It was billed as the Trial of the Century. Five men, among them the most respected antiquities experts in Israel, went on trial in 2005 accused of faking a series of priceless artefacts and conspiring to sell them to museums and collectors around the world. Four years, 100 witnesses and nearly 10,000 pages of testimony later, only two defendants are left. Did these men really fake the burial box of Jesus's brother, a monumental First Temple inscription commissioned by King Jehoash, seals, inscribed stone and pottery vessels, a stunning engraved stone oil lamp and other priceless items? Or have the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Israel police subjected innocent men to a five-year, multi-million-dollar, career-breaking witchhunt? Even though this trial could change everything we think we know about the Bible and the life of Jesus, only one reporter has followed it day to day. MATTHEW KALMAN co-authored the first published story on the James Ossuary for TIME magazine in 2002 and has since reported on the case for the Globe & Mail, BBC, CTV, the Discovery Channel, Boston Globe and San Francisco Chronicle. He is the only journalist covering the trial.
Nina Burleigh's book is the most in-depth telling of the police investigation and trial so far. She believes the ossuary and other items on the indictment are fakes
Victor Sasson, who appeared as a defense witness, turned the story of the ossuary trial into a scholarly detective novel
Hershel Shanks's book on the ossuary, written with Ben Witherington. Shanks was the first to publish the ossuary, in the Biblical Archeology Review in 2002. He is convinced it is authentic
A collection of essays published in 2009 and edited by Ryan Byrne and Bernadette McNary-Zak assumes from the start that the ossuary is a forgery. The research is sloppy - apparently based largely on press cuttings - and there are some woeful errors. Hershel Shanks is re-dubbed "Herschel"