Defendants Oded Golan and Robert Deutsch were cleared of all counterfeiting charges by Israeli Judge Aharon Farkash.
The most famous of the objects accused of being forgeries is an inscription on an ossuary or box of bones that reads "James the son of Joseph, brother of Jesus." He received his first publication in the journal Biblical Archeology Review ) on October 21, 2002. The next day he was on the front page of almost every newspaper in the world, including the New York Times and Washington Post.
The judge cleared the accused of all charges of forgery.
Let us consider the accusation about the ossuary with the inscription "James the son of Joseph, brother of Jesus." All (without exception) agree that the ossuary itself is authentic and ancient (first century). The question is whether the inscription in it is forged, or more specifically, whether the phrase "brother of Jesus" was recently added to the old inscription "James the son of Joseph."
The inscription "James the son of Joseph, brother of Jesus" in the Ossuary of James is the best known of the case. Paleographic analyzes and the existence of ancient patina suggest that the inscription is authentic.
The first stop in any investigation on this question would be at the door of paleographers - scholars who can date and authenticate the inscriptions of certain specific historical periods based on the style and position of the letters. In this case, the inscription was authenticated by two of the world's greatest authorities in Palaeography at the present time, as previously mentioned, Andre Lemaire of the Sorbonne University and Ada Yardeni of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
What is even more significant is that no paleographer of any reputation has suggested that this inscription may be a forgery. There is no "other side of the issue," speaking in terms of Palaeography.
Nor is the supposedly scientific charge upheld. Professor Yuval Goren of Tel Aviv University said he had found what he called the "James Bond", which covered the inscription to conceal evidence of forgery. The "James Bond" was, he said, a mixture of limestone and hot water that formed a false patina. However, it was discovered there was no way to make the hypothetical mixture of Goren fix on the surface of the Ossuary without the addition of an acid; traces of it would be found - and they were not there. This so-called James Bond "explanation" is so fragile that it can be removed with a toothpick; She was ill "washed up". Yuval Goren himself admitted that his "James Bond" could be the result of cleaning the ossuary (some traders routinely wash objects with hot water to highlight inscriptions).
More important than this is that the original ancient patina can be seen in various parts of the inscription, including one of the letters of the word "Jesus". Before the trial, Yuval Goren had stated that there was no ancient patina in the inscription. When he was presented on the cross-examination with new photos taken by one of the defendant's experts, Professor Goren was stunned and asked for a recess to allow him time to examine the box itself rather than the photos. He returned the next day and admitted in court that there was, in fact, original old patina in some of the parts of the inscription. However, he attempted to explain this, suggesting that the forger had incorporated ancient scratches into the naturally formed patina, pointing this as evidence of the forged parts of the inscription. About this, Hershel Shanks, editor of the journal Biblical Archaeological Review, said: "If anyone believes this, I'd like to say that I own a public bridge and I'd like to sell it a lot cheaper. " In fact, the presence of this original ancient patina throughout the inscription was observed long before the judgment, by Orna Cohen, one of the members of the committee of the Antiquities Authority of Israel, but no one paid attention to this. The IAA knew where it wanted to go.
There are other, simpler reasons for believing that the inscription is not a forgery. Oded Golan had owned the James Ossuary since the 1970s. He proved this with old photographs authenticated by a former FBI agent in which a type of paper is used that is no longer used at a later date. And Golan has never tried to sell the ossuary or to disclose the inscription. He strongly states that he did not even know that the New Testament mentions James as the brother of Jesus, or as he said, "I never knew that God could have a brother." Even more understandably, he had no idea that the name Ya'acov as written in the ossuary) and Jacob (for any Israeli) was translated as "James" in the New Testament in English."