Biblical Antiques Found to be Forgeries

The famed antique purported to contain the bones of Jesus’ brother James was found to be fake, along with several other biblical artifacts from the Middle East.

According to a Dec. 30 Associated Press report, four antiquities dealers were charged with “forging a slew of biblical artifacts…that had been claimed as proof of Christianity’s origins.”

“Had they pulled off this fraud, they would have succeeded in changing the history of the Jewish and Christian people," said Israeli police spokesman Gil Kleiman on Wednesday to the AP.

The four men, Oded Golan, Robert Deutsch, Shlomo Cohen and Faiz al-Amaleh, were charged with adding inscriptions to real antiques in order to link them to major biblical events or persons and upraise greater values for them.

The most well-known of these forgeries is the “Jesus box” – an ancient burial box that supposedly held the bones of Jesus’ brother James. Last year, Israeli’s Antiquities Authorities found that the inscription on the box, which reads, “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus,” had been faked.

Another artifact found to be fake was an ivory pomegranate that was believed to be the only relic of King Solomon’s Jewish Temple, based on the inscription, “Belonging to the Temple of the Lord (Yaweh), holy to the priests.” Last month, the relic, which was bought by the Israel Museum for $500,000, was found to be fake- the relic predated Solomon as much as six centuries.

"This was a multimillion-dollar crime ring, and the suspects can expect to serve many years in prison if convicted," Kleiman said.