After a decade of inquiry, a seven-year long trial and a March 14th, 2012 verdict declaring defendants Oded Golan and Robert Deutsch not guilty on all counts of forgery, the James Ossuary forgery trial is not over yet. This morning, Jerusalem District Court Judge Aharon Farkash gave the Israeli government 30 days to support its claim to retain the James Ossuary, Jehoash Tablet and other Israeli antiquities. After the verdict was given, Israel Antiquities Authority prosecutor Dan Bahat petitioned against the return of artifacts to collector Oded Golan, stating that they should be confiscated by the government. After the government brief is filed in the upcoming 30 days, Golan will have 15 additional days to reply before the court makes a final decision.
The initial verdict found Oded Golan guilty of three minor non-forgery claims associated with the case. He was sentenced to one month in jail and was given a 30,000 shekel fine today, equivalent to about $8000. Golan will not have to serve any of the prison sentence, due to time served at the beginning of the case. While Judge Farkash previously suggested that the IAA was going over the top when pushing for maximum sentencing for Oded Golan, * today’s verdict implied a new relationship between the Israeli government and collectors. The decision appears to suggest that collectors, like antiquities dealers, should be regulated by the government.
** The Troubled Return of the James Ossuary
Biblical Archaeology Review and Bible History Daily have published an extensive collection of articles and blogposts on the forgery trial. Read BAR editor Hershel Shanks’s authoritative post-verdict analyses in the BHD post “Verdict: Not Guilty.”
Get the complete picture of the verdict through Bible History Daily’s “James Ossuary Forgery Trial Resources Guide. ”
Download a FREE eBook “James, Brother of Jesus: The Forgery Trial of the Century” featuring BAR editor Hershel Shanks’s post-trial analyses along with the original scholarly publications on several of the alleged forgeries.