James, Son of Joseph, Brother of Jesus

“Ya’akov bar Yosef akhui di Yeshua.” I don’t think the discovery of this inscription is quite as sensational an archaeological find as the media is making it out to be, but it’s an interesting bit nonetheless, further corroborating with the Protestant — and early Christian — tradition that Saint James was indeed Jesus’ younger brother. (This may be a serious problem, however, for Roman Catholics who insist on Mary’s perpetual virginity.)

Update: See? It was fake.

Of course, one wonders why there’s all this hubbub about “proof of Jesus’ existence” when we have several perfectly legitimate documents written by his own disciples within decades of his crucifixion and resurrection. It’s called the New Testament. (And no, the “Lost Gospel of Thomas” is not part of it, for those of you who’ve been watching too much Stigmata.)

Mathowie is quick to jump into the MeFi thread with a common fallacy, “Oh, Jesus existed, but his miracles are just legends that grew with the passing of time.” Completely missing the fact that the Gospel accounts are reliable to within decades of the events related — not even separated by a generation! — and written by people who had everything to lose and no reason to lie.

There’s a lot of documentary proof for the existence of Jesus, and even pragmatic skeptics acknowledge the bare minimum — non-supernatural — evidence. But the reactions on MeFi consist, of course, of the usual kneejerk iconoclasm. More opinions formed from movies like Dogma than from any real sense of reverence or respect — for deities or people. Sometimes I feel like MeFi threads are just contests of “How cleverly can you offend the Christians.”