Absolutely excellent article by Nina Burleigh about the “James Ossuary” trial

Scientists have cast doubt on this ossuary inscription. (Israel Antiquities Authority / Associated Press / March 23, 2012) via LA Times.

Author Nina Burleigh has penned an excellent, must-read Op-Ed in the Los Angeles Times entitled, “Faith, forgery, science — and the James Ossuary.”

Burleigh not only summarizes the case, but describes the growing problem stemming from scholars attempting to be truthful in the sensationalistic popular and legal environments to which they may not be accustomed. She also laments the problem of religions zealots appealing directly to the public to combat inconvenient scientific facts that undermine their faith claims:

The particulars of science matter little to zealots defending a creed…Attacking scientists is increasingly common as religious and ideological zealots flatly reject data that offend their creeds.

It is a very well written piece about an unfortunate problem in archaeology.

She also highlights a point that many supporters conveniently overlook: the judge specifically did not rule on the authenticity of the ossuary.

“This is not to say that the inscription on the ossuary is true and authentic and was written 2,000 years ago….

Rather, the prosecution failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Golan forged the ossuary.

“The prosecution failed to prove beyond all reasonable doubt what was stated in the indictment: that the ossuary is a forgery and that Mr. Golan or someone acting on his behalf forged it,” the judge stated.

There is a big difference between “it’s authentic” and “we can’t prove that he faked it beyond all reasonable doubt.”

Give it a read.

HT: Jim West.

4 Responses

  1. You’re right, excellent article. I believe, however, that she glossed over the financial motivations of the forgers and their defenders. Still, an excellent article.

  2. I read her excellent book “Unholy Business” last year and got to chat with her at a lecture on it in Des Moines. That book is a must read for all who want to know the background on this stuff. I also look forward to her book on Amanda Knox.

  3. […] to say that the image on the ossuary is “anything but a fish.” Bob Cargill agrees. Bob also commented on Nina Burleigh’s article (the article itself is here).Antonio Lombatti has an article in The Bible and Interpretation on […]

  4. Sorry, but the excellent is not so. Follow the arguments pro @ contra on many websites ex.BAR (Bible Arch Review). Of course, the court is not to decide on the authenticity or not but on presented proofs it is a forgery or not. Only 2 of plenty of experts suggested it is a forgery: based on the timing of patina and radioactive corbon material- both based on wrong assumptions. An Egiptian man was questioned by the BAR editor@denied any act as suggests the “excellent” journalist !
    Defending Global warming accusers of humans for …warming is a …religion; there are plenty factors of it@choosing one of them is a fiction!

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