Judah Son Of Jesus Ossuary
The 2nd inscribed ossuary was another of the decorated ossuaries. It was numbered IAA 80.501 and 702 by Rahmani. It was inscribed “Yehuda, son of Yeshua”.
Read in English that would be “Judah the son of Jesus” (See fig 1). This is probably the most controversial of the ossuaries. Tabor and his crew put forward the theory that this is possibly the son of Jesus that he had with Mary Magdalene.
This is a suggestion that has generally not been received very kindly. The primary reason for rejecting this theory is that there is no evidence of any kind that Jesus had a wife. If he did have a wife she would have held a position of reverence that would not have gone without mention. There is no mention of Jesus and Mary Magdalene being married even in the second century Gnostic Gospels of Mary and of Philip. However there is mention of a special relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene in the Nag Hamadi codices.
CJO 702 (80.501) was chip-carved, decorated with rosettes and inscribed in Aramaic. This is the Yehudah Bar Yeshua ossuary.
Kloner emphasizes the commonness of the name Yehuda saying that: “The name Yehuda (Judas) is the third most popular name in the Jewish onomasticon of the Hellenistic and Roman periods. In a study of 1,986 names of the Hellenistic and Roman period, conducted by Tal Ilan, 128 persons were found to bear this name.” Ilan later increased this number to 180 names. As regards the name Yeshua, or Jesus, Kloner stated that this name is “a derivative of Yehoshua (Joshua); Yehoshua/Yeshua is the sixth most common name used during the Hellenistic and Roman periods in Eretz Israel, borne by 71 of the individuals studied by Ilan.” Later Ilan increased this number to 104 (1). There is no written tradition that Jesus had a son. However, the Gospel of John talks about a mysterious “lad” who seems to be sleeping in Jesus’ lap at the Last Supper (2). The inscription on this ossuary is one instance of a personal name with patronymics (3).
Some people think that like Ribi Yәshua Judah too was betrayed by the Temple-Sadducee Jewish Hellenists and Hellenist proselytes and murdered by Hellenist Romans to thwart the continuation of the line of David which endangered Roman rule in that part of the world and as an indirect consequence jeopardize the position of power held by the Hellenist Temple-Sadducees (4).
Nevertheless critics of this position have argued that while this Judah could very well have been the son of a Jesus, there is no proof whatsoever that Jesus of Nazareth was married and that Judah was his son (5).
As A Ribi Jesus Was Expected To Be Married
Not everyone agrees with this reasoning. In spite of what has been said about Jesus not being married, as a rule Pharisee Ribis were expected to be married.
Since Pharisee Ribis were required to be married no mention need be made regarding this. Celibacy was primarily a gentile practice that was mostly alien to Judaism. If however Jesus was not married that would have been unusual and worthy of mention. Just the same as there is no proof that Jesus was married, there is also no proof that he wasn’t married – which would have been an exception for a Ribi. There are probably more indications that he was married than there are that he wasn’t (6).
Some scholars argue against the claim that Jesus was never married by stating that only married males could preach in the synagogue. And we know for a fact that Jesus did indeed preach in the synagogue (7). Nevertheless others claim that it was the celibate status of Jesus that gave rise to the “theological metaphor of the Church being the “Bride of Christ” referred to in the New Testament (8).
Regarding the “Bride of Christ” metaphor (which finds mention in the writings of the New Testament), Jimmy Akin, director of Apologetics and Evangelization at Catholic Answers, noted: “This image would never have arisen if there was a Mrs. Jesus living right there in Jerusalem…. We know about [the wives of religion founders] because they were honored figures as wives of The Founder, and if Jesus had a wife then (a) we would know about it and (b) the whole Church-as-the-Bride-of-Christ metaphor would never have come into existence.” As regards a possible “son of Jesus,” he wrote: “We tend to know about even the daughters of religious founders.
Muhammad’s daughter Fatima comes to mind. It would be much harder to sneak a forgotten son by the eyes of history…. It’s not just hard to sneak sons past because patriarchal cultures focus more on sons; it’s also because of this: In traditional societies, the son is looked on as the father’s natural successor” (9).
Simcha claims that in order to hide the identity of “Judah, the son of Jesus” from the Romans, the disciples conversed in code. He claims that “Judah, the son of Jesus” was referred to as the younger brother of Jesus. He also claims that “the son of Jesus” was nicknamed “the twin” based on the Greek word “Didymos”. He claims that this son was also referred to by the Hebrew word “Te-om” which means Thomas. It has also been claimed that the “beloved son” and the “beloved disciple” are both references to “Judah, the son of Jesus”. However, others have countered this claim saying that there is no basis for such an assertion (10).
In their book “The Jesus Family Tomb” Simcha Jacobovici and Charles Pellegrino give a new twist to the Parable of the Vineyard Owner. The authors say that the parable “could be referring to the fate that would have awaited any surviving son sent into the world by Jesus”. However they concede that in the parable Jesus could be referring to his own death (11).
While Simcha and Charles Pellegrino agree that the Parable of the Vineyard Owner (Mark 12:1-12) could be referring to Jesus’ own death, they however still think that the inscription “Judah son of Jesus” refers to the son of the biblical Jesus. Other scholars argue that the parable has been “misapplied” by the authors and that while the Talpiot ossuary could belong to a “Judah son of Jesus” this Jesus is definitely not the Biblical Jesus since Jesus of Nazareth was not married and had no children (12).
Simcha observes and rightly too that: “In none of the Gospels, be they canonical or apocryphal, is Mary Magdalene – Miriamne – described as being married to Jesus. Nor is a child of Jesus ever mentioned” Yet he however goes on to claim that Jesus was married and fathered a son (13).
Since the relationship of Judah to Jesus and the others could have been determined through a DNA test, Simcha was asked in an interview why he did not have the remains in the other ossuaries tested. His replied “We’re not scientists. At the end of the day we can’t wait till every ossuary is tested for DNA. We took the story that far. At some point you have to say, ‘I’ve done my job as a journalist’”(14).
Another reason that points to Jesus being married is the fact that no woman would be allowed to touch the private parts of a rabbi before or after death if she was not related to him by blood or marriage. We know that of the three women who went to “anoint” the body of Jesus one was Mary his mother, one, Salome his sister and the third, Mary Magdalene. The only way Mary Magdalene would have been eligible to anoint the body of Jesus would have been as his wife (15).
(Please also read my blog “Is This The Ossuary of Mary Magdalene?” at
The speculation that “Judah, the son of Jesus” is the “Beloved Son,” the “beloved disciple”, or the young man in Mark 14 has no factual basis whatsoever (16).
Some scholars are of the opinion that the lack of proof or the absence of it that Jesus of Nazareth was married and had a son should not amount to proof of the contrary. It is claimed that Jesus was celibate and that he neither married nor had a child and ascended into heaven is “religious hysterics at unscientific odds with Pharisaic reality”. It is also said that the idea that Jesus was indeed married and that he did have a son is a given. The only matter to be ascertained is if Miryam of Migdal was the wife and and Yehudah Bar-Yeshua was that son (17).
Please also read my blogs:
Is This The Ossuary of Mary Magdalene? at bit.ly/1RTTpna
The Talpiot Tomb – An Accidental Discovery at bit.ly/1mrgdgQ
Jesus And Mary His Mother – Are These Their Ossuaries? at http://bit.ly/1mF9sbx
(1) Franz, Gordon. (2007). The So-Called Jesus Family Tomb. Retrieved 2011, from http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2007/04/04/so-called-jesus-tomb
(2) The Lost Tomb of Jesus. (n.d). Retrieved 2011, from http://www.thebostonchannel.com/download/2007/0226/11116102.pdf
(3) Rollston, Christopher A. (2007). Prosopography and the Talpiyot Yeshua Family Tomb: Pensées of a Palaeographer. Retrieved 2011, from http://sbl-site.org/publications/article.aspx?articleId=649
(4) Burning Issues: Ya•aqov Ossuary. (2007). Retrieved 2011, from http://www.netzarim.co.il/Museum/Sukkah03/Burning%20Issues%20Yaaqov%20Ossuary.htm
(5) Ben-David, Yirm?yahu . (2008). Burning Issues: Talpiot Tomb Complex. Retrieved 2011, from http://www.netzarim.co.il/Museum/Sukkah03/Burning%20Issues%20Talpiot%20Tomb.htm
(6) Ben-David, Yirm?yahu . (2008). Burning Issues: Talpiot Tomb Complex. Retrieved 2011, from http://www.netzarim.co.il/Museum/Sukkah03/Burning%20Issues%20Talpiot%20Tomb.htm
(7) Anitei, Stefan. (2007). How Does the Discovery of Jesus’ Tomb Challenge Christianity? Retrieved 2011, from http://news.softpedia.com/news/How-Does-the-Discovery-of-the-Jesus-039-s-Tomb-Challenge-Christianity-48341.shtml
(8) The Lost Tomb of Jesus. (2012). Retrieved 2011, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lost_Tomb_of_Jesus
(9) The Lost Tomb of Jesus. (2012). Retrieved 2011, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lost_Tomb_of_Jesus
(10) Franz, Gordon. (2007). The So-Called Jesus Family Tomb ‘Rediscovered’ in Jerusalem. Retrieved 2022, from http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2007/03/the-so-called-jesus-family-tomb-rediscovered-in-jerusalem.aspx
(11) Franz, Gordon. (2007). The So-Called Jesus Family Tomb ‘Rediscovered’ in Jerusalem. Retrieved 2022, from http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2007/03/the-so-called-jesus-family-tomb-rediscovered-in-jerusalem.aspx
(12) Ben-David, Yirm?yahu . (2008). Burning Issues: Talpiot Tomb Complex. Retrieved 2011, from http://www.netzarim.co.il/Museum/Sukkah03/Burning%20Issues%20Talpiot%20Tomb.htm
(13) Franz, Gordon. (2007). The So-Called Jesus Family Tomb. Retrieved 2011, from http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2007/04/04/so-called-jesus-tomb
(14) Franz, Gordon. (2012). The So-Called Jesus Family Tomb ‘Rediscovered’ in Jerusalem. Retrieved 2012, from
(15) Cohen-Matlofsky. (2008). “Jesus Tomb” Controversy Erupts—Again. Retrieved 2011, from http://www.bib-arch.org/scholars-study/jesus-tomb-25.asp
(16) Franz, Gordon. (2007). The So-Called Jesus Family Tomb ‘Rediscovered’ in Jerusalem. Retrieved 2022, from http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2007/03/the-so-called-jesus-family-tomb-rediscovered-in-jerusalem.aspx
(17) Yirmeyahu, Paqid. (2008). Science vs Religious Hysterics & Fear of Antisemitism. Retrieved 2011, from http://www.bib-arch.org/scholars-study/jesus-tomb-01.asp
(Fig 1) Yehudah Bar Yeshua ossuary