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The Brother of Jesus: The Dramatic Story & Meaning of the First Archaeological Link to Jesus & His Family [Paperback]

By Hershel Shanks (Author) & Ben III Witherington (Author)
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Item description for The Brother of Jesus: The Dramatic Story & Meaning of the First Archaeological Link to Jesus & His Family by Hershel Shanks & Ben III Witherington...

Opening a unique window to the early days of Christianity, this is the definitive account of the recent discovery of the first century ossuary--a limestone bone box--that directly confirms the existence of Jesus. 8-page color insert.

Publishers Description

The first definitive account of what scholars and the media are calling 'the most important archaeological discovery' about Jesus and his family.

This is the definitive story of the recent discovery of the first-century ossuary (limestone bone box) with the legend 'James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus', and its implications for understanding Jesus, his family (mother, father, brothers), his followers, the first Christians and the Jewish Christian movement in Jerusalem that James led. This ossuary is the first ever archaeological discovery directly confirming the existence of Jesus, and his relationship to his father, Joseph, and brother, James, who became the leader of the important Jewish Christian community in Jerusalem. No one is as qualified and well connected to recount the discovery and its authentication as Hershel Shanks, whose magazine first broke the story.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: HarperOne
Pages   336
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.04" Width: 6" Height: 0.93"
Weight:   0.88 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 16, 2004
Publisher   HarperOne
Edition  Revised  
ISBN  0060581174  
ISBN13  9780060581176  

Availability  1 units.
Availability accurate as of May 28, 2017 04:27.
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More About Hershel Shanks & Ben III Witherington

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Shanks is the founder and editor-in-chief of "Biblical Archaeology Review", "Bible Review", and "Archaeology Odyssey", and the author of several major books on the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jerusalem, and biblical archaeology.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > History > Ancient > General
2Books > Subjects > History > Ancient
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > General
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Archaeology
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Christology

Christian Product Categories
Books > Bible Study > General Studies > Biblical History & Culture

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Brother of Jesus: The Dramatic Story & Meaning of the First Archaeological Link to Jesus & His Family?

Arcaeological Link Proven a Hoax  Feb 8, 2008
Andre Lemaire's attempt at fame fell short when experts discovered the ossuary - the box with the inscription that was supposed to be the 'smoking gun' to prove that Jesus had brothers, and Mary could not remain a virgin - was a total fabrication.

A June 18, 2003 CNN story entitled "'Jesus box' exposed as fake" sank this theory and why this book is still being peddled is beyond me. The news story reads:

"Officials with Israel's Antiques Authority announced Wednesday that while the box may date from the correct era, the inscription is a forgery added at a much later date.

"The inscription appears new, written in modernity by someone attempting to reproduce ancient written characters," the officials said in the statement."

For the full story read here: [...]
Um... We Didn't Get Anywhere...  Sep 26, 2007
I picked this up, expecting something dramatic and impressive. Instead I found it was a book of conjecture. I certainly learned a lot about the world of antiquities and about James, but that was about it.

No one actually knows anything about the box one way or the other and given that everything they think they know is just one person's opinion, I felt like I didn't get anywhere.

It's a decent read, but I certainly wouldn't buy it or recommend it.
Totally Lacking in Scholarship  Apr 3, 2007
Citations are almost completely lacking, and what few footnotes there are refer back to the authors own work. Then, the quote on the back of the jacket attributed to USA Today is actually a quote from one of the authors that was published in USA Today.

Finally, the name "James" is so common is early Christian Era Palestine, it's as if we are 2000 years in the future, a tomb is disovered with the name "George" on it and the authors are claiming that it is the tomb of George Bush. The authors present no evidence to overcome this fact.

I'm not buying it, neither should you.
An Important Read: Educational and Meaningful.  Oct 15, 2006
"The Brother of Jesus" is actually two interesting books in one, and readers interested in the historical movement that is Christianity as well as the connective life of Jesus will find this book written by Shanks and Witherington fascinating, educational, and intriguing. Readers will feel more informed with the life of Jesus and the social structures of the times during which he lived. Does `The Brother of Jesus' help close any of ongoing questions for those who question Jesus as The Christ? Perhaps not, but there is clearer direction that may be a catalyst for some to reach into and hold a deeper understanding into the life of Christ.

The first part of the book is impeccably explored as an oratory of sorts by which Shanks provides to the reader a very thorough explanation into what exactly the `James Ossuary' is and how it was cultivated - If you will - to finally come into public light after nearly two thousand years. Chance? The story of the ossuary's own travels is in itself is quite remarkable. Additionally, Shanks provides an interesting and apparently accurate historical take on how THIS particular ossuary may very well be the bone-burial tomb of James the younger brother of Jesus.

Equally fascinating is the presentation and study made by Witherington on the life and activity of James the younger brother of Jesus. For so long has the debate been fueled regarding the sanguine line of Jesus, for many, The Christ. With the remarkable discovery of the ossuary, there were hopes that perhaps the bloodline of Jesus could eventually be discovered . . . and Witherington does an exemplary presentation about the life of Jesus. In his conclusion, Witherington does not believe that James was the blood brother of Jesus, but that of a step brother . . . which I am not completely convinced on. I think a more detailed and cited study into the life of James has been presented by Rev. Jeffrey Butz, in his book titled "The Brother of Jesus and the Lost Teachings of Christianity". Nevertheless, in my own conclusion as a Christian fiction writer, but more importantly, as A Believer, the issues surrounding the life of James will come down to each of our own holdings of faith. I do not think it matters one way or another if James is the sanguine brother of Christ The Lord or not. What matters is that Christ did and does exist.

This is an important reader. The more will know about the life and times of Jesus, the closer we become.
Who Knows for Sure?  May 26, 2006
Shanks and Witherington bring a sophisticated and compelling study with "The Brother of Jesus" (2003 paperback). Theirs is a careful consideration of the authenticity for the "James the son of Joseph the brother of Jesus" ossuary publicly introduced in 2002. (It was discovered a number of years ago, extracted from it's original resting place, and then housed in various Israeli locations over several generations until its 21st century public presentation.)

Recounting various scientific/forensic examinations of the small bone box, the authors add their voices to its continuing controversy. Did this ossuary house the bones of St. James, the Just, the brother of Jesus Christ? Can it really ever be completely examined and understood without knowing the information from its original provenance?

These are difficult questions to answer, even in the wake of the ossuary's forensic study. After providing a complete and careful recounting of all the ossuary's scientific examinations Shanks and Witherington attempt clear answers with their presentation of James' history by reviewing the various personality and events associated with him. They review the ossuary bullae (sealant), its patina (the calcium carbonate surface) and its Aramaic calligraphy. They revisit the early Christian sources for James, the various personalities named "James" in the Scripture, authorship for the Epistle of James, the death and legend of James, the family of James, and much more.

Due to the technical nature of this 305-page book it should not be considered a quick read. Each chapter concludes with a plethora of source suggestions. Preferring to consult each source Shanks and Witherington cite, I completed the book in a little less than a month. The authors provide dozens of precision maps, informative charts, interesting photographs (colored and black and whites), and helpful endnotes.

In the end, I found pages 1 through 224 to be the most helpful. These first two parts demonstrate that the James ossuary (sandstone box itself) is authentic from the first century (such ossuaries were commonly used around Jerusalem only from about 20 BC to AD 70). Shanks and Witherington are also convinced that the first half of the writing- "James the son of Joseph" is probably authentic to the first century.

The third section of the book (pages 225 to 305) is less persuasive and would be more convincing with additional research (and scholarly debate). Here the authors believe the second half of the inscription- "the brother of Jesus"- to be a later addition and, thus, a forgery (page 235). Who can say for sure?

"The Brother of Jesus" is a good read witnessing to a fascinating subject. Shanks and Witherington have been at the forefront of the James ossuary's history from its 2002 introduction. The book is recommended to all who want to know more about the ossuary that may have housed the bones of Jesus' brother. It is also a good read for all Bible students. Order your copy soon.

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