Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Qty:1
  • List Price: $27.50
  • Save: $2.51 (9%)
FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books.
Only 2 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
Unholy Business: A True T... has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Pages are smooth and clear, with minimal folds or creases. Free of any markings or labels except for a mark on the top edge and tail edge. Minor to moderate wear to dust jacket. *** Fast Amazon shipping, delivery tracking number, no-hassle return policy - your satisfaction is guaranteed!
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Unholy Business: A True Tale of Faith, Greed and Forgery in the Holy Land Hardcover – October 21, 2008

3.6 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews

See all 5 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$24.99
$2.99 $0.01

$24.99 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. Only 2 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • Unholy Business: A True Tale of Faith, Greed and Forgery in the Holy Land
  • +
  • Mirage: Napoleon's Scientists and the Unveiling of Egypt
Total price: $39.98
Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In November 2002, the public display of an ossuary (an ancient burial vessel) inscribed James, the brother of Jesus, sent ripples of excitement, doubt and consternation through both the religious and scholarly worlds. But when scholars took a close look, they declared the inscription a forgery based on the lack of provenance and a tremendous disparity between the physical writing of the word James and the rest of the inscription. In her captivating chronicle, veteran journalist Burleigh (Mirage) enters a dark world full of shady dealings, illicit collectors and monomaniacal archeologists. Along the way we meet an improbable cast of characters, including Oded Golan, the ossuary's owner; André Lemaire, an epigraphist who early on testified to the authenticity of the ossuary's inscription; Shlomo Moussaieff, a billionaire collector with a warehouse full of artifacts of uncertain value; and Israel Finkelstein, a maverick Israeli archeologist who questions the historicity of many biblical events. Burleigh draws readers in from page one and brilliantly captures the compelling debates about archeology's relationship to narratives of faith. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Shrewd and piquant journalist Burleigh, whose last book, Mirage (2007), offers fresh insights into the discovery of the Rosetta stone, tells the full story behind one of the “greatest hoaxes of all times,” the ancient stone box that was presented to the world in 2002 as the ossuary that held the bones of Jesus’ brother, James. With brio and acumen, Burleigh follows the trail of antiquities fraud in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, visiting collectors’ lairs, biblical sites, and archaeological digs. She wryly profiles Oded Golan, the man responsible for the fraudulent ossuary, and Amir Ganor, the Israel Antiquities Authority investigator who broke the case, as well as a motley crew of scholars, tomb looters, dealers, true believers, and antiquities forgers. But Burleigh is most intrigued with the mix of science and wishful thinking that characterizes biblical archaeology as Israel struggles to preserve evidence of this bloodied land’s Jewish heritage, and Christians seek Holy Land artifacts that allegedly offer “physical proof of biblical stories.” In all, a provocative inquiry into the age-old pairing of faith and folly. --Donna Seaman
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Smithsonian (October 21, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780061458453
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061458453
  • ASIN: 0061458457
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #134,341 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Related Media

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Bay Gibbons VINE VOICE on July 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
(Review is based upon Uncorrected Proof)

While reading this book I felt at times like a field archaeologist, sifting through piles of rubble and dirt to find a few precious artifacts of gold. The gold is there, to be sure, in small nuggets. You just have to be willing to dig for it.

Part travelogue, part human interest story, part crime report, part reporter's notepad, the genre of this book is difficult to pin down. It reminded me in many ways of Walking the Bible: A Journey by Land Through the Five Books of Moses (P.S.) (without the religious insight) or Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy(without the recipes). My initial annoyance and disappointment with "Unholy Business" was ultimately tempered when I realized that I was not reading a scholarly work on archaeology, history, linguistics or even criminal forensics, but a kind of breezy and highly personalized travelogue. In hindsight this is not surprising, as Nina Burleigh is listed as a staff writer for "People" magazine, which I dip into briefly during almost every visit to my doctor. The writing of "Unholy Business" fits precisely within the human-interest story found in "People." As a history, I would give the book a single star. As human-interest story cum travelogue, it deserves two stars, possibly the three awarded here.
Read more ›
7 Comments 42 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I read this book because I wanted a journalist's eyeview of the trade in looted and forged artifacts as well as the full story of the James ossuary that disappeared from the press after making such a splash in the early part of this century. In my opinion Nina Burleigh does a very good job of introducing the reader to the characters of the drama-- the scholars, the dealers, the buyers and the agents who are supposed to police them all. Far from finding them distracting, I thought the details she provided about the various people are entertaining and give good visual references. If this doesn't become a documentary then I will be very surprised.

She clearly showed the interests that individuals had in the various sites and the finds that might (or might not) connect them to the Bible-- monetary, reputation, political and religious. And then she brings her story back around to the detective work that led to the discovery of the hidden items, the scientific investigation of the various items that led to the prosecution.

She isn't terribly unkind to anyone, not even Hershel Shanks-- who I first read about when a misguided friend gave me a subscription to Biblical Archaeology Review-- a publication that is indeed quite shiny. Mr. Shanks at the time was being sued by Elisha Qimron, a scholar working on the Dead Sea Scrolls, for publication of his copyrighted work without permission. Mr. Qimron won, I later learned.

Anyway, I found this book informative and entertaining without sliding into the shrillness that can be found in a lot of discussions about religious claims on the Near East and its history. I can safely predict a few hackles will be raised anyway.
Comment 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
During my twenty-four years as an evangelical Christian I devoured anything remotely validating the Bible's authenticity, such as the Noah's Ark expeditions and other key archaeological findings in the Middle East like the Dead Sea Scrolls. Two recent discoveries came to light as I was leaving my faith: The James Ossuary and the Jehoash Tablet. After much debate and analysis it turned out that these controversial items were sophisticated fakes, and their rise and fall is smartly documented in this fascinating book.

"Unholy Business" takes us into the seamy underbelly of the Middle East antiquities trade, specifically within Israel and the Palestine territories. Nina Burleigh covers the recent period when the above finds were unearthed, tested, and found wanting. The James Ossuary, a stone burial box, was inscribed with a phrase that made it the first archaeological object to substantiate Christ's existence (not to mention his father Joseph and brother/cousin James). As for the Jehoash Tablet, it was touted as proof of Solomon's Temple, thus augmenting the Jewish claim to the Temple Mount.

Both artifacts generated religious and political firestorms while being subjected to the scrutiny of reputable scholars. After rigorous analysis, the experts came to the conclusion that both items were bogus due to various inconsistencies and anachronisms. The persons held responsible for the frauds were charged with "creating a series of forgeries and scheming to sell them," and were subjected to a drawn-out legal ordeal that further tainted the situation, thus enabling some quarters to still claim that the items are genuine. Indeed, the title "Unholy Business" is an apt description of the entire affair.
Read more ›
3 Comments 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Unholy Business: A True Tale of Faith, Greed and Forgery in the Holy Land
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: Unholy Business: A True Tale of Faith, Greed and Forgery in the Holy Land