The Brother of Jesus: The Dramatic Story & Meaning of the First Archaeological Link to Jesus & His Family

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9780060556600: The Brother of Jesus: The Dramatic Story & Meaning of the First Archaeological Link to Jesus & His Family

The first definitive account of what scholars and the media are calling 'the most important archaeological discovery' about Jesus and his family.

This is the definitive story of the recent discovery of the first–century ossuary (limestone bone box) with the legend 'James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus', and its implications for understanding Jesus, his family (mother, father, brothers), his followers, the first Christians and the Jewish Christian movement in Jerusalem that James led. This ossuary is the first ever archaeological discovery directly confirming the existence of Jesus, and his relationship to his father, Joseph, and brother, James, who became the leader of the important Jewish Christian community in Jerusalem. No one is as qualified and well connected to recount the discovery and its authentication as Hershel Shanks, whose magazine first broke the story.

"A scientific detetective story with extremely high religious stakes."

Time

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Review:

Before lay readers can grasp the significance of this book, they’ll need a little historical reference. In the time of Jesus, the Jews of Jerusalem often buried their dead in tombs. After a year, when the flesh had disintegrated, it was customary to gather the bones and place them in a small limestone chest called an ossuary. Sometimes the name of the deceased would be inscribed onto the outside of the box. Flash forward to the spring of 2002 when Andre Lemaire, a specialist in ancient texts, was asked to read the Aramaic inscription on an ossuary that was owned by a collector in Israel. When Lemaire translated the inscription--"James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus"--he knew he had just stumbled upon an artifact in the same caliber as the lost Ark of the Covenant.

Just as this artifact is now in safe hands, so is the amazing story of its discovery. Co-authors Hershel Shanks (The Mystery and Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls) and Ben Witherington III (The Jesus Quest) are esteemed scholars as well as riveting storytellers. They expertly recount the exciting moments of discovery and the darker moments of despair (at one point the ossuary is improperly shipped and breaks into five pieces). They build a convincing case against its forgery and offer a flourishing finish in which they delve into the life of James, who was a linking force between the Jews and Christian of the first millennium, and could possibly continue that role into the second millennium. --Gail Hudson

About the Author:

Hershel Shanks is the premier figure in communicating, through his magazines, books, and conferences, the world of biblical archaeology to general readers. Hershel Shanks is "probably the world's most influential amateur Biblical archeologist," declares New York Times book critic Richard Bernstein. Shanks was also a leading figure in making the complete Dead Sea Scrolls available to the world. He is the editor of the Biblical Archaeology Review, Bible Review, Archaeology Odyssey, and Moment. He is the author and editor of several major books on the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jerusalem, and biblical archaeology, including Understanding the Dead Sea Scrolls, The Mystery and Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Ancient Israel: From Abraham to the Roman Destruction of the Temple, Christianity and Rabinnic Judaism, The Search for Jesus, Recent Archaeology in the Land of Israel, Archaeology and the Bible, and Jerusalem: An Archaeological Biography. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Ben Witherington III is professor of New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary. The author of more than thirty books, including The Brother of Jesus, he has twice won the Christianity Today award for one of the best biblical studies books of the year, and he has presented seminars for churches, colleges, and biblical meetings not only in the United States but also in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. Witherington writes for many church and scholarly publications, is a regular contributor to Christianity Today and Beliefnet.com, and has been featured widely in the national media.

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Book Description HarperSanFrancisco, San Francisco, 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. First Edition.. 226 pages. Hardcover with dustjacket. Like New. ARCHAEOLOGY. This is the dramatic inside story of what may well be the most momentous archaeological discovery of our time: the first-century ossuary of Jesus' brother, James, the head of the Jerusalem church. Reportedly found just outside ancient Jerusalem, the fragile limestone burial box bears the inscription "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus." The ossuary and its inscription are now regarded as authentic by top scholars in the field; they represent the first visual, tangible, scientific evidence of Jesus' existence. The implications are monumental for understanding Jesus, his family, and the Jewish Christian movement during the formative years of Christianity. "The closest we come archaeologically to Jesus." - John Dominic Crossan, author of Excavating Jesus (Key Words: Jesus, Hershel Shanks, Ben Witherington III, James, Archaeology, Andre Lemaire, Christianity, Religion). book. Bookseller Inventory # 66849X1

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