Thursday, 5 May 2011

What happened to the metal codices?

The Christian Science Monitor has an article by Taylor Luck, ('What happened to the metal codices that promised Christian revelations?', May 5, 2011). This warns
"the tiny books have stirred debate over the Christian 'secrets' they could contain and who can sell them. Now, they may never be decoded".
Not one word in the article that there may not be anything there to be 'decoded' because many scholars have concluded they are silly fakes. The problems, apparently, are being caused by that intransigent source country from which, by all accounts, these objects were taken (illegally if they are genuine antiquities). The very idea ! How can a country ask that illegally exported items are returned? What spoilsports! Now:
the looming legal battle may prevent the books from ever reaching a museum. With mounting pressure from the Jordanian government and the media exposure generated by the claims, Elkington and Mr. Saad say Saeda is looking to make a quick and easy sale. "If these books are sold to private collectors, the world will never see them," says Elkington.
Make a quick and easy sale of what? Fake antiquities sold to a lorry driver by Jordanian con-man, or illegally exported antiquities? It seems to me neither is particularly saleable, well - not at least without kicking up a bit of media hype...

I suppose also they have a greater value as "mysterious books yet to be decoded" than "obvious fakes once you start to look at them" which I think may explain why the owner has reportedly stopped showing them around.

UPDATE: Please see David Gill's comment below and follow the link for some useful discussion of the objects.

Vignette: Israeli transport company and lead codices owner Hassan Saeda wants (you) to believe the objects are authentic antiquities.


David Gill said...

See some of the reports linked here.

Paul Barford said...

An excellent collection of information, and incidentally a pretty good example of the ability of the Internet to disseminate scholarly information as a response to pseudoarchaeology. Thanks

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