Debate of Authenticity
There has been some debate over the authenticity of the Caiaphas Ossuary. The inscription translates as “Joseph son of Caiaphas” which has raised some discussion among scholars. It is commonly pointed out that the first century Jewish historian Josephus refers to the high priest of this time as Joseph Caiaphas, whereas the gospels in the New Testament call him Caiaphas. It is likely then, that the writers of the gospels simply referred to this high priest by his family name, Caiaphas. The possibility that the same person is referred to by the inscription on the ossuary, with this evidence, is one which is accepted by many. The Israel Antiques Authority confirmed it’s authenticity in 2011. However, there are some who have disagreed.
Some have suggested that the spelling of the name on the inscription makes it unclear whether it actually speaks of a Caiaphas, or a different name. He points out that the second letter in the Hebrew inscription is probably more likely to be the letter ו rather than the letter י and so would explain why the letter is omitted in the other inscriptions. This change in spelling would mean that the inscription does not say “Joseph son of Caiaphas”, but rather, “Joseph son of Qopha” or “Joseph son of Qupha” and so this would not be the same man who was the high priest during the time of Jesus’ ministry. Another problem which has been raised is that the ossuary is very intricate and ornate, yet was found in a very plain tomb, and so would seem slightly out of place. But the main issue with this is that usually important people, such as the high priest would be buried in tombs that are more special than others.
So while many accept the authenticity of this ossuary, there are still valid arguments for not believing the ossuary to be authentic.