The James Ossuary Inscription
by Roger Viklund
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE TWO SCRIPTS?
1) The first part is correctly spelled. The second part is not correctly spelled. Depending on how you chose to interpret certain letters of the second part, they are either incorrectly done or the sentence is misspelled. Two letters – d (dalet) in “brother of” and Y in “Jesus” – are done incorrectly. And even if you presuppose that the letters should be d and Y, the sentence is grammatically wrong.
2) To be able to write in a straight line, one or two scribe lines were often drawn, on the top and the bottom respectively. The first part follows a straight line (apart from the last letters, which correctly drops). If these imaginary scribe lines are extended, the letters of the second part are below the lines.
3) The letters of the first half are of the same size, while the letters of the second half differs from both the letters of the first half and each other.
4) The letters of the first part are correctly formed with straight lines and square corners, while the letters of the second part often are curved.
5) There are wedges (serifs) on some of the letters of the first half (those that should have) while there are no wedges on any letters of the second half (though there should have been on some).
6) “The spacing of the first part … is extremely accurate. In Antiquity, texts were written as-spoken. The first part is written correctly in sound-bites: iA cov bAR io sEf and the second part is written in a continuous stream achoiiashoua.
7) Not only is the first correctly written, but it is also correctly stressed. The final pe [in Joseph] drops because the voice drops at the end when the words are spoken.” Rochelle Altman, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/JesusMysteries/message/10439
8) This final pe is also extended. This is a “end of text”-marker, and it shows that the original inscription said "James, son of Joseph”.
9) The second part (achwydyshwa) begins at the same height as the last letter of the first inscription (yaqwvbrywsf). However, the last letter of the first inscription was correctly lowered, as it would have been done. And if the same person did the entire inscription at the same time, he (or she) should have begun the achwydyshwa-inscription at the same height as the second last letter of the first inscription.
The spelling was done something like this: yaqwvbrywsfachwydyshwa
when it should have been done something like this: yaqwvbrywsfachwydyshwa
“If this had been written at the same time. or even shortly after, the starting stroke of the aleph would have been at the same height as the samekh, bets, and the ayin-iod of Ya'acov. It is not. The starting stroke of the aleph erroneously begins at the same height as the correctly lowered peh.” Rochelle Altman, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/JesusMysteries/message/10468
“The script of the second part is a conglomeration of unrelated graphs from across the centuries and not a coherent script design. This peculiar diversity suggests that the writer chose graphs from examples on other ossuaries and documents stored in a cave or dug out tomb.” Rochelle Altman, Final Report on the James Ossuary, http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/ioudaios/articles/finalreport.html
“The wedges also indicate that Jacob ben Josef lived and died during the age of Herod.” Rochelle Altman, Final Report on the James Ossuary, http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/ioudaios/articles/finalreport.html
According to Rochelle Altman, the writer of the first part spoke fluid Aramaic and was fully literate, while it is doubtful whether the writer of the second part knew Aramaic at all.