Jesus And Mary His Mother – Are These Their Ossuaries?

The Other Ossuaries From The Talpiot Tomb

The Ossuary Of Matya
The third ossuary IAA 80.502 – Rahmani 703 – It has the name “Matya” in Hebrew inscribed on it. In English this would stand for Matityahu, or Matthew.

Matthew is an unexpected name among the Talpiot group even though it is referred to many times in the genealogical records of Jesus. The name “Matya” (Matia) is inscribed in Hebrew on the outside while the name Mat(y)a on the inside is scratched. Although there are several explanations as to who this Matthew could be, one cannot say with certainty what his relationship was to Jesus (1).

Some scholars contend that there is no Matthew in the immediate family of Jesus. However, according to the genealogy given by Luke (3:23), we know that Mary the mother of Jesus had many “Matthews” in her family, therefore the presence of a “Matthew” in this family’s tomb is consistent with the information provided in the Gospels (2). (See fig. 2)

In Tal Ilan’s onomasticon 46 males were recognized by this name (3).

The Ossuary Of Yeshua bar Yosef
The fourth ossuary was a plain limestone ossuary. It was numbered IAA 80-504 and 704 by Rahmani. The Aramaic inscription is generally translated to English as “Jesus son of Joseph”.

The ossuary bearing the Aramaic inscription “Yeshua bar Yosef” is probably the most sensational of the Talpiot ossuaries. There are several claims that this is the ossuary of Jesus of Nazareth. This is a plain limestone ossuary on which the first name is preceded by a big cross-mark. (See fig 1). The name itself is difficult to read because of the scratches and the clumsiness of the superficial inscription. However the same name appearing on ossuary 702 helps to decipher the inscription and say with a degree of accuracy that the inscription is Yeshua.

Jesus ossuary

Ossuary said to be that of Jesus of Nazareth (Fig. 1)

Levi Rahmani an Israeli archeologist had this to say about the inscription “The first name, preceded by a large cross-mark, is difficult to read, as the incisions are clumsily carved and badly scratched. There seems to be a vertical stroke representing a yod, followed by a shin; the vav merges with the right stroke of the ‘ayin. The reading ‘Yeshua’ is corroborated by the inscription on No. 702 referring to Yeshua, the father of Yehuda.” Amos Kloner, an archeologist, had this to say about the inscription “The first name following the X mark is difficult to read. In contrast to other ossuaries in this tomb, the incisions are here superficial and cursorily carved. Each of the four letters suggesting ‘Yeshua’ is unclear, but the reading is corroborated by the inscription on Ossuary 2, above.”

Both Rahmani and Kloner agreed that the inscription on this ossuary was difficult to read and that the translation was questionable. Some have suggested that the inscription should read as “Hanun”. There is yet another ossuary in the collection of the State of Israel with the inscription saying “Jesus the son of Joseph”. However, this ossuary is unprovenanced (4). The inscription is the other instance of a personal name with patronymics (5).

The Ossuary Of Yose
The fifth ossuary numbered IAA 80-504 – Rahmani 705 – is another unadorned ossuary with the name “Yose” inscribed on it. “Yose is an abbreviation for Yehosef or Joseph.

This plain ossuary inscribed YWSH is another controversial ossuary. While Tabor seems to say that this should be interpreted as Yoseh, some scholars contend that the name should be interpreted as Yosah. Yosah, they explain is not the Hebrew equivalent of the Greek for Joses who is the brother of Jesus (Mark 6:3). While Kloner interprets the inscription as Yose and an abbreviation of Yehosef (Joseph), he does not attach any significance to the name it being the second most common male name of that time after Simon. (See fig. 2)

six ossuaries

(Fig. 2)

Kloner has this to say about the name: “Yose is a contraction of Yehosef (Joseph), the second most common name in the Second Temple period (Ilan 1987: 238; see Hachlili 1984: 188–190). [Simon / Simeon is the most popular name]. Ilan has recorded 232 individuals with this name (2002: 150–168, 449). Some 35% of all known Jewish males of the Hellenistic and Roman periods in Eretz Israel bore? Hasmonean? names: Matthew (Ossuary 3, above), John, Simon, Judas (Ossuaries 2 and 4, above), Eleazar, and Jonathan. Joseph was the sixth brother in the family (2 Maccabbees 8:22), and the similar popularity of this name may be explained by this fact (Ilan 1987: 2 40–241)” (6).

Some scholars consider this Hebrew inscription “Yose” a rare rendition of a nickname for the name “Yosef”. Jesus is said to have had four brothers – whether full brothers, half-brothers, or cousins – one of whom was Joseph. In the Gospel of Mark, the earliest Gospel, Jesus’ brother Joseph is referred to as “Yose” (7).

It has been generally understood that Jesus’ father was named Joseph and that Jesus’ brother was called Joses. However we must note that while Mark refers to the brother of Jesus as Joses, he never refers to the father of Jesus by name. On the other hand while Matthew refers to the brother of Jesus as Joseph, he refers to the father of Jesus also as Joseph. There is not an instance in the Gospels that refers to the father as Joseph and the brother as Joses (8).

Joseph in itself is a very common name; 14% of males at that time were called Joseph. We are given to understand that the name was so commonly used that there were more than one Joseph in a family and that if the father was named Joseph the son used a nickname Joses to distinguish one Joseph from the other (9). Bock, Darrell L., and Wallace, Daniel B., give this explanation to take away some of the significance of the “Yoseh” in the Talpiot tomb. A study was conducted to see how often this practice of naming two different Josephs differently in one family. The conclusion of this study is significant to the extent that there is only one instance of the two names occurring together in one family and that is the instance of the Talpiot tomb (10).

The Ossuary Of Marya
The sixth inscribed ossuary numbered IAA 80-505 – Rahmani 706 – was of plain limestone and was inscribed with the name “Marya”.

This ossuary may be the ossuary of the mother of Jesus as this is a popular Aramaic version of reference to Mary the mother of Jesus. Besides there is a distinction in the way in which this Mary was referred to from the way in which Mary Magdalene was referred: Miriame / Miriamne. However it must be remembered that 25% of all Jewish women of that time were named “Miriam”. Nevertheless the mother of Jesus was always referred to in the Latin version of Miriam which is Maria. This is indeed rare since, it was seldom that a Hebrew name was phonetically inscribed in Latin (11). (See fig. 2)

We do not know on what basis Rahmani concludes – albeit cautiously – that Yose of ossuary 705 and Marya of ossuary 706 may be the parents of Yeshua (704) and the grandparents of Yehuda (702). However Simcha concurs with Tabor’s conclusion that ossuary 705 contained the bones of Jose the brother of Jesus. According to Mark 6:3 Jesus had a brother named Jose (12).

The Plain Ossuaries
The remaining three ossuaries that did not have any inscriptions were numbered IAA 80-506 – Rahmani 707, IAA 80-507 – Rahmani 708 – and IAA 80-508 – Rahmani – 709.

These three ossuaries had rosettes on them.

The tenth ossuary that went missing was numbered IAA 80-509. This ossuary was also labeled “plain”. Rahmani states that it was a “plain, broken specimen” but does not list it in his catalogue. (See fig. 2).

Please also read my blogs:

Judah – Was He The Son Of Jesus And Mary Magdalene? at

Is This The Ossuary of Mary Magdalene? at

The Talpiot Tomb – An Accidental Discovery at

(1) Ben-David, Yirm?yahu . (2008). Burning Issues: Talpiot Tomb Complex. Retrieved 2011, from

(2) Younker, Randall W. (2007). The Jesus Tomb. Retrieved 2011, from

(3) (4) (6) Franz, Gordon. (2007). The So-Called Jesus Family Tomb. Retrieved 2011, from

(5) Rollston, Christopher A. (2007). Prosopography and the Talpiyot Yeshua Family Tomb: Pensées of a Palaeographer. Retrieved 2011, from

(7) (12) The Lost Tomb of Jesus. (n.d). Retrieved 2011, from

(8) Goodacre, Mark. (2010). Retrieved 2010 from

(9) Bock, Darrell L., and Wallace, Daniel B., Dethroning Jesus: Exposing Popular Culture’s Quest to Unseat the Biblical Christ,

(10) Kilty, Kevin . (2010). Talpiot Dethroned. Retrieved 2011, from

(11) Younker, Randall W. (2007). The Jesus Tomb. Retrieved 2011, from


Have Tomb, Will Argue, Page 3, Dare We Trust Eusebius the “Lair?”

Picture Credits:
(Fig 1) The Jesus ossuary

(Fig 2) The other ossuaries


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