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Brother of Jesus - 2002-10-24

Now an archaeological discovery that biblical scholars are raving about. The Biblical Archeological Review, a respected journal, has published the work of a French scholar that possibly shows the first appearance of Jesus in an archaeological artifact. The owner of the artifact, who wants to remain anonymous, bought it in Jerusalem 15 years ago from an Arab antiquities dealer. He had no idea what he had until he invited a scholar over to take a look. Brian Purchia has more…

A stone box used in the First Century to bury people's bones. On one side of it, an inscription reads, in the ancient language of Aramaic -- often referred to as the language of Jesus – “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus.”

“The inscription is Ya 'a kov bar Yosef a khui Yeshua”

Hershel Shanks, editor of the Archaeology Review:

"It is the first appearance of Jesus in an archaeological discovery. This is the first archaeological attestation of Jesus, plus also of Joseph and James, which is kind of mind boggling."

The New Testament mentions that Jesus had a brother named James who was a leader in the early Christian community of Jerusalem.

Experts in language, scripts, and geology have studied the box. While it appears to be authentic there may be no way to prove that the Jesus mentioned here is the same Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth, worshiped by millions today. But the people studying it are quite sure that it is.

"It's very rare. And only one other case is the brother mentioned on it. The usual formula is Dick, son of James, something like this, not the brother."

While there may always be doubts about this container, the people who are studying it are excited about its potential.