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Old 10-21-2002, 11:50 PM   #1
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Link to Jesus found?

I read this article on MSN's home page, and I thought it was pretty interesting:

WASHINGTON, Oct. 21 — A burial box that was recently discovered in Israel and dates to the first century could be the oldest archaeological link to Jesus Christ, according to a French scholar whose findings were published Monday. An inscription in the Aramaic language — “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus” — appears on an empty ossuary, a limestone burial box for bones.

ANDRE LEMAIRE SAID it’s “very probable” the writing refers to Jesus of Nazareth. He dates the ossuary to A.D. 63, just three decades after the crucifixion.

Lemaire, a specialist in ancient inscriptions at France’s Practical School of Higher Studies, published his findings in the November/December issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.

The Rev. Joseph Fitzmyer, a Bible professor at Catholic University who studied photos of the box, agrees with Lemaire that the writing style “fits perfectly” with other first century examples. The joint appearance of these three famous names is “striking,” he said.

“But the big problem is, you have to show me the Jesus in this text is Jesus of Nazareth, and nobody can show that,” Fitzmyer said.

Lemaire writes that the distinct writing style, and the fact that Jews practiced ossuary burials only between 20 B.C. and A.D. 70, puts the inscription squarely in the time of Jesus and James, who led the early church in Jerusalem.

All three names were commonplace, but Lemaire estimates only 20 Jameses in Jerusalem during that era would have had a father named Joseph and a brother named Jesus.
Moreover, naming the brother as well as the father on an ossuary was “very unusual,” Lemaire wrote. There’s only one other known example in Aramaic. Thus, this particular Jesus must have had some unusual role or fame — and Jesus of Nazareth certainly qualified, Lemaire concluded.

However, Kyle McCarter, a Johns Hopkins University archaeologist, said it’s possible the brother was named because he conducted the burial or owned the tomb.

The archaeology magazine said two Israeli government scientists conducted a detailed microscopic examination of the surface and the inscription, reporting last month that nothing undercuts first century authenticity.

Lemaire’s claim was attacked by Robert Eisenman of California State University, Long Beach, who unlike most scholars thinks that “Jesus’ existence is a very shaky thing.” Since Eisenman is highly skeptical about New Testament history, he considers the new discovery “just too pat. It’s just too perfect.”

EARLIEST KNOWN ARTIFACT FROM A.D. 125
Virtually all that is known about Jesus comes from the New Testament. No physical artifact from the first century related to him has been discovered and verified.

James is depicted as Jesus’ brother in the Gospels and head of the Jerusalem church in the Book of Acts and Paul’s epistles.
The first century Jewish historian Josephus recorded that “the brother of Jesus the so-called Christ, James by name,” was stoned to death as a Jewish heretic in A.D. 62. If his bones were placed in an ossuary the inscription would have occurred the following year, around A.D. 63.

Until now, the oldest surviving artifact that mentions Jesus is a fragment of chapter 18 in John’s Gospel from a manuscript dated around A.D. 125. It was discovered in Egypt in 1920.

There are numerous surviving manuscripts of New Testament portions from later in that century. Jesus was mentioned by three pagan authors in Rome in the early second century and by Josephus in the late first century.


OWNER KEEPING IDENTITY SECRET
The ossuary’s owner required Lemaire to shield his identity, so the box’s location was not revealed. Nor is anything known about its history over the past 19 centuries, one reason for McCarter’s caution.

Biblical Archaeology Review editor Hershel Shanks said skepticism is to be expected. “Something so startling, so earth-shattering, raises questions about its authenticity,” he said.

Shanks said the owner bought the box about 15 years ago from an Arab antiquities dealer in Jerusalem who said it was unearthed south of the Mount of Olives. The owner never realized its potential importance until Lemaire examined it last spring.

Lemaire, who was raised Roman Catholic, said his faith did not affect his judgment, since he studies inscriptions only “as a historian — that is, comparing them critically with other sources.”

The archaeology magazine is negotiating to display the box in Toronto during a major convention of religion scholars in late November, and possibly in the United States.


Any thoughts? comments?
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Old 10-22-2002, 12:04 AM   #2
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amazing, I'm not sure what to make of this! I'm sure we'll hear a lot more on this matter.
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Old 10-22-2002, 12:15 AM   #3
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Re: Link to Jesus found?

Quote:
Originally posted by nellie

Robert Eisenman of California State University, Long Beach, who unlike most scholars thinks that “Jesus’ existence is a very shaky thing.” Since Eisenman is highly skeptical about New Testament history, he considers the new discovery “just too pat. It’s just too perfect.”

This guy teaches at my alma mater, CSULB. He's a world reknown Dead Sea Scrolls expert, and fascinating. I went to a lecture series one afternoon that was given by some scholars that had traveled to the Dead Sea to do research with him. He was there, and the whole afternoon was really interesting. I'm sure a few here will dismiss him as an idiot because he dares to disagree with their faith, but his expertise can't be dismissed.
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Old 10-22-2002, 03:27 AM   #4
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it is so cool to read this...

i saw a bit of this on tv too.

its actually an incredible feeling, to me.

its nice to have something like this pop up every once in a while.

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Old 10-22-2002, 05:59 AM   #5
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Jesus is alive and well.

www.jesus.com
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Old 10-22-2002, 09:24 AM   #6
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There is a major reason to be skeptical, but, thankfully, modern science is very good at dating things. Why we must consider the possibility of it being a hoax is that medieval Christianity was very much concerned with visible signs of Jesus' existence, and so those in power would literally create visible signs so that they could keep control over the population.

Assuming it is real, though, has anyone really paid attention to the fact that James is listed as the *brother* of Jesus? There would go that idea that Mary never had sex...

Melon
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Old 10-22-2002, 09:32 AM   #7
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IF you go by the Bible, it does not say Mary did not ever have sex. She was a virgin when Jesus was conceived, but certainly after her and Joseph were married (after Jesus was born) they had other kids.

Anyway, I too am fascinated by this article. I can understand the skeptics, but am glad it was discovered and researched by such a credible guy. Hopefully it gives some nonbelievers a little more tangible evidence that Jesus was/is real!
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Old 10-22-2002, 11:59 AM   #8
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In a way, I find these types of discovery frustrating. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1. The burial box really doesn’t add to faith. Maybe I take this to an exteme (I am hesitant to visit the Holy Land because of the idolization of the places where events supposed took place).

All this discovery will do is highlight the tensions between iconoclastic driven denominations who treasure such artifacts and the “scholars” (such as those of the Jesus Seminar) who spend their life trying to scientifically disprove Jesus.

Blessings to all.
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Old 10-22-2002, 12:45 PM   #9
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while I agree that this would be a great find if proven correct, weren't the names Joseph, James and Jesus pretty common in Biblical times? I mean, I think there was one Jesus Christ but alot of guys named Jesus around back then.

As for the find, it seems a bit too easy and neat. And as I recall, there is speculation that Jesus had brothers and sisters. It would have been common at the time to have a large family. So it seems a little weird that Jesus would be the only brother mentioned? what about a possible Bob or Jimmy or Bill? Just because Jesus was the Savior doesn't mean they were unimportant brothers.
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Old 10-22-2002, 02:09 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by UltravioletU2
IF you go by the Bible, it does not say Mary did not ever have sex. She was a virgin when Jesus was conceived, but certainly after her and Joseph were married (after Jesus was born) they had other kids.

It's not so obvious to Catholics, I'd say. As far as I know, we consider Mary to be "ever-Virgin."
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Old 10-22-2002, 02:45 PM   #11
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Quote:
In a way, I find these types of discovery frustrating. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1. The burial box really doesn’t add to faith. Maybe I take this to an exteme (I am hesitant to visit the Holy Land because of the idolization of the places where events supposed took place).
good post nbcrusader


I’m am not a biblical scholar.

I think it is a complete waste of time.

The only thing people need to know about the Jesus-thing is to love one another. All the rest is politics.

Could this be legit? Is Jesus a historical figure? Maybe? Who cares?

Love one another, stop killing and asking for money in his name.

I am skeptical of this find because of its origins. No chain of custody? It appears mysteriously in recent times?

I put this along side with the “Shroud of Turin”.
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Old 10-22-2002, 04:44 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon


Assuming it is real, though, has anyone really paid attention to the fact that James is listed as the *brother* of Jesus? There would go that idea that Mary never had sex...

Melon
OK, Even the Catholic Church recognizes that James was the brother of Jesus. Mary had children after Jesus. If I can find my Catholic Bible somewhere in the area of the Book of James, it talks about the fact that James was his brother.


Peace to all.
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Old 10-22-2002, 04:47 PM   #13
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Originally posted by sharky
while I agree that this would be a great find if proven correct, weren't the names Joseph, James and Jesus pretty common in Biblical times? I mean, I think there was one Jesus Christ but alot of guys named Jesus around back then.
I read an article where they estimate that there is a one in 20 chance that the artifact that they have found is the real deal. If I can find the link again, I will put it up for you to get to it. The three names were quite common during this time period.

One thing that makes it seem legit is that it names the brother on it. This was not a common thing, which would make it seem there was a reason for naming Jesus on it.

TO NB and DEEP i give you two Nice posts people!
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Old 10-22-2002, 06:50 PM   #14
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The LA Times has a great article on this in today's edition. It's online, but they want you to register to access it. I already get the paper at home, but those of you who don't may want to check it out.
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Old 10-22-2002, 06:52 PM   #15
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I confess. It was me. I found it, scribbled "Jesus" on it with a Sharpie, and put it back.

Sorry.
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