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Yeshua bar Yosef

Yeshua Bar Yosef

Ossuary 80/503 "Yeshua bar Yosef” – “Jesus, Son of Joseph”

It is the plainest of the ten ossuaries found in the tomb, a modest coffin, perhaps made in haste. Alarmingly, there is a large cross mark right next to the name “Jesus.” A cross, deliberately carved. The archaeologists, however, immediately and ever since, dismissed this as a mason’s mark. Besides, they say, Christians didn’t use crosses until the time of Constantine in the 4th century. This “Jesus, Son of Joseph” ossuary couldn’t belong to that Jesus, son of Joseph.

Back in 1926, another “Jesus, son of Joseph” ossuary was discovered languishing in the basement of what is now the Rockefeller Museum—by none other that Eleazer Sukenik, the archaeologist famous for his 1948 discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Hebrew University professor did not publicize his astonishing find until 1931 at a conference in Berlin. The news made headlines around the world. And then the world forgot all about it.

Today, that same ossuary is on display at the Israel Museum. It is in no way connected with Jesus of Nazareth but instead is on display to send a message: don’t get excited if you find archaeological mention of any “Jesus.” The name is common.


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