Friday, December 24, 2004

Two steps forward, one step back -- it's not exactly a miracle, but apparently it wasn't real

The Israeli Ministry of Justice has announced that charges of forgery will be brought shortly against the mysterious antiquities collector, Oded Golan, alleging that he forged the inscription on the 'Jesus Ossuary'. This object is a stone container, used for burial of bones, which contained the inscription (in Aramaic) "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus". Since its discovery, this has been the subject of fierce controversy, especially in the feisty journal the 'Biblical Archaeology Review'.
The other sensational 'discovery' associated with Golan, the 'Jehoash tablet', is also regarded with very high suspicion by scholars.
All of this, plus this week's 'verdict' on the First Temple 'pomegranate' (and the accompanying comments on the authenticity of other items in the Israel Museum and other collections) will inevitably be used for anti-Israel political purposes, discrediting archaeology as revealing the historic Jewish connection to Israel.
The truth is that every antiques/antiquities market, anywhere, is flooded with fakes and forgeries, including the market in Jewish antiques and antiquities. (In the Judaica market, kiddush cups, besamim boxes and 'Marrano' pieces are notorious.) As we have said before - 'caveat emptor' -'let the buyer beware'.

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