The Daily News article continues: “Some experts still maintain the box is a fake. Other experts and [owner Oded] Golan are convinced it is the real thing.” This part of the article is only half right:
No experts maintain the box is a fake. All acknowledge the box, or ossuary, is genuine and from the period when Jesus lived. The inscription is what is at issue—and, even then, only the last part of it: “brother of Jesus.” The government’s criminal complaint itself recognizes that the first part of the inscription is authentic and charges only that “brother of Jesus” has been recently forged.
So what do the experts say? Two world-class experts on inscriptions from this period, André Lemaire of the Sorbonne and Ada Yardeni of Hebrew University, among others, believe the inscription is authentic and not a modern forgery.
There is something else: Oded Golan has owned the ossuary for nearly 25 years. He bought it from an Arab antiquities dealer for a few hundred dollars. He had no idea of its significance; as he says, “I never knew that Jesus had a brother.” The Antiquities Authority agrees that Golan has owned the artifact since sometime prior to 1978. An Israeli law provides that all antiquities discovered after 1978 belongs to the state. If the Antiquities Authority had any indication that Golan had acquired the ossuary after that date, it would never have returned it to him—at least not without a fight, as it is presently fighting to keep the so-called Yehoash Inscription. The Yehoash Inscription was also in Golan’s possession and the prosecution claimed it too was a forgery. Even though he was acquitted of the forgery charge, the government is refusing to return the Yehoash Inscription because, unlike the ossuary, the Yehoash Inscription was a recent acquisition—since 1978. That Golan, as the government now agrees, owned the ossuary for a quarter of a century without appreciating the text of the inscription also speaks to its authenticity.
Although Golan now has possession and ownership of the ossuary, he has no intention of selling it, he told BAS. He wants it to be exhibited so that the public can see what all the fuss is about.
Get the complete picture of the verdict through Bible History Daily’s “James Ossuary Forgery Trial Resources Guide. ”
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