Skip to comments.Only Existing First Temple Relic May Be Forged
Posted on 03/26/2004 7:48:44 PM PST by blam
Last Update: 26/03/2004 08:08
Only existing First Temple relic may be forged
By Amiram Barkat, Haaretz Correspondent
Investigators for the Israel Antiquities Authority have been informed that a precious Ivory Pomegranate, on display at the Israel Museum since 1988, is a forgery.
On the basis of an inscription it had been dated from the period of the First Temple, 10th century BCE. However, it is information on the origin of the inscription that has raised doubts about the authenticity of the item. The Antiquities Authority refused to reveal the origins and nature of the information it holds.
The inscription, completed by archaeologists, is translated as "Belonging to the Temp[le of Yahweh, holy to the priests." The expert who confirmed the authenticity of the inscription is Andre Lemaire, who also recently asserted the authenticity of the "James Ossuary" which had an inscription attributing reference to the brother of Jesus - which proved to have been a forgery.
The Ivory Pomegranate was bought in 1988 for $600,000 from a contribution made by a Swiss donor. The sum spent and the circumstances of the find resulted in severe criticism, rejected by the museum that argued that the find is unique.
Then director of the Israel Antiquities Authority, Amir Drori, who authorized the purchase, was accused of encouraging, by this action, antiquities theft. Drori responded that the item is a national treasure.
Current director of the Israel Antiquities Authority, Shuka Dorfman, asked the Israel Museum recently to deliver the item for examinations by experts of the Antiquities Authority.
Sources at the Israel Museum expressed confidence in the item's authenticity. The Pomegranate is the final and most important of a number of items whose authenticity is doubted by the Antiquities Authority.
The investigation into suspected forged antiquities began following the discovery of the item known as the "Yehoash Inscription." Subsequently dozens of forged items have been discovered.
It is not believed that the forgers of these items are related to the Ivory Pomegranate. Members of the Antiquities Authority assigned to protecting antiquities from thieves and officers from the Jerusalem District Fraud Squad, are handling the investigation. According to the investigators, for the past 15 years a group of forgers has been identified as running a "factory" for forgeries.
The investigators maintain that at the center of the ring is the collector Oded Golan, the owner of the "James Ossuary" and the "Yehoash Inscription." Golan rejects all accusations, but the investigators say that they have many items that originated with the suspect and were sold through intermediaries.
One of the common denominators of all the items, investigators say, is that they were presented as originating from the First and Second Temple periods.
Amir Ginor, head of the Theft Prevention team at the Antiquities Authority, say that the forgeries were systematic. "The modus operandi was to create items of historical value on the basis of the assumption or knowledge that collectors will wish to purchase them."
The last I heard, testing was leading scholars to believe that it was authentic. By authentic I mean that the ossuary and the carving were from the first century, not that the inscription necessarily refers to Jesus' brother, James.
Yes, that's the last I've heard also.
The actual piece is less than two inches high.
The questionable inscription is across the widest part.
Ouch! After a couple of thing like that are you allowed to call yourself an expert anymore?
Yes, scripture, early church documents (including a quote from Pope Clement), and early secular documents confirm that Jesus had physical half-brothers.Matthew 13:55: Is this not the carpenters son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas?"There are other verses (I'll get them if you want) that refer to the disciples and then again to James, the brother of Jesus. That's proof that in these instances "brother" wasn't being used in the larger Christian sense.
Mark 6:3: Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?
From a secular viewpoint, the historian Josephus is clear on the fact that James is the physical (half) brother of Jesus. Josephus wrote on the death of James about 90 AD.
The idea that Jesus had no half-siblings developed several hundred years after the church was founded, and is in profound disagreement with the early teachings of the church.
Jesus had siblings. Mary was not forever virgin. It's rather clear from both the literal language and context of the Scriptures. Just a few examples:
Matthew 1:24-25: "Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not UNTIL she had brought forth her firstborn Son: and he called His name, Jesus!"
Matthew 13:55: "Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?"
Matthew 27:56: "Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's children."
Mark 3:31: "There came then His Brethren and His Mother, and standing without, sent unto Him calling Him."
John 2:12: "After this He went down to Capernaum, He, and His Mother, and His Brethren, and His disciples: and they continued there not many days."
If Jesus were the Son of God, as Christianity dictates, he would not also have been the son of Joseph; therefore, any issue arising from Joseph and Mary would have been half-siblings.
No, what I've pointed out is that there was no early tradition in the church that Mary was perpetually virgin. That "tradition" came about several hundred years later when certain elements of Gnosticism influenced the church. Some of the main sects of Gnosticism believed that sex was bad and the body was bad. Since Mary was good, by their reasoning, she must have never had sex.
The idea that Joseph had children by a previous marriage doesn't work either. The basics are that the kingship of Israel passed to the oldest surviving male child, even if through adoption. If, say, James had been the first child born to Joseph from an earlier marriage, then James would have inherited the "scepter of David," not Jesus.
For centuries many Christians who believed in the perpetual virginity of Mary have argued that the gospel references to brothers are really to his cousins. They base this on the idea that Hebrew uses the same word for brother and cousin but conveniently ignore the fact that one can discern the meaning through context. For example, when you go to a bar and say "I want a drink," the bartender understands it differently from, say, your 10-year old child coming in from the playground and saying "I want a drink" because of the context. The same word used in different contexts can mean different things.
Regardless, the gospels (with the possible exception of Matthew) were written in Greek, which does distinguish the two. The Greek word for cousin, anepsios, is actually used in the New Testament. The authors weren't doing a wooden "look it up the word dictionary" translation into Greek either. The apostle Paul mentions the brother(s) (adelphos)of the Lord in both Galatians and Corinthians, and there is absolutely no doubt that he was writing in Greek, which was probably his primary language. He described Barnabas as the cousin (anepsios) of Mark.
As I pointed out earlier, Josephus calls James the brother of Jesus, even though he could and did distinguish between brother and cousin in other passages.
Finally, as I have pointed out in other threads, Jesus' statments such as "Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother," are meaningless if brother and sister is replaced by cousin. The Bible is emphatic that Christians are the spiritual brothers and sisters of Christ, not his spiritual cousins.
Even conservative, devout Catholic scholars -- after finding their positions indefensible -- are beginning to accept that Jesus had siblings. That's what the scriptures teach, what early church documents teach, and what early historical documents teach. Again, I can provide linked cites to early writings if you wish -- most are on the internet.
Oops, forgot this one. Sorry. The evidence from scriptures comes from the fact that Jesus was concieved and born while Mary was a virgin. No one else in the history of mankind has been born that way. We therefore deduce that any other children Mary had were half-siblings of Jesus.
This is an old topic; just adding to the catalog, not sending a general distribution.
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