At the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in San Antonio last November, BAR organized a session entitled “The Forgery Crisis,” to deal with widespread claims that many well-known and important ancient inscriptions are in fact forgeries. To insure that all sides would be represented and heard, we invited five scholars to deliver papers, including Dr. Uzi Dahari, deputy director of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) and chairman of the IAA committee that had pronounced the now-famous James ossuary inscription (“James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus”) and the Jehoash inscription to be forgeries.a
Dr. Dahari concluded his talk with harsh criticism of BAR and its editor. In the interest of full disclosure, we offered to publish these remarks. Dr. Dahari refused to give us permission to publish his remarks because he would not publish anything in BAR. However, he did allow us to write a reporter’s account of his remarks, giving us a copy of his remarks for that purpose.
“Who appointed you, Mr. Shanks, to replace the official Christian Churches?” Dr. Dahari electrified the audience of scholars. “Why are they not interested in this relic?” he continued. “Probably because they are more serious and responsible than you.”