Abstract: Ossuaries and the Burials of Jesus and James


In November 2002, the existence of a sensational archaeological artifact was announced to the world: a small stone box called an ossuary inscribed with the name of James, the brother of Jesus. And in spring 2007, yet another sensational claim made headlines around the world: the supposed identification of Jesus’ family tomb in Jerusalem’s Talpiyot neighborhood. In this slide-illustrated lecture, I discuss these finds within the context of ancient Jewish tombs and burial customs in Jerusalem in the time of Jesus (late Second Temple Period).  I conclude that the so-called Talpiyot tomb could not have belonged to Jesus’ family, and the so-called James ossuary never contained the remains of Jesus’ brother James the Just.

Suggested Bibliography/Websites
Jodi Magness, “Ossuaries and the Burials of Jesus and James,” Journal of Biblical Literature 124.1 (2005), pp 121-154

Jodi Magness, “Has the Tomb of Jesus been Discovered?”, http://www.archaeological.org/webinfo.php?page=10408

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