'2,000-year-old Jesus box' may not be a fake, as Jerusalem forgery trial nears collapses

A judge is set to throw out charges against experts accused of faking a stone box that claimed to offer the first physical proof of the existence of Christ - raising the possibility once again that it could be genuine.

The discovery of the 2,000-year-old ossuary, or bone box, bearing the words, 'James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus', was regarded as one of the greatest archaeological discoveries when it emerged nearly a decade ago.

But other experts decided the inscription on the 'priceless' limestone artefact had been added at a later date.
It was dismissed as a fake and Israeli authorities began criminal investigations.
But yesterday a three-year forgery trial in Israel was close to collapse, reopening the possibility it might indeed be the only tangible evidence for the life of Jesus.

Jerusalem judge Aharon Farkash told prosecutors trying Israeli collector Oded Golan: 'Have you really proved beyond a reasonable doubt that these artefacts are fakes as charged in the indictment?'

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