Photos by Brian Boyle/ROM Sketchs by Ada Yardeni and L.Y. Rahmani

The James ossuary inscription (photo above and top drawing) reads “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus.” IAA committee member Eshel argues that the phrase “brother of” was copied from the only other known appearance of that phrase, found on ossuary 570 in the catalogue of ossuaries by L.Y. Rahmani, the standard reference work. That inscription, which reads, “Shimi, son of Asiya, brother of Hanin,” is reprinted in the second drawing from top. Lemaire notes, however, that the letters of “brother of” in the James inscription (highlighted) are vertical while in the other inscription they slope down to the right. Another claim against the James inscription—that the dalet (in red box) in the phrase “brother of” is suspicious because it consists of only a vertical stroke, just like the unusual dalet on ossuary 570 (the dotted line is a partial reconstruction)—is easily dismissed. The dalet on the James ossuary has only a vertical stroke because it was damaged en route to its first public display, leaving a crack through that letter (photo at bottom right). Photos taken before the damage occurred (photos at right and top) show that the dalet on the James ossuary clearly had a second stroke and is not a copy of the one on ossuary 570.