James and Jehoash
Excavator Shocked by IAA
I read with dismay your report about the Israel Antiquity Authority (IAA) committee on the James ossuary and the Jehoash tablet (“The Storm over the Bone Box,” September/October 2003). You cannot imagine how stunned I am. I think the IAA has gone way too far in this business. The IAA is a governmental agency, and intervening in academic debate is outside their mandate, which is to take care of antiquities in the ground or in their possession. Artifacts in private collections are out of their mandate as long as they were purchased before 1978. I am afraid that if they go on like this they will sooner or later appoint a committee to check if the Exodus was a fake story told to millions as true. It is totally an academic discourse, and governmental agencies should stay out of it.
The author is director of a major excavation in Israel.—Ed.