Holy Hoax

Purported physical evidence of the life of Jesus, a stone burial box thought to have held the remains of Jesus' brother James, has been declared a fake by the Israel Antiquities Authority. The panel of experts found inconsistencies in the patina and wording of the tomb's inscription, "James, the son of Joseph, the brother of Jesus," which they said placed the author in modern times. Hershel Shanks, editor of the Biblical Archaeology Review and a proponent of the tomb's authenticity, says he's not convinced. Adds Harvard paleographer Frank Cross: "If this is a forgery, the forger was a genius."

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