Oded Golan’s Counterclaim

Golan, (or more likely one of his lawyers) writes, in counterclaim to Joe Zias’s insistence that Rahmani testified-

  1. An official IAA document entitled “Summary Report of the Work of the Committees Testing the Inscription Known as the Jehoash Tablet and the Ossuary Known as the Yaakov Bar Yosef Ahui d’Yeshu Ossucary” (the James Ossuary) dated June 20, 2003, prepared by the deputy managing director of the IAA at the time, stated (p. 2, lines 17-18 of the Hebrew report):
    “It has been determined that the committee members shall consult with Prof, Yosef Naveh (expert in ancient Hebrew script) and with Dr. L. Y. Rahmani (expert in ossuaries), as they see fit.”
  2.  Y. L. Rahmani, one of the oldest members of the IAA, examined the ossuary at the Rockefeller Museum (IAA offices) in 2003. Rahmani did not issue any written document on the inscription. There is no report that Rahmani discovered anything suspicious that might indicate that the inscription or part of it is a forgery.  There is also no report from any of the committee members who spoke with Rahmani at the time (and/or from any of the IAA members who spoke with him) of any claim that Rahmani found anything suspicious in the inscription which would indicate that it is forged.
  3. During the trial, the IAA and the Prosecution presented as witnesses all the researchers who they believed might contribute, even slightly, to the argument that the ossuary inscription is a forgery in part (Recall that the charge stated that the first half of the inscription is ancient while the words “Ahui d’Yeshu” were added in modern times). When it discovered that Rahmani could not support this position, the State decided not to call him to the witness stand as a witness for the prosecution. This, in contrast to what Zias states, Rahmani never testified in court. And in contrast to what Zias states, I never stated that Rahmani testified.
  4. I did not call Rahmani to testify since most of the prosecution witnesses (including Dr. Ada Yadeni, Prof. Hagay Misgav, Prof. Ahituv, Prof. Andre Lemaire, Prof. Ronny Reich, Orna Cohen, and others) testified that to the best of their judgment, the entire inscription on the ossuary is ancient, and since I had a long list of additional experts including patina experts, who examined the inscription and agreed to testify  that the entire inscription is ancient (including Prof. W. Krumbein, Dr. Shimon Ilani, Dr. Amnon Rosenfeld, Prof. Yoel Kornfeld, Prof. James Harrell and others).

Whether Golan correctly represents the facts may or may not be the case. One thing is certain, he has a vested interest in insisting that the ossuary inscription is legitimate and with the verdict to be rendered this week it makes sense that he would try to put his own spin on things.

Whether or not he and the others are found guilty is at this point totally irrelevant. No one in the archaeological community is going to have anything to do with any Golan ‘artifact’. His reputation as an honest antiquities broker/dealer is thoroughly undermined. He may be able to sell things in the future, but he will have to do it through third parties.

About Jim

I am a Pastor, and Lecturer in Church History and Biblical Studies at Ming Hua Theological College.
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6 Responses to Oded Golan’s Counterclaim

  1. I have no direct knowledge of the trial, but it may seem a bit curious that “The Jesus Discovery” book on page 177 has a photograph (no. 39) captioned “Photo from 1976 of the James ossuary in the apartment of Golan’s parents.” On page 178 they report that a “photographic expert” testified that he “found no possibility that the [Golan] photos were made at a later time.” Yet on page 177 Tabor and Jacobovici wrote: “When or how the James ossuary would have been taken from the Talpiot tomb we cannot determine. I might have been a number of years before the 1980 excavation of the tomb, or it could have been looted the first night when the front entryway of the tomb was blown open and exposed, before the IAA arrived to begin their work [in 1980]” By allowing the possibility that the ossuary “could have been looted” in 1980, do the co-authors indicate that they do not rely on Golan’s account?


  2. Joe Zias says:

    No 3 is thoroughly confusing as I never stated anything about LYR, other than, all he said was the ossuary was authentic, which we all knew. As for the inscription itself, LYR to the best of my knowledge did not make any claim one way of the other which is why it would have been a moot point for all sides to ask him to testify.
    Golan, whom I’ve never met nor spoke with personally, may be confusing the Talpiot tombs with the James Ossuary which Tabor/Simcha/Gibson and the Geol. Institute are U-hauling from place to place, (depending on which book/film they are running) irrespective of his claim that he purchased it 12 or more years earlier. Personally I find this hilarious as Simcha was the one who made the ossuary film in 2003, and he clearly would have or should have known that Golan said he purchased the object in 1978 or earlier. How the BAR Crowd deals with these contradictions is difficult to understand, or maybe they simply forgot…


  3. Like you forgot where the tenth ossuary went.

    Selective indeed when posting opposing comments.


    • Jim says:

      yes well i generally don’t post the blatherings of fringe lunatics. if your views are all that important, blog them on your own site. i’m sure you and your mom will be very happy to read them there.


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