Tuesday, October 22, 2002

History&Today from

A nondescript limestone box, looted from a Jerusalem cave and held secretly in a private collection in Israel, carries an inscription that could be the earliest known archaeological reference to Jesus, according to new research released yesterday. The box, an ossuary used at the time of Jesus to hold bones of the deceased that dates to about 60 A.D., has almost no ornamentation except for a simple Aramaic inscription: Ya 'a kov bar Yosef a khui Yeshua -- "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus." Andre Lemaire, a French philologist and epigrapher who is the first scholar known to have studied the box, believes the inscription refers to Jesus of Nazareth.

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