In October 2002, the Biblical Archaeology Society announced a discovery which could provide historical evidence for the existence of Jesus. An inscription had been found on an ancient bone box(ossuary)that reads "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus." If authentic, this container provides the only new Testament-era mention of the central figure of Christianity and is the first-ever archaeological discovery to corroborate biblical references to Jesus. This June, the Discovery Channel followed the story of the unearthing in Israel of this ancient ossuary, providing viewers with new information about the discovery of this historic relic and raising questions about Jesus' family life.

According to one of the world's leading specialist in ancient inscriptions, Andre Lemaire of the Sorbonne University in Paris, the Aramaic words etched on the box's side show a cursive form of writing used only from about 10 to 70 AD. Ancient inscriptions are typically found on royal monuments or on lavish tombs, commemorating rulers and other official figures. But Jesus, who was raised by a carpenter, was a man of the people, so finding documentation of his family is unexpected. The find is also significant in that it corroborates the existence of Joseph, Jesus' father, and James, Jesus’ brother and a leader of the early Christian church in Jerusalem. The family relationships contained on the ossuary helped experts uncover that the inscription very likely refers to the biblical James, brother of Jesus. Although all three names were common in ancient times, the statistical probability of their appearing in that combination is extremely slim. In addition, the mention of a brother is unusual, indicating that this Jesus must have been a well-known figure.