Biblical Archaeology Review 30:1, January/February 2004
Ossuary Update

Final Blow to IAA Report

Flawed Geochemistry Used to Condemn James Inscription

By James A. Harrell

Sorbonne paleographer André Lemaire recently analyzed in these pages the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) report that declared the James ossuary inscription (“James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus”) to be a modern forgery.a Lemaire considered various aspects of the IAA report, such as paleography and orthography, and convincingly found the report deeply flawed.

As Lemaire is not a geologist, however, his analysis naturally excluded the part of the IAA report dealing with the geological aspects of the ossuary and its inscription. And, in fact, the individual statements of the committee members clearly show that most of them were driven to their conclusion by the evidence put forward by the two scientists on the committee.

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