The Stone Box and Jesus' brother's Bones...

2:18 AM


More precisely, it's about biblical antiquities and how they can be seen to prove that the stories told in the Bible really happened. Five-and-a-half years ago the world of biblical archaeology was rocked to its foundations, and all because of a box. It was a stone box - called an "ossuary" - that had been discovered in Israel. Ossuaries were used to hold the bones of the dead some 2,000 years ago, in the time of Jesus. And this ossuary was said hold the bones of Jesus' brother, James. As correspondent Bob Simon reports, the discovery created more excitement among Christian scholars than anything since the Shroud of Turin. And like the shroud, no sooner was it unveiled that charges of forgery surfaced. In fact, a trial has been underway in Jerusalem for almost three years. The box is made of limestone. It's not terribly large, but it attracted a very large crowd, over a 100,000, when it was first exhibited. It made the New York Times and the cover of Biblical Archaeology Review. New Testament scholar Ben Witherington, who wrote a book about the box, was at that first exhibit. "There was a lot of excitement. There was, you know, the atmosphere was kind of palpable really. And there were various of us just sort of buzzing around this exhibit," he remembers. Actually, ossuaries are quite common. The Israel Antiquities Authority keeps hundreds in its basement. What was so special about this one was the mysterious engraving on its side, sort of a Da Vinci Code in stone. It's written in ancient Aramaic and it reads "James, Son of Joseph, Brother of Jesus. (source : CBS News)

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