I published the inscription; see André Lemaire, “Burial Box of James the Brother of Jesus,” BAR, November/December 2002.


Posted at


Shimon Ilani, Amnon Rosenfeld and Michael Dvorachek, “Archaeometry of a Stone Tablet with Hebrew Inscription Referring to Repair of the House,” GSI Current Research 13, 2002, pp. 109–116.



Giovanni Garbini, “L’iscrizione aramaica de Tel Dan,” in Atti della accademia dei Lincei, Scienze morali, storiche filologiche, rendiconte (Rome, 1994), IX.V.3, pp. 461–471.


See Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecclesiastical History III.11; IV.22, 4.


She gives as her reason: “The reservoir of names from which parents could have chosen their children’s names was small and therefore the chance of choosing these names was higher, and increased as other names were already taken in the family.”

I am not sure I understand what she is saying. In fact, Professor Fuchs did take this problem into account. He specifically stated: “It is important to note that, since we assume that no two brothers in the family bore the same name, the probability of a child being given a certain name depends on the name given to the previous born male offspring in the family.”


No. 570 in L.Y. Rahmani, A Catalogue of Jewish Ossuaries in the Collections of the State of Israel (Jerusalem: IAA, 1999).


Tal Ilan, Jewish Lexicon of Jewish Names in Late Antiquity I, Palestine 330 B.C.E.-200 C.E. (Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2002), p. 17.


As she herself notes in her book, out of 32 attestations on ossuaries, two ossuaries (and three attestations) use the spelling YWSP (Rahmani catalogue No. 573, with two attestations, and Emile Puech, “Ossuaires inscrit d’une tombe du mont des Oliviers,” Liber Annuus 32 [1982], pp. 355–372, especially 358), i.e. about 10% of cases. She also rightly mentions the Beney Hazir inscription (CIJ 1394) with two attestations (D. Barag, “The 2000–2001 Exploration of the Tombs of Benei Hezir and Zachariah,” Israel Exploration Journal 53 (1993), pp. 98–110, especially 92), as well as papyrus Murabba’at nos. 28 and 31, Yadin papyrus no. 7 (three different personages, about ten attestations) and Yadin papyrus no. 44 (probably a mistake for Yadin papyrus 9.5), which makes at least seven instances (and more attestations) of this spelling, “compared to nearly 50 instances of ’Yehoseph’”: This would come to over 10%!


Ilan, Jewish Lexicon, p. 172.


Rahmani, A Catalogue of Jewish Ossuaries, p. 293.


Two are written Y’QB (nos. 290, 865) and three Y’QWB (nos. 104, 396, 678; this spelling is confirmed by the drawings).


No. 573, pl. 82; see also nos. 332, 552, 572.


See also no. 446, pl. 62, where the lid presents erosion and encrustation while the other side looks brand new.


See no. 796, pl. 116.


Yod (nos. 1, 8, 15, 17) is written as a simple, short, approximately vertical stroke without a small crook, hook or loop at the top; this shape is cursive.

’ayin (nos. 2 and 20) can be considered formal even if it appears sometimes in cursive script.

kuf (no. 3) is formal.

vav (nos. 4, 9, 14, 19) is a simple vertical stroke, longer than the yod, but also without a small crook, hook or loop at the top; this shape is cursive.

bet (nos. 5, 6) is formal.

resh (no. 7) is formal.

samek (no. 10) can be considered formal even if it appears sometimes in cursive script.

final pe (no. 11) can be considered as formal even if it appears sometimes in cursive.

alef (no. 12) is cursive.

het (no. 13) is formal.

dalet (no. 16) is cursive.

shin (no. 18) is formal.


J.T. Milik, “L’epigrafia offre un bell’esempio di scrittura mista: BNH è calligrafico ed il resto è cursivo” (in P.B. Bagatti and J.T. Milik, Gli scavi del “Dominus Flevit,” parte I. La necropoli del periodo romano (Jerusalem, 1958), p. 79 and passim. “The ossuary script in the Jericho inscriptions combines cursive and formal elements, resulting in different forms of the same letter, often appears [sic] together in a single inscription.” (Quoted from Rachel Hachlili, “The Goliath Family in Jericho. Funerary Inscriptions from a First Century A.D. Jewish Monumental Tomb,” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 235 (1979), pp. 31–66, especially p. 60).

This phenomenon is also attested in the Greek ossuary inscriptions: “An interesting paleographic feature occurs in this inscription: the use of cursive letters side by side with lapidary forms; the alpha at the end of the word Kyria is cursive. The more common lapidary alpha also appears in this inscription—in the word kai…” (Tal Ilan, “The Ossuary and Sarcophagus Inscriptions,” in Gideon Avni and Zvi Greenhut, eds., The Akeldama Tombs. Three Burial Caves in the Kidron Valley, Jerusalem, IAA Report No. 1 [Jerusalem, 1996], pp. 57–72, especially p. 57).


A.S. Yahuda, “The Story of a Forgery and the Mesha Inscription,” Jewish Quarterly Review (JQR) 35 (1944), pp. 139–163. W.F. Albright’s prompt answer, “Is the Mesha Inscription a Forgery?” JQR 35 (1945), pp. 247–250, seems to have closed the debate.


See Russell Gmirkin,“Tools, Slippage and the Tel Dan Inscription,” Scandinavian Journal of the Old Testament 16.2 (2002), pp. 293–302. The same charge was made earlier by Niels Peter Lemche in “Face to Face: Biblical Minimalists Meet Their Challengers,” BAR 23:04.