The two purported ancient inscriptions that have made headlines over the past year will be the focus of a scholarly panel discussion at the meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL), to be held this year in Atlanta. The session is organized by the Biblical Archaeology Society, the publisher of BAR. The details:

Inscriptions from the Antiquities Market: The James Ossuary Inscription and the Jehoash Inscription—Where Matters Stand

Sunday, November 23, 2003

9:00 am-11:30 am

Hilton Atlanta Hotel, Salon D

Hershel Shanks, Biblical Archaeology Society, presiding

I. Introduction Hershel Shanks, Biblical Archaeology Society (10 min)

II: Is the Jehoash Inscription a Forgery? (30 min)

Chaim (Harold R.) Cohen, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev:

“Not Proven Philologically”

Edward L. Greenstein, Tel Aviv University:

“It’s a Forgery”

III. The James Ossuary Inscription (40 min)

André Lemaire, Sorbonne:

“Assessing the IAA Report on the Ossuary Inscription”

P. Kyle McCarter, The Johns Hopkins University:

“The James Ossuary Inscription and the Limits of Paleographic Science”

IV. Looking at the Scientific Evidence (30 min)

Richard Newman, Boston Museum of Fine Arts; and James Harrell, Secretary/Treasurer of ASMOSIA (Association for the Study of Marble and Other Stones in Antiquity) and Professor of Geology, University of Toledo:

“Isotopes and All That”

V. Looking at the Alleged Forger (10 min)

Oded Golan, antiquities collector and alleged forger:

“How I Acquired the James Ossuary and Gained Possession of the Jehoash Inscription”

VI. Discussion (30 min)

Hershel Shanks will also give a talk on “The James Ossuary—Where Matters Stand” at the annual meeting of the Near East Archaeological Society at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, November 19, 2003, at the Atlanta Hilton Hotel.