Now that the ossuary (coffin) of Jesus' brother James has surfaced,
will we soon solve the riddle of the race of Jesus as well as determine those
among us who are of his lineage?
And more importantly, will these possibilities have an impact on the Catholic
Church and the conflict in the Middle East?
The ossuary of James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus has been found. Is
it possible that Jesus' brother's DNA can be extracted?
In one of those little articles that does not get a lot of attention in the
major newspapers around the world, there is a reference to the possibility that
the ossuary (coffin) of James, the brother of Jesus, has surfaced.
In these technological times, the next logical question is whether or not James' DNA can be
extracted from the ossuary. If the bones of James at one time occupied the
ossuary, then surely a microscopic examination of the inside of the box would
contain more than one or two cells from the remains of James. The rough
limestone of the box would surely contain deposits from the bones that at one
time resided in the box.
The importance of this is that we could then determine the racial lineage of
Jesus. And with modern DNA techniques and information, we could potentially
determine who is presently a descendant of the family of Jesus. Would it
not be interesting if we were to find that some present day Palestinians
were direct descendants of Jesus? How would that change the politics of
the Middle East?
Also consider the reality that the Catholic Church has many relics associated
with Jesus. What about the testing of those relics to gain a complete
picture of Jesus.
And to stretch the imagination a bit, consider that at some time in the
future the facial features of an individual can be derived from his or her DNA:
we could have a real picture of what Jesus actually looked like.
We have to ask ourselves why has this ossuary come to light at this
particular time in history. A time when we can check the DNA contents of
the box. A time when little George is about to inflame the Middle East
with a holy war for oil and potentially bring about the horrors of Armageddon.
The surfacing of this ossuary and the unprovoked revelation by North Korea
that it possesses nuclear weapons (which stopped little George in his "invade
Iraq" tracks) leaves one to question the timing of these events.
The question that we must ask is why now? And who is it that is causing
these events to surface at this particular time.
Let those who have eyes see and those who have ears hear.
October 22, 2002
Artifact said to be linked to Jesus
by Richard N. Ostling, AP
WASHINGTON (Oct. 21) -- An inscription on a burial artifact that was recently
discovered in Israel appears to provide the oldest archaeological evidence of
Jesus Christ, according to an expert who dates it to three decades after the
Writing in Biblical Archaeology Review, Andre Lemaire, a specialist in ancient
inscriptions at France's Practical School of Higher Studies, says it is very
probable the find is an authentic reference to Jesus of Nazareth.
The archaeology magazine planned to announce the discovery at a news conference
That Jesus existed is not doubted by scholars, but what the world knows about
him comes almost entirely from the New Testament. No physical artifact from the
first century related to Jesus has been discovered and verified. Lemaire
believes that has changed, though questions remain, such as where the piece with
the inscription has been for more than 19 centuries.
The inscription, in the Aramaic language, appears on an empty ossuary, or
limestone burial box for bones. It reads: ''James, son of Joseph, brother of
Jesus.'' Lemaire dates the object to 63 A.D.
Lemaire says the 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 he estimates that only 20 Jameses in
Jerusalem during that era would have had a father named Joseph and a brother
Moreover, naming the brother as well as the father on an ossuary was ''very
unusual,'' Lemaire says. 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 concludes.
It's impossible, however, to prove absolutely that the Jesus named on the box
was Jesus of Nazareth.
The archaeology magazine says two scientists with the Israeli government's
Geological Survey conducted a detailed microscopic examination of the surface
patina and the inscription. They reported last month that there is ''no evidence
that might detract from the authenticity.''
The ossuary's owner also is requiring Lemaire to shield his identity, so the
box's current location was not revealed.
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 that would have
occurred the following year, dating the inscription around A.D. 63.
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 and admits the joint appearance of these three
famous names is ''striking.''
''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 says.
The owner of the ossuary never realized its potential importance until Lemaire
examined it last spring. Hershel Shanks, editor of Biblical Archaeology Review,
himself saw the box Sept. 25.
Lemaire told The Associated Press the owner wants anonymity to avoid
time-consuming contacts with reporters and religious figures. The owner also
wants to avoid the cost of insurance and guarding the artifact, and has no plans
to display it publicly, he said.
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sexes) in our vision of Peace?
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