Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Jury Is Still Out On Question Of Forgeries


Complete article

Despite the recent verdict of Judge Aharon Farkash of the Jerusalem District Court acquitting accused Israeli forgers Oded Golan and Robert Deutsch, the jury is still very much out on the actual authenticity of the subject antiquities they were accused of forging. After a seven-year trial with 120 sessions where the judge heard 126 witnesses and dozens of experts, producing 12,000 pages of testimony with a final 475-page verdict, the world seems to be no closer than before to determining the truth about the antiquities in question. Among them, the James Ossuary inscription, the Jehoash Tablet inscription, and the diminutive Ivory Pomegranate inscription, await further research and testing before most or all experts can agree that they are, in fact, what they have been purported to be...

Close-up of the Aramaic inscription: “Ya'akov bar Yosef akhui di Yeshua” (“James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus”, found on an ancient ossuary (bone box, used to encase the collected bones of the deceased after the initial decay of the body after death), purportedly originally found in the Jerusalem area. The find made headlines as the first artifact found to show physical evidence of the existence of Jesus of Nazareth, his brother James, and father Joseph, as recorded in the Gospels of the New Testament. Paradiso, Wikimedia Commons.

The Ivory Pomegranate, a small decorative object said to have topped a priestly staff. Made of Hippopotamus bone, it bears an inscription, "Belonging to the Temple [literally 'house'] of ---h, holy to the priests" or "Sacred donation for the priests of [or 'in'] the Temple [literally 'house'] of ---. When it was discovered, it was thought to be part of the High Priest sceptre used within the Holy of Holies section of the Jerusalem First Temple (the Temple of Solomon). The bone was once considered a genuine artifact proving the existence of Solomon's Temple, but has since been found to be 300 to 400 years older than the first temple and the inscription has been challenged as a modern forgery due to the Hebraic inscription allegedly being made after it had broken into 1/3 of its original size. Wikimedia Commons

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