Sunday, April 17, 2011

Oded Golan on the James ossuary and the Jehoash inscription

ODEN GOLAN has published a defense of the authenticity the James Ossuary inscription and the Jehoash/Joash inscription at the Bible and Interpretation website:
The Authenticity of the James Ossuary and the Jehoash Tablet Inscriptions – Summary of Expert Trial Witnesses

As a collector of antiquities for many decades who has seen tens of thousands of ancient pieces originated from the Land Of Israel, and based on the opinions I received from various experts with experience and understanding in numerous relevant areas who examined the items, I maintained that there is no foundation for the IAA's allegations that these items are forgeries. The authenticity of each one of these two inscriptions stands at the heart of this unique trial, and the Court is expected to render its decision on this issue.
Todd Bolen summarizes his argument (mainly involving the citation of authorities) about the James Ossuary text here. Golan, of course, is a defendant in the Israel forgery trial and so has his own reasons for wanting the inscriptions to be genuine. I don't have a strong opinion about the genuineness of the full inscription of the James Ossuary, although I am skeptical. I am very skeptical about the Jehoash inscription for reasons explained here.

I am not qualified to comment on the analysis of the patinas, except to note that in situations where experts disagree, it is difficult to reach firm conclusions. This discussion ultimately must be decided in the pages of peer-reviewed journals and monographs.

Speaking of which, has anyone ever mounted a peer-reviewed defense of the authenticity of either text on the basis of philology and palaeolography (i.e., arguments I can understand)? I'm not aware of any, but I haven't followed these stories terribly closely in the last few years. If the answer is no, that would make me doubt that there is a persuasive case to be made.

Background on the James Ossuary and the Jehoash inscription is here and here.