Photo courtesy André Lemaire; drawing by Ada Yardeni; background painting © Board of Trustees, National Gallery of Art, Washington

ON THE COVER: A simple limestone ossuary (bone box) from first-century A.D. Jerusalem bears a remarkable Aramaic inscription: “James son of Joseph, brother of Jesus.” If the inscription refers to the figures in the New Testament, it would be the first archaeological evidence of Jesus ever found. In “Burial Box of James the Brother of Jesus,” epigrapher André Lemaire, a specialist in ancient scripts, explains why he thinks the ossuary does indeed refer to the James and Jesus of the Christian Bible, how he learned of this tremendously important object and how scientific tests have shown it not to be a modern forgery. A follow-up article, “The Short List: The New Testament Figures Known to History,” describes the relatively few artifacts that refer to people mentioned in Christian scripture.