Archaeological Evidence of
by Patrick Young, Ph.D.
While Jesus Christ came to earth to become the suffering Christian Messiah nearly 2000 years ago, there still is very little archeological indication of His life. Written evidence shows Jesus was mentioned by three early second century pagan Roman authors and by Josephus, the first century Jewish historian. However, the primary written historical documentation of Jesus still resides in the New Testament gospels of the Bible.
Recently, a French paleographer named Andre Lemaire discovered an empty ossuary under private ownership that appears to provide archaeological evidence for the existence of Jesus 1. Jewish burial practices at the time placed bodies in burial caves until the flesh had decayed from their bones. The bones were then taken from these caves and placed in ossuaries (burial boxes) to prepare them for their final-resting place. Ossuaries were used by the Jewish people between ~20BC and 70 AD. It is not known why this practice started or stopped, but since they were used only within a specific time period, ossuaries can provide archaeologists with a dating benchmark to the early New Testament era of Jewish history.
The ossuary that Lemaire discovered contains an Aramaic inscription carved on its side that reads, "Ya'akov bar Yosef akhui di Yoshua." Translated, this inscription says "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus." The ossuary is dated to be made in ~63 AD. A remarkable discovery since Josephus says James (Jesusí half brother) was stoned to death in front of Herodís temple as a Jewish heretic in 62 AD. Microscopic examination of the Aramaic inscription also confirms a writing style used only in the 10 Ė70 AD timeframe2.
Assuming authenticity, the ossuary is further confirmation of the inerrancy of the Bible and becomes the oldest archeological proof for the existence of Jesus Christ the Messiah.
Lemaire, A. 2002. Burial box of James the brother of Jesus. Biblical Archaeology Review. Volume 6.
Patrick H. Young is a resident of Central Ohio. He has a Ph.D. in Chemistry and been employed in industry as a research chemist and materials scientist for over 17 years. He has a website at creationists.org/patrickyoung.html and his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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