The Biblical archaeology world has been abuzz ever since Oded Golan and Robert Deutsch were declared not guilty in the March 14, 2012, James Ossuary forgery trial verdict. The verdict sparked renewed discussion of the authenticity of the alleged forgeries, but sadly, much of the discussion on the forgery trial verdict and the James Ossuary ignores the wealth of scholarship available on the artifacts and trial.
The Biblical Archaeology Society and its founder Hershel Shanks have followed every twist and turn in the five-year James Ossuary inscription forgery trial. From epigrapher André Lemaire’s 1984 analysis of the ivory pomegranate, a First Temple artifact whose authenticity was debated early in the trial, to “Verdict: Not Guilty,” a special report by Hershel Shanks analyzing the forgery trial verdict on the day of its announcement, the Biblical Archaeology Society has consistently provided scholarly analysis of the archaeological facts and their implications for the trial.
In the days surrounding the forgery trial verdict, the Biblical Archaeology Society covered the events from all angles to share scholarly perspectives on the breaking news with our readers. The Biblical Archaeology Society’s blog, Bible History Daily (BHD), was the first English-language Web site to announce the results of the trial. Contributing editors were in the Jerusalem court for the announcement of the forgery trial verdict to report on the crackling energy in the courtroom in “Defendants Acquitted in Forgery Trial” in the May/June 2012 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review. BAS editors interviewed defendants Oded Golan and Robert Deutsch on the day of the forgery trial verdict and the BHD post “Oded Golan Speaks Out on Forgery Trial Verdict” was one of the first stories following the verdict to cover the defendants’ reactions.
The forgery trial verdict incited countless discussions and articles. Unfortunately, many publications still rely on opinionated interviews rather than the archaeological evidence presented inside and outside of the courtroom. Biblical Archaeology Review has published countless scholarly articles analyzing the James Ossuary and other artifacts. In addition to special features on the forgery trial, the Israel Antiquities Authority and the artifacts under scrutiny, Biblical Archaeology Review regularly featured sections like Ossuary Update and Finds or Fakes? that provided useful commentary during the case’s initial proceedings, all available in the BAS Library.
The Library contains a substantial archive of scholarship on the James Ossuary and the trial against Oded Golan and Robert Deutsch. BAS editors have hand-picked the most important articles to create collections that match your needs. For an overview of the alleged forgeries and analysis of the forgery trial verdict, download the FREE eBook James, Brother of Jesus: The Forgery Trial of the Century. For a more comprehensive collection, visit the Forgery Trial Special Collection of the BAS Library to read 12 articles presenting epigraphic, archaeological and scientific analysis of the inscriptions and proceedings.
Too much to read on the forgery trial verdict? Take a break and watch Case Not Closed, a DVD lecture now available for free on YouTube and Bible History Daily. Case Not Closed is a special presentation on the James Ossuary by Hershel Shanks filmed just before the case against Oded Golan and Robert Deutsch began.
The Biblical Archaeology Society and its flagship magazine Biblical Archaeology Review are the best scholarly resources on the archaeology of the Holy Land and beyond. The “Forgery Trial of the Century” is over, but the discussion rages on. Keep yourself informed with the resources discussed here, or visit the BAS Library for dozens of additional articles on the James Ossuary forgery trial, as well as 6,500 other articles from Biblical Archaeology Review, Bible Review and Archaeology Odyssey magazines.
Updates Since the Publication of the James Ossuary Resource Guide
In the July/August 2012 Biblical Archaeology Review, editor Hershel Shanks presents the case for authenticity in his article “’Brother of Jesus’ Inscription is Authentic!”
∙ Read the press release and summary on Bible History Daily.
∙ Read the full article online.
August 27, 2012: The Israel government has appealed Jerusalem Judge Aharon Farkash’s decision in the case of the “Jehoash” inscription.
July 18, 2013: The Israel Antiquities Authority is scheduled to return the famous ossuary, or bone box, inscribed “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus” to Oded Golan. Read Hershel Shanks’s news update “Will the IAA Return the James Ossuary to Oded Golan?”
August 2013: After declaring the Yehoash (Jehoash) Inscription a forgery for a decade, the Israeli government refuses to return the inscription to Oded Golan, arguing that the Yehoash Inscription is an antiquity. Read Hershel Shanks’s appeal “Let the Public See It!”
November 2013: The Israel Antiquities Authority has returned the ossuary inscribed “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus” to Oded Golan.
Resources Mentioned in the Article
- ∙ BAS Library Forgery Trial Special Collection
∙ “Defendants Acquitted in Forgery Trial,” Biblical Archaeology Review, May/June 2012.