Aramaic was the everyday language of Palestine and Syria at the turn of the era; Aramaic script widely displaced Paleo-Hebrew script during the Babylonian Exile in the sixth century B.C.E.



Semahot 12:9. See Dov Zlotnick, The Tractate “Mourning” (Semahot): Regulations Relating to Death, Burial and Mourning (New Haven/London: Yale Univ. Press, 1966), p. 82.


Levi Yizhaq Rahmani, A Catalogue of Jewish Ossuaries in the Collections of the State of Israel (Jerusalem: Israel Antiquities Authority, 1994), p. 11: “The choice of cheaper types should not be regarded as a sign of comparative poverty or of parsimony.”


See type 2 in Rahmani, Catalogue, p. 5.


The letters are generally very clear. The last letter of the name Joseph is a typical final pe. At the end of the upper stroke of the dalet is a lowering on the right. The following yod is slightly slanted and nearly as long as a waw. These two features appear from time to time in inscriptions from this period, especially on ossuaries. See Rahmani, Catalogue, number 801 for the dalet and numbers 125 and 218B for the yod.

The writing of the preposition dalet without a yod is also well known. Here it may be because the following name begins with a yod. Finally, one notes the cursive shape of the aleph, the shape of which is close to a Y. See Rahmani, Catalogue, numbers 256 and 455; cf. also, for instance, Yigael Yadin and Joseph Naveh, Masada I (Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 1989) pp. 24–26, notes 420–421; Ada Yardeni, Textbook of Aramaic, Hebrew and Nabataean Documentary Texts from the Judaean Desert and Related Material. A. The Documents. B. Translation, Paleography, Concordance, (Jerusalem: Hebrew Univ., 2000), see esp. B, pp. 168–169.


See Rahmani, Catalogue, numbers 104, 396 and 678 (with waw) and numbers 290 and 865 (without waw).


See Rahmani, Catalogue, numbers 9, 12, 15, 16 (with heh) and number 573 (without heh).


See Rahmani, Catalogue, numbers 9, 121, 140, 702 and 704.


See Rahmani, Catalogue, number 9.


See John Painter, Just James. The Brother of Jesus in History and Tradition (Edinburgh: T. and T. Clark, 1999), p. 3.


See Rahmani, Catalogue, pp. 21–23. However, this dating may need to be shortened a little: c. 10–70 C.E., according to the excavations in Jericho: See Rachel Hachlili, “A Second Temple Period Jewish Necropolis in Jericho,” Biblical Archaeologist, vol. 43 (1980), pp. 235–240, esp. 239.


For the paleography of this period, see Yardeni, Textbook of Aramaic.


Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, 20. 197–203.


Eusebius of Caesarea, Church History 2, 23, 18. For the later tradition, see F.M. Abel, “Mélanges II. La sépulture de saint Jacques le mineur,” Revue biblique vol. 28 (1919), pp. 480–499.


Protevangelium of James 17:2.


Rahmani, Catalogue, p. 27.


Simon Mimouni, Le judéo-christianisme ancien (Paris: Patrimoines, Cerf, 1998), pp. 409–428, esp. 412, 417, 428.


See Acts 15:13–21. Saul/Paul himself was a Pharisee (Acts 23:6; cf. 22:3; 26:5; Galatians 1:14).


Semahot 12:9, supra; and Emile Puech, La croyance des Esséniens en la vie future: immortalité résurrection, vie étrnelle? Etudes bibliques 21 (Paris: Gabalda, 1993), pp. 192–197, 220, 310; L.Y. Rahmani, “Ossuaries and Ossilegium (Bone Gathering) in the Late Second Temple Period,” in Ancient Jerusalem Revealed, ed. Hillel Geva, (Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 1994), pp. 191–205, esp. p. 193. On the possibility of the use of an ossuary for James, see also F.M. Abel, “Jacques,” Revue biblique 28, 1919, p. 499.


See Rachel Hachlili, “Names and Nicknames of Jews in Second Temple Times,” Eretz-Israel, vol. 17 (Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 1984), pp. 188–211 (Hebrew) and 9*-10* (English), esp. 194.


See Magen Broshi, “Estimating the Population of Ancient Jerusalem,” BAR 04:02; Joachim Jeremias, Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus (London: SCM Press, 1967) [=Jerusalem zur Zeit Jesus (Gottingen: Vandehoeck und Ruprecht, 1962)], p. 83, note 24: “… about 55,000 to 95,000. The smaller figure is the more probable …” and, with a different calculation, p. 84: “This figure, of from 25–30,000, must be the upper limit.”


See Rahmani, Catalogue, number 570.