Thursday, 20 October 2016

Gullible Collectors Naively Stake Faith on Forgeries

Where did they really come from?
Many recent biblical archaeological ‘finds’ have been proven to be false: often after enthusiastic collectors have handed over large wads of cash for an artefact that appears to be a direct link to their faith  (Jamie Seidel, 'Doubts raised over ‘New’ Dead Sea Scroll fragment finds' News Corp Australia Network, 20th October 2016).

Suspicions have been raised about the authenticity of 70 supposedly new fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls [...]  But they have since been sold to private collectors — among them the head of the controversial US Hobby Lobby craft chain — and their true sources are hard to prove. The US Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary owns one piece which contains two of the Bible’s most strident anti-homosexual passages — from the widely separated sections of Leviticus 18 and 20. It’s the very convenience — and marketability — of this text that has some experts raising questions. “It is extremely unlikely that a small Dead Sea Scroll fragment would preserve text from both chapters,” Dead Sea Scroll researcher Arstein Justnes, at University of Agder in Norway, told Newsweek. He said the ‘new’ fragments appeared to be ‘amateurish’ forgeries, copied from textbooks about the real Dead Sea Scrolls. “I think this fragment was produced for American evangelicals,” he reportedly said. “There is a real danger that an increasing number of forgeries is accepted into the datasets on which we base our knowledge of the ancient world.”

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