The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Monday, October 21, 2002

An archaeological, historical, and religious bonanza, all in one shot. That's what the discovery of an ancient burial box some think contained the remains of Jesus' brother, James, is. Yep, that Jesus.

Probably the first reaction for most would be, "Since when did Jesus have a brother?" (Even the box's owner was reported to ask, "'How could the Son of God have a brother?") That's a whole other hornet's nest of controversy, especially as far as the Catholic Church is concerned. I found this Straight Dope rundown on whether or not Jesus had any siblings quite succinct and informative. The most relevant Biblical passage, from the Book of Matthew, Chapter 13 Verses 55-56, can be found here.

In the early going, the most outspoken skeptics of the veracity of this discovery are those scholars who doubt that Jesus the man ever existed in the first place. That's an odd viewpoint--regardless of religious bent, I figured that most people had taken it as a given that the historical Jesus was real. But I guess even there, the evidence is somewhat circumstantial. The independent accounts of the stories of Jesus' life are made some 100-200 years after his death, so it could be that those accounts are just repititions of myths or legends.