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Resurrecting the Brother of JesusThe James Ossuary Controversy and the Quest for Religious Relics$
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Ryan Byrne and Bernadette McNary-Zak

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780807832981

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807895498_byrne

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Archaeological Context and Controversy

Archaeological Context and Controversy

The Bones of James Unpacked

Chapter:
(p.19) Archaeological Context and Controversy
Source:
Resurrecting the Brother of Jesus
Author(s):

Byron R. McCane

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/9780807895498_byrne.5

This chapter examines the issue of authenticity. It situates the ossuary both within Jewish burial practices of the Roman period and the modern dynamics of the antiquities market. The chapter argues that the absence of an archaeological context for the James Ossuary complicates the means to connect it to Jesus of Nazareth in a responsible manner. The evangelical celebration of the ossuary's discovery is juxtaposed with the willful disregard for the role of looters, who unceremoniously discarded the bones of the decedent. This rationalization of exploitation and desecration amounts to archaeological pornography, and highlights the theological commercialization of Holy Land material culture.

Keywords:   James Ossuary, authenticity, Jewish burial practice, Jesus, antiquities, looters

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