The Bone Box redux
- The New Yorker dated April 12, 2004 contains a feature article entitled,
"Written in Stone," by David Samuels. It reviews the whole issue of the
"James ossuary," with mention of all the principal players, including
Rochelle Altman's allegation that the inscription was a forgery. The
article also reviews the controversial "Jehoash Tablet" which supposedly
provided archaeological evidence for Jehoash's restoration of King
Solomon's temple, which some people might use to vindicate Jewish claims to
the Temple Mount, even though the provenance of the tablet was uncertain.
This led to an investigation by Amir Ganor, chief of the Israel Antiquities
Authority's theft investigation unit. Ganor's investigations led to Oded
Golan, the antiquities dealer who owned the James Ossuary. Golan also
turned out to be the source of the Jehoash Tablet.
There are all kinds of interesting parallels in this detective story. Golan
was the source of both the Jehoash Tablet and the James Ossuary. Both were
purchased on the black market, so their original provenance was unknown.
And, strangely enough, both tablet and ossuary suffered damage in shipment.
The Jehoash Tablet was denounced as a forgery by Yosef Naveh, and the James
ossuary was denounced as a forgery by Altman. Altman apparently was also
suspicious of the Jehoash Tablet.
These feature pieces in the New Yorker can be longish, so I won't try to
summarize the whole thing. But it is good enough so that those on this list
who were interested in the James Ossuary might want to take a look at this
Robert M. Schacht, Ph.D.
Northern Arizona University