The Brother of Jesus [NOOK Book]


The discovery of a limestone burial box with the inscription "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus" set the world of biblical archaeology abuzz. Could this be the first tangible proof of Jesus' existence? Hershel Shanks, celebrated for making biblical archaeology accessible to general readers, and Ben Witherington III, leading New Testament expert, reveal not only what the discovery means for understanding the Bible, but what it shows about the family of Jesus and the earliest Christians—and what it may mean ...

See more details below
The Brother of Jesus

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.99 price


The discovery of a limestone burial box with the inscription "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus" set the world of biblical archaeology abuzz. Could this be the first tangible proof of Jesus' existence? Hershel Shanks, celebrated for making biblical archaeology accessible to general readers, and Ben Witherington III, leading New Testament expert, reveal not only what the discovery means for understanding the Bible, but what it shows about the family of Jesus and the earliest Christians—and what it may mean for the most fundamental and deeply held beliefs of the church.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Two distinguished biblical scholars recount the behind-the-scenes story of one of the most important archaeological finds of our time: an inscription on a limestone bone box that provides the first historical evidence for the existence of Jesus and his family.
The Washington Post
Last October, public notice of a limestone box owned by a Tel Aviv collector electrified the small but intense world of biblical archaeology. It is an ossuary, a container just long enough for a thighbone, the longest bone, and roomy enough to harbor all the bones of one body. Between about 20 B.C. and 70 A.D., Jews used to place bodies in catacombs for a year or so to decompose and then move the bones to an ossuary for safekeeping; archaeologists have recovered hundreds of ossuaries from that relatively brief period.

Carved in Aramaic on the side of this particular box is the inscription Ya'akov bar Yosef achui d'Yeshua, which translates to "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus." Some people think it once contained the bones of the eldest of Jesus's four brothers, the leader of the Jewish-Christian community in Jerusalem, a martyr who was stoned to near-death before being finished off with a cudgel. — Alice K. Turner

Publishers Weekly
Last October, biblical archaeologists stunned the world with news that a limestone ossuary with the inscription "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus" had surfaced in Palestine and may have once contained the bones of James, the early church leader and brother of Jesus of Nazareth. While it may seem a startling claim for the unassuming and unadorned 20-inch box, numerous scholars who have examined the ossuary now vouch for its first-century origins, if not its theological significance. Jews employed ossuaries for a relatively brief historical period (approximately 20 B.C. to A.D. 70), which fits with the textual evidence of James's martyrdom around A.D. 62. This book is the first full-length treatment of the ossuary, and is written by a couple of big guns: Shanks is the editor of the Biblical Archaeology Review (which first broke the story), and Witherington is a seminary professor and author of a score of books on the Bible. Their collaboration is a well-argued and truly fascinating study of the ossuary and its importance. The opening chapters tell of the box's discovery and authentication, while the later chapters discuss its potential relevance and describe what is at stake if the ossuary is genuine. Particularly interesting is the book's discussion of what the ossuary does for Jewish-Christian relations: James, the bishop of Jerusalem, was known for encouraging Christians to retain aspects of their Jewish heritage instead of jettisoning that heritage as Paul had. This engaging book invites readers to ponder the numerous questions and possibilities raised by the ossuary's discovery. (Mar. 18) Forecast: This is simply a huge story-the first book to cover what is arguably the most important biblical archeology bonanza since the Dead Sea Scrolls. The authors have already made the rounds of major media, including national network news programs and interview shows. Timed to release a few weeks before Easter and Passover, this could very quickly sell out its 75,000 copy initial print run. Major media coverage, including an hour-long special on the Discovery Channel, will help move the title. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
When an ossuary (a burial box for bones) with the inscription "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus" in Aramaic was brought to light in November 2002, it received worldwide attention. The possibility that this artifact was the ossuary of a brother of Jesus of Nazareth and thus the first archaeological discovery of a link to Jesus and his family, captured the imagination of many. Now Shanks (editor of Biblical Archaeology Review, where he first published an article on the subject) and Witherington (New Testament, Asbury Theological Seminary) have supplied us with a most interesting and helpful book on the subject. In Part 1, Shanks recounts the questions the find brought, the arguments pro and con concerning the genuineness of the box, and the arguments in support of the claim that the Jesus mentioned in the inscription was the Jesus of Nazareth of New Testament fame. In Part 2, Witherington acquaints us with the life of James. He examines legends about him, the argument that he was a cousin rather than the brother of Jesus, and, finally, what impact this discovery might have for the question of the historical Jesus. Both authors do a thorough and balanced job with the subject matter. The enormous interest in the subject, both by scholars and the general public, makes this book an essential purchase for libraries of all sizes.-David Bourquin, California State Univ., San Bernardino Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061941252
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/19/2009
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 870,334
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Hershel Shanks is the premier figure in communicating, through his magazines, books, and conferences, the world of biblical archaeology to general readers. Hershel Shanks is "probably the world's most influential amateur Biblical archeologist," declares New York Times book critic Richard Bernstein. Shanks was also a leading figure in making the complete Dead Sea Scrolls available to the world. He is the editor of the Biblical Archaeology Review, Bible Review, Archaeology Odyssey, and Moment. He is the author and editor of several major books on the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jerusalem, and biblical archaeology, including Understanding the Dead Sea Scrolls, The Mystery and Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Ancient Israel: From Abraham to the Roman Destruction of the Temple, Christianity and Rabinnic Judaism, The Search for Jesus, Recent Archaeology in the Land of Israel, Archaeology and the Bible, and Jerusalem: An Archaeological Biography. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Ben Witherington III is professor of New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary. The author of more than thirty books, including The Brother of Jesus, he has twice won the Christianity Today award for one of the best biblical studies books of the year, and he has presented seminars for churches, colleges, and biblical meetings not only in the United States but also in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. Witherington writes for many church and scholarly publications, is a regular contributor to Christianity Today and, and has been featured widely in the national media.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Pt. I The Story of a Remarkable Discovery 1
1 Oh, No! 3
2 An Amazing Discovery 7
3 How Could the Son of God Have a Brother? 23
4 Is It a Fake? 31
5 Is It the Jesus? 53
6 Can We Ignore It? 79
Pt. II The Story of James, Son of Joseph, Brother of Jesus 89
Introduction - In this End, a Beginning 91
7 From Brother to Follower 93
8 From Follower to Head of the Jerusalem Church 111
9 James, Mediator Between Jews and Gentiles 127
10 James the Sage 143
11 The Death of James 165
12 James the Legend 177
13 Brother, Cousin, or Kin? 199
14 Son of Joseph, Brother of Jesus 211
Acknowledgments 225
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 1
( 1 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)