Sunday, 15 March 2020

The Forger of the Marzeah Papyrus

Professor Rollston's discussion of the identity of the MoB Dead Sea Scrolls Forger recalls another documentary forgery, the so-called Marzeah Papyrus. Like one of the MoB DSS fragments this toured the US as part of a larger exhibition ("Ink and Blood") touted as the "earliest Hebrew writing on papyrus" (aka the "Elohim papyrus").
Where was it discovered? No one knows. When was it discovered? No one knows. It was first published in 1990 in the journal Semitica by Pierre Bordreuil and Dennis Pardee, two highly respected experts in the North-West Semitic languages. In their article, the authors describe how photographs of the document came to them from other scholars seeking their views on the authenticity of the papyrus, but the ultimate source of the photographs and the owner of the artifact was not named. They stated only that the text is "now in the hands of persons wishing to sell it at a high price."
[...] it seems to us that this text shows sufficient internal coherence to dispel the hypothesis of forgery and to present it without prejudice to the attention of specialists.
They base their conclusion of authenticity primarily on the sophistication of the language in the papyrus, concluding that a putative forger must have been a highly trained specialist in the Semitic languages, with a sophisticated understanding of dialectology, as well as a master of paleography. They consider this combination of talents an unlikely one in a forger and conclude in favor of the authenticity of the document.
(Edward M. Cook, ' Thoughts on the Marzeah Papyrus' Ralph the Sacred River Tuesday, January 25, 2005).
Cook himself is sceptical: "its unknown provenance, uncertain history, unavailability for technical protocols, and association with the big-money antiquities trade, especially in the wake of the recent forgery indictments, should make scholars demand a closer examination and more exacting tests before putting any further confidence in the document". Consensus now is that the document was a forgery. Cook's post contains more information on that Ink and blood travelling exhibit that is reported to begin again touring the US (apparently without this document).

No comments:

Creative Commons License
Ten utwór jest dostępny na licencji Creative Commons Uznanie autorstwa-Bez utworów zależnych 3.0 Unported.