Imagine a trial in which the issue was whether Jesus of Nazareth actually existed. The United States Constitution, as well as the laws of most western societies, does not allow courts to enter into religious or theological debates. But the trial described in this book was not about theology: it was about archaeology. The issue at the core of the trial was whether a burial ossuary bore the name of Jesus’ brother James, the son of Joseph. The inscription on the ossuary said the following: Ya’akov Bar Yosef Achui Yeshua. It was written in Aramaic and the name Ya’akov, though generally translated as Jacob, is also translated to mean James, so the names were translated as James, Son of Joseph, brother of Jesus”
Set in Israel, with its 30,000 archaeological digs crammed with biblical-era artifacts, and full of colorful characters—scholars, evangelicals, detectives, and millionaire collectors—Unholy Business tells the incredible story of what the Israeli authorities have called “the fraud of the century.” It takes readers into the murky world of Holy Land relic dealing, from the back alleys of Jerusalem’s Old City to New York’s Fifth Avenue, and reveals biblical archaeology as it is pulled apart by religious believers on one side and scientists on the other.