Friday, 13 March 2020

Brent Nongbri on the MoB's Fake Scrolls

Holey mss
Further on the MoB's fake Dead Sea scrolls: Brent Nongbri "Report: All the "Dead Sea Scrolls" at the Museum of the Bible Are Fakes", Variant Readings March 13th 2020,
 First, National Geographic reports that these findings have been known for many weeks [...] So, the results of the investigation have been known since November. By coincidence they have been made public months later when the world is in the grip of an unprecedented pandemic.
The discovery are pretty damaging to a museum that is apparently built for the express purpose of demonstrating that 'the Bible is true, here in our nation's capital are the objects to prove it', when the objects turn out to be fakes. Another point:
when it comes to the dealers selling the fakes, there are a lot of names that will be familiar to people who have been following other manuscript stories in the news. One of the sellers of the fakes is California collector Andrew Stimer, chairman and CEO of Hope Partners International (HPI), “a Christ-centered international ministry,” who also
bought stolen Oxyrhynchus papyri. Other Museum of the Bible fakes also passed through the infamous collection of Bruce Ferrini. The article also mentions the fakes that were part of the collection of William Noah, the force behind the Ink and Blood travelling exhibition. The origin of [all] these forgeries remains a mystery. So, there is still more work to be done.   
I think the problem this highlights is that a so-called "collection history" (aka "provenance") is not enough. The items in question had (some sort of) collection pedigree. What is important is that none of them was 'grounded' any more than a rumour that they had originated "with" the Kando family (whether or not that is true or not remains to be seen), but that is no confirmation that they'd come from a certain group of ancient jars in a certain set of ancient caves.

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