Expert on pivotal piece of archaeology comes to TWU

Langley, B.C.—Did Jesus really have a brother? The public is invited to explore the archaeological discovery that has challenged modern-day knowledge of Jesus’ family. On Tuesday, March 9th Craig A. Evans, PhD, will present a free lecture entitled Jesus and the Ossuaries: Not All Skeletons are in Closets at Trinity Western University. Based largely on his book by the same name, Evans will present and discuss archaeological evidence that points to the existence of James, a second son to Mary and Joseph and a brother to Jesus.

The discussion will centre on the recent recovery of an ancient box of bones (an ossuary) found with the inscription “James the son of Joseph, brother of Jesus.” The ossuary—a relic from the ancient Jewish practise of keeping remains after they were removed from a tomb—is presumably one of the earliest archaeological evidences of Jesus. The Aramaic words inscribed on the box date it to between AD 10 and AD 70.

“If authentic, then the identification of the inscription with James [of the New Testament] becomes plausible, perhaps even probable,” says Evans. Evans, formerly a professor of biblical studies at TWU for 21 years, is currently a Payzant Distinguished Professor of New Testament at Acadia Divinity College, Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.

What has become known as the James Ossuary can provide critical evidence in support of long-standing hypotheses that attempt to reconcile biblical accounts with historical ones. “We learn that James and his family spoke Aramaic, which scholars have long recognized as Jesus’ first language,” says Evans. “It also suggests that James, who was originally from Galilee, continued to live in Jerusalem after Jesus’ death and possibly died in the area.”

While scholars continue to calculate the impact of the James Ossuary, the significance of the find is clear to Evans. “If the identification with James is accepted, there is important data that can be confirmed or denied.”

Author and editor of some 40 books and over 200 articles and reviews, Evans is considered an expert on archaeology as it relates to the Bible, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Jesus. His expertise has had him share his insights on the BBC, the Discovery Channel and Dateline on NBC.

Copies of Evans’ latest book, Jesus and the Ossuaries: Not All Skeletons are in Closets,
will be available for purchase and for signing by Evans at the lecture. The event is
sponsored by TWU’s Master of Arts in Biblical Studies department.

Event: Jesus and the Ossuaries: Not All Skeletons are in Closets
Presented by Craig A. Evans, PhD
Date: Tuesday, March 9, 2004
Time: 7:30pm
Location: Block Hall, Neufeld Science Centre at Trinity Western University
7600 Glover Rd, Langley, BC
Cost: No charge
Contact: For more information contact Dorothy Peters, (604) 513-2121 ext3267 or

Trinity Western University, located in Langley, B.C., is a not-for-profit Christian liberal arts university enrolling over 3,500 students this year. With a broad based, liberal arts and sciences curriculum, the University offers undergraduate degrees in 38 major areas of study ranging from business, education and computer science to biology and nursing, and 13 other graduate degrees including counselling psychology, theology and administrative leadership.


Last Updated: 2015-07-16
Author: Keela Keeping