Abstract: Ossuaries and the Burials of Jesus and James

Lecturer: Jodi Magness

In November 2002, the existence of a sensational archaeological artifact was announced to the world: a small stone box called an ossuary inscribed with the name of James, the brother of Jesus. And in spring 2007, yet another sensational claim made headlines around the world: the supposed identification of Jesus’ family tomb in Jerusalem’s Talpiyot neighborhood. In this slide-illustrated lecture, I discuss these finds within the context of ancient Jewish tombs and burial customs in Jerusalem in the time of Jesus (late Second Temple Period).  I conclude that the so-called Talpiyot tomb could not have belonged to Jesus’ family, and the so-called James ossuary never contained the remains of Jesus’ brother James the Just.

Suggested Bibliography/Websites
Jodi Magness, “Ossuaries and the Burials of Jesus and James,” Journal of Biblical Literature 124.1 (2005), pp 121-154

Jodi Magness, “Has the Tomb of Jesus been Discovered?”, http://www.archaeological.org/webinfo.php?page=10408

Featured Lecturer

Michael Laughy is with the Department of Classics at Washington and Lee University, and holds his degrees from the University of California, Berkeley (Ph.D.), Washington University in St. Louis, and... Read More

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