A NEW PROPOSED TRANSLATION OF THE “JAMES OSSUARY” INSCRIPTION: JAQOB, SON OF JESHUA’S BROTHER JOSEPH OR JAQOB, SON OF JOSEPH, NEPHEW OF JESHUA


A new proposed translation of the “James ossuary” inscription: Jaqob, son of Jeshua’s brother Joseph or Jaqob, son of Joseph, nephew of Jeshua


Małgorzata Szewczenko

Emeritus Worker of University of Toronto, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario M5S 1A8, Canada


International Journal of Pain Research and Treatment

In the first part of this paper I recall the long and dramatic story of ossuary owner Mr Oded Golan. In 2003 Mr Golan was accused by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) of the crime of forgery of the second part of the Aramaic inscription on the long side of the ossuary, יעקובבריוסףאחוידישוע , translated by Prof. André Lemaire “James son of Joseph brother of Jeshua”. Between 2007 and 2012, a very detailed case conducted at the New Court in Jerusalem concluded that Mr Oded Golan was NOT GUILTY of forgery. During this case the authenticity of the entire Aramaic inscription was supported by new scientific evidence, including the presence of a biopatina (created by microorganisms living for centuries on the lime box) covering all walls and letters of the inscription. In the second part of this paper I propose a new translation of the inscription. The word “achui d” may have been mistranslated because brother translates to “ach” in Aramaic. Prof. Fitzmyer showed that these same words appear in a verse in the Dead Sea Scrolls found in cave 1, the Genesis Apocryphon (21:34–22:01) (QapGen, written in the 1st century BC). The verse mentions “Lot, son of Abram’s brother”, which corresponds to Genesis 14:12. According to Genesis 11:27, Terah had three sons: Abram, Nahor, and Haran. Haran was Lot’s father, and therefore Lot was Abram’s nephew, i.e. the son of Abram’s brother. This means that “achui d” is the word for “brother” in a genitive case that in English should be translated by name conversion as Lot, son of Abram’s brother Haran. It then follows that the inscription should be translated as Jaqob, son of Jeshua’s brother Joseph. This means that Jeshua and Joseph were brothers, and Jaqob was Jeshua’s nephew.


Keywords: James Ossuary; Aramaic inscription; Qumran Genesis Apocryphon; Targums; Jesus’ brothers/double cousins; biopatina.

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How to cite this article:
Małgorzata Szewczenko.A new proposed translation of the “James ossuary” inscription: Jaqob, son of Jeshua’s brother Joseph or Jaqob, son of Joseph, nephew of Jeshua. International Journal of Archaeological Research, 2019,1:2


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