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“Yose”: Joseph

Ossuary 80/504 Yose” or “Yosa”– a nickname for “Joseph”

The fourth inscription, written in Hebrew, reads: “Yose.” Where have we seen this name before?

It turns out that Yose is to Yosef as Joey is to Joseph. Yose is a very rare rendering—an endearment, in fact—of the Hebrew “Yosef.”

Of course, this could be easily explained as belonging to Joseph, father of Jesus. But we have no evidence to suggest where Joseph died. He does not seem to accompany his family to Jerusalem to follow Jesus’ ministry so many scholars believe he died in Nazareth.

The Gospels tell us that Jesus had four brothers: James, Judah, Simon and Joseph. People have been arguing whether these brothers were full brothers, half brothers, stepbrothers or cousins. This is because various Christian sects disagree on Mary, mother of Jesus.

Was she a Perpetual Virgin, in which case, the brothers were Jesus’ stepbrother? Was she a Virgin only for the Immaculate Conception? If so, Jesus’ siblings would have been half-brothers. Or is it necessary to believe in the Virgin birth at all, in which case, Joseph would be the true father of Jesus and any siblings full-blooded? Modern scholarship generally accepts that they were not cousins, but brothers.

But why all this talk of brothers? Because in the Gospel of Mark—the earliest Gospel—Joseph, brother of Jesus, is not called “Joseph,” but “Yose.”

The “Yose” inscription from this tomb is the only such example of this name on an ossuary.


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