Pro and Con 1026

Posted 6-19-03

Incoming email, Re: "Shroud of Turin Painted By Bacteria From Dying Man's Body???"

http://www.fivedoves.com/letters/june2003/donnad617-2.htm
Donna Danna (17 June 2003)
---
Latest Theory -- Stephen Mattingly, Catholic microbiologist, believes the Turin shroud was 'painted' by bacteria from a dying man's body.

FULL STORY at http://www.guardian.co.uk/life/feature/story/0,13026,975225,00.html

My reply

If that was true, every shroud used would show the image of the dead person it covered. Yet, we have only found one, that of Jesus of Nazareth. Why? to demonstrate the special powers of the Son of God. There are no others like him.

Not only is his image on the shroud, the letters spelling out Nazareth are on the shroud by one leg. Did bacteria pick up those letters from a board that had been mounted on the cross above Jesus and later put by his leg in the tomb? I doubt it. Agape

Montreal museum to exhibit pieces of never-displayed Dead Sea Scrolls

By INGRID PERITZ, Toronto Globe and Mail 6/15/03
http://www.buffalonews.com/editorial/20030615/1025507.asp

MONTREAL - ...museum workers donned white gloves and spoke in reverential tones last week as they unveiled the centerpiece of an exhibit that opens in Montreal this week: pieces of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Offering a brief glimpse, officials from Montreal's Pointe-a-Calliere museum and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem literally lifted the lid on a section of the Isaiah scroll, one of the original seven scrolls discovered in a cave near the Dead Sea in 1947.

Deemed too fragile, it has never before been exhibited anywhere, including Israel. "It's one of the most important" of the Dead Sea Scrolls, said Michal Dayagi-Mendels, senior curator of archaeology of the Israel Museum....

In a coup, the relatively modest Pointe-a-Calliere archaeology museum in Old Montreal obtained three major sections of the Dead Sea Scrolls from the Israel Museum. The pieces are considered among the largest and best-preserved parts of the famed manuscripts....

The scroll of Isaiah, which dates to between the first century B.C. and the first century A.D., is viewed as significant because previously, the oldest Hebrew manuscripts of biblical books dated from the ninth century.

"This is an exceptionally important manuscript," Lawrence Schiffman, a professor at New York University and scholar of the Dead Sea Scrolls, said in an interview from New York.

The text in Isaiah very closely resembles today's Hebrew Bible, he said: "This is really, really, really direct. It shows the continuity of the biblical tradition."...

Incoming email, Re: Sin

I do believe that we must confess our sins, but to WHO? I know that we must confess it to the LORD, but there is a specific way...... please do read James 5:16, it must be in the PRESENCE OF A WITNESS!!!

My reply

James 5:16 is specifically talking about the elder's prayers for healing. Verses 14 and 15 say, "Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him."

The sick one's sins will be forgiven him, but what about the elders that might have committed sins? What do they have to do to be forgiven their sins so their prayers will 'availeth much'?

Verse 16 tells these ELDERS what to do to be forgiven their sins also. It says, "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of A RIGHTEOUS MAN availeth much." God hears what is said and forgives the sins. The elder that has been forgiven his sins is "A RIGHTEOUS MAN." His prayer availeth much.

I John 1:9 applies to believers in general. It says, "If we confess our sins, he ('God,' v.5, to whom we confess our sins) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins (known sins), and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (unknown sins).

King David said, "I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will CONFESS MY TRANSGRESSIONS UNTO THE LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah (pause and think of that)" (Psa. 32:5). Agape

Tiberias A Hoard of Metal Objects, including Rare "Jesus coins"

http://www.israel-mfa.gov.il/mfa/go.asp?MFAH0gbv0

Three large pottery jars from the Fatimid period (10th-11th century) were uncovered in 1998 during excavations at the southern end of ancient Tiberias. The jars, hidden under the floor of a building, contained some 1,000 artifacts, mainly of bronze, in an excellent state of preservation: candlesticks, bowls, cups, ewers, bottles, small boxes, incense burners, oil lamps, bells, small sculpted birds and snakes, and coins. The objects were made in a variety of casting and hammering techniques, and some bear intricate punched and engraved decorations and Arabic inscriptions.

The 82 bronze coins are of the anonymous folles type, meaning that they do not bear the image or name of the contemporary ruler, a relatively rare phenomenon. Fifty-eight of them bear the likeness of Jesus, some with Greek inscriptions, such as "Jesus the Messiah, the King of Kings" and "Jesus, the Messiah, the Victor."

This is the largest assemblage of metal artifacts and of "Jesus Coins" found to date in Israel. It is assumed that the treasure belonged to a Christian merchant or metalsmith. The reason why it was hidden is not known, but was probably related to the advance of the Crusaders, who conquered Tiberias in 1099.

Incoming email

Subject: How Old Is The Church?
Announcement: The Church is NOT yet 2,000 years old!

Let me explain.
When was the Church born?
Pentecost, A.D. 30.

What was the expected length of the Church Age?
According to many of the Church fathers and Jewish scholars, 2,000 years.

When might it be expected to end, if these things be true?
A.D. 2030.

This means we are not in the 3rd millennium of the Church Age.

From Adam to Abraham was 2,000 years.
From Isaac to Jesus was 2,000 years.
From the Apostles to now is 1,973 years.

Will 2030 be the beginning of the 7th millennium?

My reply

> > When was the Church born?
> > Pentecost, A.D. 30.

Things are not always super easy to figure out. This is so the wicked will not understand. Only the wise shall understand (Dan. 12:10). Isa. 28:13 explains why. It says, "the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken."

The apostles became part of the Body of Christ on May 29, 30 AD. However, wasn't Jesus the head of the Body of Christ at his birth? or when the wise men gave him kingly and priestly gifts?

> > What was the expected length of the Church Age?

2000 years, but it just might not start on May 29, 30 AD, and it might have the same amount of time as the 70th week of Dan. 9:27 added to it.

These are my opinions. Adam was born on Tishri 1 in BC 4044/4043. Just as the Second Adam (Jesus) was tested 40 days, the First Adam was tested 40 years.

The number 40 means testing and probation. That's why the Israelites were tested 40 years in the wilderness. These kings, Adam, Saul, David and Solomon were each tested 40 years. Jesus was tested 40 days. Adam was tested 40 years in Innocence.

When Adam was cast out of the Garden of Eden in BC 4004/4003, mankind began to be tested in a different way--as mortal and knowing both good and evil.

We know that a day can equal 1000 years. II Peter 3:8 says, "beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." Two of these great days (2000 yrs) seems to be an Age. There seem to be 3 Ages after Adam was cast out of the Garden. God's instructions to mankind differed in each Age.

In the next 2000 yrs, mankind was tested in the Age of the Gentiles. In the next 2000 yrs, mankind was tested in the Age of the Jews. In the next 2000 yrs, mankind was tested in the Age of the Church.

If the Age of the Gentiles began when Adam left the Garden in BC 4004/4003, the Age of the Church would have begun when the wise men give the Christ child kingly and priestly gifts in BC 4/3. This was when he was the designated King, the anointed One. This way, the Age of the Church would have ended in 1997/1998 AD.

It looks like the parable of the unfruitful fig tree ran for the next 4 years (1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002) (Luke 13:6-9). Jesus comes invisibly in each of the first 3 years to see if Israel (the fig tree) has put forth fruit. After being dug around and dunged the 4th year, the still unfruitful fig tree is to be cut down during the 70th Week of Daniel, which we call the Tribulation.

It seems like the Tribulation should start in 2003. If so, the Pre-Trib Rapture would also come in 2003. We will know soon.

> > From Adam to Abraham was 2,000 years.
> > From Isaac to Jesus was 2,000 years.
> > From the Apostles to now is 1,973 years.

Let's rethink this. According to Bible Chronology, from Adam's creation to the birth of Abraham (a Gentile that became a Jew) was 2008 years, when his father Terah was 130. The 2008 years are neat, for I expect Jesus, the Second Adam, to return in 2008 AD.

From Abraham's birth to the birth of Isaac was 100 years (Gen. 17:17). How can you skip over those years in your figures?

Here is some more food for thought. You counted years from the creation/BIRTH of Adam to the BIRTH of Abraham. You left out 100 years, but to be consistent, did you mean that from the BIRTH of Isaac to the BIRTH of Jesus was 2000 years?

Then to still be consistent, wouldn't you figure forward from the BIRTH of the head (Jesus) of the Body of Christ rather than skip to 30 AD, when the apostles became part of the Body of Christ?

I think that Jesus was born on Tishri 1 in BC 5 and was pointed out as the anointed one when the wise men gave him gifts fit for a king and priest, gold, frankincense and myrrh, in BC 4/3. Adding 2000 years would bring us to 1997/1998 (the Jewish 5758). The year 1998 was the 50th year since Israel became a nation in 1948 (the Jewish 5708). The Jews were to keep the Jubilee when they had been in the land 50 years.

Believers seem to have been on borrowed time since 1998. With all the talk of peace and security in the middle east, the Rapture seems close. Be ready. We should confess our sins to God, so he can cleanse us of all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Agape

From 5 Doves site

Aliyah Myers (17 June 2003)
"Re: Who's Right and Who's Wrong?.....Bob D"
---
You (Bob D) said: My hope has to be in Jesus Christ as I watch for His return, not in a specific time frame that an individual or group makes "Law." For all practical purposes. In a case like that, subtlety, Jesus Christ will be pushed to the background and the focused date will be placed in the foreground.

My (Her) response: It seems like you are trying to say that date-setters are time worshippers. I dont know where you might have got such reasoning from, but may I make it clear to you that when we watch dates we are not worshipping the dates as youre imagining, we are looking for CHRIST to come take us home on that day. WE ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO CHRIST AND NOT IDOLIZING A DATE. I find your post very troubling in that it brings so much discouragement and dampens our eagerness to watch for Christ return. Christ will NOT come on a day that will not be familiar to those of us who watch. Christ will come on a day that has already been established from old times. He will NOT come on just any day He feels like. If that was the case, then He would have died whenever He felt like it and resurrected whenever He felt like it and not necessarily on PASSOVER and WAVESHEAF, which were already established in old times before His birth. People think NUTS of date-setters, but that is very splendid with me because I wont be the one carried away by the flood(fire), it will be the antis that will be carried away. Also, just in case youre unaware, for me date-setting has more positive than negative aspects in that it keeps me VERY alert and FOCUSED for my Lords return.

I THESS. 5:4...."But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.

The DAY of the rapture should NEVER take the WATCHER unawares just as the above passage rightly puts it. It is those in DARKNESS that will be swept in the flood(fire).

You said: The truth of the matter is, we will not know when the Rapture is taking place until the very last second.

My response: That is VERY untrue!! I believe we are told to WATCH, BE READY, and STAY AWAKE a grand total of no less than 20 times, but I won't quote all of those verses here. Those who say not to be observant of possible times (be aware of dates) of our Lord Jesus Christ's return ... well, they may be ready, they may be watching, they may be awake, but it is my hope that they wake up even more, and watch a bit more.

Not only will the wise understand at the time of the end, [Dan 12:9,10], but scriptural examples show that we are admonished to know, and will be reprimanded as the Pharisees were, if we do not know the signs of the times, and the time of our visitation.

[Luke 19:41] And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,

[Luke 19:42] Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.

[Luke 19:43] For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side,

[Luke 19:44] And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.

[Mat 16:1] The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven.

[Mat 16:2] He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red.

[Mat 16:3] And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?

[1John 2:20] But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.

[Luke 8:17] For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad. Shalom, Aliyah!!

My comment, Re: Will we know when Christ will come upon us?

Thanks for your well-reasoned reply. I would just add Rev. 3:3. Jesus says to believers, "If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee." Turn it around. What if we do watch? Wouldn't Jesus not come on us as a thief, and wouldn't we know what hour Jesus will come upon us? Agape

Incoming email,. Re: James ossuary determined to have been "fake"

By Ellis Shuman, 6-18-03
http://web.israelinsider.com/bin/en.jsp?enPage=ArticlePage&enDisplay=view&enDispWhat=object&enDispWho=Article%5El2417&enZone=Culture&enVersion=0&

At a press conference held this morning in Jerusalem, officials from the Israeli Antiquities Authority announced that an ancient stone box with the inscription "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus," was a fake. The authority also determined that the "Joash inscription," a stone tablet with fifteen lines of ancient Hebrew detailing improvements at the Temple, was a forgery....

The inscriptions on both items were made "in the modern era," the Antiquities Authority announced....

My reply

Thanks for sending the article....I've been busy reading similar articles on this today. My quotes below are from these articles.

Yes. Both items may be fakes, but not everyone thinks so. One clue that I think favors "fake" over "real" is that both the James Ossuary and the Joash Tablet came from the same man, Oded Golan. However, Oded's statement that the Israel Antiquities Authority committee "approached the task with 'preconceived notions'" could be true.

"...the director of Israel's Antiquities Authority, Shuka Dorfman, called it a hoax" in the beginning. Also, naturally, the members of the Israel Antiquities Authority committees are Israelis.

"The epigraphic committee included Avigdor Victor Horwitz and Shmuel Ahituv of the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Ronny Reich of the Haifa University, Amos Kloner and Ester Eshel of the Bar-Ilan University, Hagai Misgav of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and Tal Ilan of the IAA. The physical examination committee included Yuval Goren of Tel-Aviv University, Avner Ayalon of the Geological Survey of Israel, Elisabetta Buaretto, head of the radiocarbon dating laboratory at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Jacques Neguer, head of IAA's stone restoration department, and Orna Cohen, an experienced archaeological restorer."

Israelis could be prejudiced against a Christian artifact. However, to balance that out, we have the Joash Tablet, a Jewish artifact. The committee is calling both fakes, and they may be right. I find the scientific explanation of the way the patina could be forged convincing, especially the following.

"The 'James Bond': a unique composite material that received this nickname from Goren since it was bonded onto the incised letters of the James Ossuary inscription, but wasn't found at any other place on the ossuary surface--or on any of the authentic ossuaries that the commission members had used as comparative examples."

"Based on these results and a combination of epigraphic and historical considerations, the commission concluded that both inscriptions are modern fakes, engraved on authentic artifacts and covered with a carefully prepared mixture to imitate patina and to make them look centuries old."

Hershel Shanks, editor of the Biblical Archaeology Review, "maintained that the specialists he relied on to authenticate the ossuary continue to believe it is authentic." Therefore, I am anxious to read the article in the BAR that is coming out Friday. Maybe we will get a balanced viewpoint on this. Please share any new articles you find with me. Agape

GOLD DUST AND JAMES BOND

6-18-03
http://www.archaeology.org/magazine.php?page=online/features/ossuary/index
Israel Antiquities Authority declares James Ossuary and Jehoash Inscription Fake...

A forthcoming article by Neil Asher Silberman and Yuval Goren in the September/October issue of ARCHAEOLOGY will report on the investigation, its background, and outcome. In the meantime, the IAA press conference has made the following details clear:

The scholars on IAA's scientific panel were divided into committees to investigate the epigraphic aspects of the inscriptions (letter forms, grammar, syntax) and to carry out a minute physical examination of the artifacts, including the patina that covered them. The epigraphic committee included Avigdor Victor Horwitz and Shmuel Ahituv of the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Ronny Reich of the Haifa University, Amos Kloner and Ester Eshel of the Bar-Ilan University, Hagai Misgav of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and Tal Ilan of the IAA. The physical examination committee included Yuval Goren of Tel-Aviv University, Avner Ayalon of the Geological Survey of Israel, Elisabetta Buaretto, head of the radiocarbon dating laboratory at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Jacques Neguer, head of IAA's stone restoration department, and Orna Cohen, an experienced archaeological restorer....

And what the members of the panel found were several unmistakable clues to some of the secret tricks of twenty-first-century antiquities forgery.

The verdict of the epigraphers with regard to the Jehoash Inscription was unanimous: all agreed that the numerous mistakes in grammar and eccentric mixture of letter forms known from other inscriptions made it clear that this was a modern forgery. The James Ossuary was a different matter. The epigraphers were divided about the authenticity of the first part of the inscription but in light of the results of the patina committee, they unanimously agreed that the entire inscription must have been modern. Thus in this case, it was geochemical and microscopic analysis--rather than scholarly erudition--that uncovered the truth.

Examination of a thin section of the chalk from which the James Ossuary had been carved indicated that it was of chalk limestone of the Menuha Formation of the Mount Scopus Group, which is fully consistent with the hundreds of authentic ossuaries that had been found in the Jerusalem area. But the earlier geological experts and the conservators at the Royal Ontario Museum had mentioned only a single kind of "cauliflower"-shaped patina. The geologists Goren and Ayalon, in fact, identified three distinct coatings on the surface of the ossuary:

A thin brown veneer of clay and other minerals cemented to the rock surface, presumably rock varnish created by living bacteria or alga over prolonged periods of time.

A crusty natural coating of patina (this was the "cauliflower") that formed over the rock surface due to the absorption or loss of various elements and minerals.

The "James Bond": a unique composite material that received this nickname from Goren since it was bonded onto the incised letters of the James Ossuary inscription, but wasn't found at any other place on the ossuary surface--or on any of the authentic ossuaries that the commission members had used as comparative examples.

The varnish covered large areas of the ossuary surface and the patina had burst through the varnish in many places. Both varnish and patina coated a rosette inscribed on the other side of the ossuary. But Goren and Ayalon's meticulous microscopic analysis showed that the letters of the entire Aramaic inscription "James, Son of Joseph, Brother of Jesus" were cut through the varnish, indicating that they were carved long--perhaps centuries after--the varnish-covered rosette.

Strangest of all was the "James Bond," the chalky material that coated the letters. It contained numerous microfossils called coccoliths, naturally occurring as foreign particles in chalk, but not dissolved by water. Hence it was clear that this was not a true patina formed by the surface crystallization of calcite, but rather powdered chalk--microfossils and all--that was dissolved in water and daubed over the entire inscription. Thus, the forger's technique was apparent: the James Ossuary was an authentic artifact on which a decorative rosette originally marked the "front" side. At some time long after the natural processes of varnish and patination in a damp cave environment had been completed, someone carved a series of letters through the natural varnish on the ossuary's "back" side. Then he or she covered the freshly cut letters with an imitation "patina" made from water and ground chalk.

Indeed method of imitating ancient patina by preparing and applying a carefully designed mixture of generally similar material was also evident inside and between the letters of the Jehoash Inscription. The results obtained by Ayalon made that clear. His study concentrated on a telltale clue to the nature of authentic ancient patina: its isotopic ratio of oxygen provides a distinctive indication of the qualities of the water with which the patina was produced.

Calcite (calcium carbonate, CaCO3) is the primary component of naturally formed patina on buried archaeological artifacts in calcareous areas, such as the Jerusalem region. This is due to the fact that calcite dissolves in groundwater. With the loss of CO2 from the groundwater by evaporation, the calcite crystallizes again on the stone's surface (just like the "stone" that collects inside a tea kettle). The oxygen within this recrystallized calcareous coating--the patina--has the same isotopic ratio as the water from which it was produced. And that value can even be used to determine the temperature at which the crystallization took place.

Ayalon determined in his analysis that while the calcite of the patina from the uninscribed surface of the James ossuary, and indeed the surfaces and inscriptions of other authentic ossuaries that he examined, had ratios that were normal for average ground temperature of the Jerusalem vicinity, the ratios of the "James Bond"--that strange mixture that covered only the letters of the inscription--was entirely different. In fact, they suggested that the crystallization took place in heated water, not the "cave environment" that the earlier geologists had claimed. The evidence pointed to an intentional faking of the patina over the letters of the "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus" inscription--and nowhere else....

Indeed, the fake patina on the Jehoash Inscription shared the most telltale characteristics of the "James Bond" on the James Ossuary." The presence of undissolved microfossils in the mixture showed that it was made from powdered chalk, not natural crystallization and its isotopic ratios of oxygen for the calcite in the fake patina of the Jehoash inscription indicated again the crystallization was produced in hot water--not in the ground.

Based on these results and a combination of epigraphic and historical considerations, the commission concluded that both inscriptions are modern fakes, engraved on authentic artifacts and covered with a carefully prepared mixture to imitate patina and to make them look centuries old.

Burial Box Not from Jesus Brother, Experts Say

By Corinne Heller, 6-18-03
http://reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml;jsessionid=OVGDQIDAIJQMYCRBAEZSFFA?type=scienceNews&storyID=2949428

...The committee's report said the inscription of the "James Ossuary" cut through the stone's patina, or natural fossilized sheen, and appeared to be in modern text, written by someone attempting to reproduce ancient biblical fonts....

GOLD DUST AND JAMES BOND

6-1-03
http://www.archaeology.org/magazine.php?page=online/features/ossuary/index

Israel Antiquities Authority declares James Ossuary and Jehoash Inscription Fake....

A forthcoming article by Neil Asher Silberman and Yuval Goren in the September/October issue of ARCHAEOLOGY will report on the investigation, its background, and outcome. In the meantime, the IAA press conference has made the following details clear:

The scholars on IAA's scientific panel were divided into committees to investigate the epigraphic aspects of the inscriptions (letter forms, grammar, syntax) and to carry out a minute physical examination of the artifacts, including the patina that covered them. The epigraphic committee included Avigdor Victor Horwitz and Shmuel Ahituv of the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Ronny Reich of the Haifa University, Amos Kloner and Ester Eshel of the Bar-Ilan University, Hagai Misgav of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and Tal Ilan of the IAA. The physical examination committee included Yuval Goren of Tel-Aviv University, Avner Ayalon of the Geological Survey of Israel, Elisabetta Buaretto, head of the radiocarbon dating laboratory at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Jacques Neguer, head of IAA's stone restoration department, and Orna Cohen, an experienced archaeological restorer.

The geologists Goren and Ayalon, in fact, identified three distinct coatings on the surface of the ossuary:

A thin brown veneer of clay and other minerals cemented to the rock surface, presumably rock varnish created by living bacteria or alga over prolonged periods of time.

A crusty natural coating of patina (this was the "cauliflower") that formed over the rock surface due to the absorption or loss of various elements and minerals.

The "James Bond": a unique composite material that received this nickname from Goren since it was bonded onto the incised letters of the James Ossuary inscription, but wasn't found at any other place on the ossuary surface--or on any of the authentic ossuaries that the commission members had used as comparative examples. The varnish covered large areas of the ossuary surface and the patina had burst through the varnish in many places. Both varnish and patina coated a rosette inscribed on the other side of the ossuary. But Goren and Ayalon's meticulous microscopic analysis showed that the letters of the entire Aramaic inscription "James, Son of Joseph, Brother of Jesus" were cut through the varnish, indicating that they were carved long--perhaps centuries after--the varnish-covered rosette. ...

Strangest of all was the "James Bond," the chalky material that coated the letters. It contained numerous microfossils called coccoliths, naturally occurring as foreign particles in chalk, but not dissolved by water. Hence it was clear that this was not a true patina formed by the surface crystallization of calcite, but rather powdered chalk--microfossils and all--that was dissolved in water and daubed over the entire inscription. Thus, the forger's technique was apparent: the James Ossuary was an authentic artifact on which a decorative rosette originally marked the "front" side. At some time long after the natural processes of varnish and patination in a damp cave environment had been completed, someone carved a series of letters through the natural varnish on the ossuary's "back" side. Then he or she covered the freshly cut letters with an imitation "patina" made from water and ground chalk....

The box was originally tested in Israel by scientists at the Geological Survey Group, who judged it to be about 2,000 years old, and carved from Jerusalem limestone. The Antiquities Authority committee suggests that it's possible the stone from which it was hewn originated in Cyprus or northern Syria....

Bible-Era Artifacts Highlight Archaeology Controversy

By L. Peat O'Neil, 6-18-03
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/04/0418_030418_bibleartifact.html

...Robert Eisenman, a professor of religion at California State University, Long Beach, cautions that curators and scientists have to be extremely careful when evaluating new items with handwriting or other supposedly datable indications. All artifacts with text involve a certain amount of analysis, including radiocarbon analysis. Eisenman says he is concerned about the preconceptions held by people involved in such analysis. "Such preconceptions are very worrisome," he said. "For instance paleography [the study of ancient writing and inscriptions] is being used now to authenticate all kinds of different objects. It was used on the Dead Sea Scrolls to make all sorts of extravagant claims that were often at odds with the internal evidence or what the texts themselves said. These are not exact sciences. Yet the public has been given the impression that they are, when in fact they are extremely questionable," said Eisenman....

Sharp surface edges are subjected to abrasion, wear, and corrosion. Areas on the box, such as the chiseled edge-trim groove demonstrate a high level of deterioration. Yet, the ossuary is marked with surprisingly sharp-edged and sharp-bottomed incisions in most of the letters of the first four words. The only letters that look authentic are the Shin, Vav and Ain of "YESHUA." They have the weathered-look with round edges, patina, and are crossed with service scratches, stated Eylon. .

The Temple Stone

By Rabbi Chaim Richman
http://www.templeinstitute.org/current-events/TempleStone.html

Update 6/11/03: While the Israel Geological Institute continues to maintain that the stone is authentic, a panel of experts recently convened by the Israel Antiquities Authority considers the stone to be a forgery....

It should be noted that many secular archeologists have long opposed any attempt at validating the Bible as a record of true history, but the scholars of Israel's Geological Institute apparently have no such agenda....

"Jesus Box" Is a Fake, Israeli Experts Rule

By Hillary Mayell, 6-18-03
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/06/0618_030618_jesusbox.html

There have been biblical scholars questioning the authenticity of the so-called Jesus box from the get-go. Yesterday the Israel Antiquities Authority issued a report calling the box a fake.

Others disagree, and the controversy is unlikely to be resolved anytime soon.

"I think what we have here is a case of dueling experts," said Steven Feldman, managing editor of Biblical Archaeology Review, the journal which first reported the find. "I don't think we've heard the last of this story. So far three groups of specialists have examined this. The Geological Survey of Israel thought the inscription was ancient, as did the Royal Ontario museum, which did extensive testing. The group with the Antiquities Authority thought it an inscription in modern times. I think it needs more evaluation, and hopefully some kind of consensus will emerge about it."

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