James, the brother of Jesus and son of Joseph

discoveries Ecclesiology


Call me slow, but until today I had never heard of the ossuary of James. The what? It’s an ornate box that contains pieces of bone from deceased love ones. This one dates to around AD sixty something, and features the inscription “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus.”

It’s fairly obvious why this ruffles some Catholic feathers. Mary, Joseph’s wife, is said to have been a virgin her whole life by the Catholic Church, and James, one of Jesus’ “brothers,” is said to have been a cousin. Some Catholics, unsurprisingly, have chimed in with anyone who says that it is a forgery, but the evidence doesn’t look good for them here, and here the claim of a forgery is debunked. I guess Mary’s first name isn’t “The Virgin” after all. But then, a lot of people have been saying that for a while. They’re called Protestants.

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{ 1 comment… add one }
  • SpinyNorman May 27, 2006, 2:35 am

    It is an interesting find. It never occured to me before that it would be a problem for catholics as well as bible-debunkers. I find it to be an archeological curiousity and interesting support of biblical history, but not as an item to “convert the masses”. A guy in my church passed this information out last year at his job and was surprised when masses of co-workers were not converted on the spot. I think many christians hold these historical objects on too high a mountain.

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