relationship to the Jesus of the NT. I'm still looking into it

Edit: to remove sig.

[This message has been edited by Amerasu (edited 10-23-2002).]

bodhi23
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: Greensboro, NC USA
Insane since: Jun 2002

posted posted 10-23-2002 20:50

I think Moth is referring to the fact that the particular area of the world where these artifacts are located has been a battlefield for centuries. Buildings, artifacts and landscape all show the effects of continual warring between tribes and nations. While it's not likely that too much has survived undamaged, there are a very few places where you can still find pristine artifiacts in Israel. It is not common practice to excavate ancient Jewish burials because of the strong sentiment that the Jewish people have against disturbing a final resting place, but there are a few that have been found, and they are mostly in underground caverns where the strife of recent warfare hasn't touched yet.
Without additional iron-clad evidence, it's not likely that we'll ever know for sure that this inscription is actually referring to the brother of the actual man, Jesus of Nazareth. Since the legends say that Jesus' coming was fortold for some time, Jesus was a VERY common name in the area. All archaeologists can do is infer. That's whats been happening with the Shroud of Turin for decades.

Bodhisattva: an enlightened being full of generosity who chooses to remain on this plane in order to help others find enlightenment.
Cell 617

WebShaman
Maniac (V) Mad Scientist

From: Happy Hunting Grounds...
Insane since: Mar 2001

posted posted 10-23-2002 21:38

Uhhh...GD, I'm not getting your point. The fact is, that at that time records (by the Romans, and many other cultures) were kept, but most were lost...either due to the burning of great libraries, or the dark ages (where most information of earlier civilization in Europe was lost...we were able to 'reconstruct' much from these times, from the library, in the unlikeliness of all places, in Iceland).

The Romans kept very good records, of just about everything that happened within their Empire...

[This message has been edited by WebShaman (edited 10-23-2002).]

GrythusDraconis
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: The Astral Plane
Insane since: Jul 2002

posted posted 10-23-2002 21:52

That's my point exactly though, WS. The Bible is written outside of those mountains of records the Roman's had. It stands to reason that stories about ONE man and his ideals, real or not, written by people who weren't historians for the express purpose of carrying them through the ages makes that man a very important person in that time. Books weren't written about everyone and anything back then like they are today. You had to be very important for the local populous to remember you for long enough to write your stories down. Even if we had records from the Romans that mentioned Jesus... they'd just be records proving he existed. The Bible being written beyond the needs of history proves that he was an influential, if not important, person not just that he existed.

GrythusDraconis
"Be careful not to anger the Great Dragon for you are crunchy and taste good with Ketchup" T-Shirt Somewhere

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