Monday, 23 March 2020

MoB DSS: the Dealers

Or who is there among you, who, if his son
asks him for bread, will give him a stone?

Matthew 7:9

The only DSS are ones that
can be documented as having
come from a specific set
of contexts (Picture, Live Science)
The provenances pages of the Museum of the Bible gives the origins of the Dead Sea Scrolls that the Greens bought.
I - Four purchased from Dr. Craig Lampe in November 2009: SCR.000120 (Exodus), SCR.000121 (Psalms), SCR.000122 (Leviticus?), SCR.000123 (Instruction).
II - One purchased from Michael Sharpe Rare and Antiquarian Books in February 2010: SCR.000124 (Genesis).
III - Seven purchased from William Kando in May 2010: SCR.003170 (Daniel), SCR.003171 (Jonah), SCR.003172 (Jeremiah), SCR.003173 (Numbers), SCR.003174 (Ezekiel), SCR.003175 (Nehemiah), SCR.003183 (Micah).
IV - Four purchased from Andrew Stimer in October 2014: SCR.004742 (Leviticus), SCR.004741, SCR.004768, and SCR.004769 (the latter three are unidentified and were not included in the Brill volume) 

 The Kando family fragments were among those first suspected of being fakes by Kipp Davis.

The first purchases were from the US dealer in Goodyear, Arizona. This is a very oh-so-American setup, read about it here: "In 1987, the International Director of the World Bible Society, Dr. Craig Lampe, decided to create a very special company....". By Divine providence they 'got a great URL' and set about their aim of cornering the global market in rare and antique Bibles.  Hmm. 

Michael Sharpe Rare and Antiquarian Books, Pasadena, California sold one fragment, but does not seem to have much of a web presence. 

Andrew Stimer also does not have much of a web presence, he is reputedly  'one of the world’s foremost collectors of biblical antiquities and classic historic books and manuscripts'. But Brent Nongbri has a few more details (Another Part of Scott Carroll’s Manuscript Network June 17, 2019)
See now: Andrew Stimer to Return Five Papyri to the EES

The MoB page blithely goes on "Unfortunately, little is known about the provenance of these fragments because most sellers did not provide such information at the time of the sale . . . they are not connected to either excavations of Bedouin, and several new collections of this type face the same problem In actual fact thee is no 'problem'. If the items are being offered that it is claimed just appeared out of thin air about 2009, 2010 or 2014... then what is the buyer to make of this? They certainly cannot be claimed to be 'grounded', nor can they be claimed to be of licit origins. They are just floating bits of old tat.

They are not even trophy tat. Their trophyness comes from them being not just some tatty old fragments of parchment found somewhere, but actually BEING a find FROM a specific group of items deposited in a certain place (at a certain time). If that cannot be documented, quite simply, they never were Dead Sea Scrolls.

MoB: Surely, part of the fallout of trying to 'bear witness' by buying trophy antiquities to display and impress (and to 'prove the Bible real')... when the artefacts turn out not to be what you believed (had faith) they were - calls that faith, that belief and your gullibility into question.

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