Tuesday 1 December 2020

Antiquities from the Market have NO Scholarly Value

What kind of Evangelism is this anyway?

"The recent discovery of forged fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls at the Museum of the Bible has called attention to the problem of faked antiquities. Evangelical collectors are thinking twice about spending money on rare bits of Bible history, fearing they could be expensive frauds, as Gordon Govier reports in the December issue of Christianity Today. But the problem is deeper than that, says George Washington University professor Christopher Rollston, an expert on ancient biblical inscriptions and the author of a forthcoming book on modern-day frauds. Forgeries corrupt what we think we know about the world of the Bible and create serious challenges for scholars trying to learn about the cultures that produced Moses, David, the prophets, and Christ’s first followers. Rollston thinks scholars have to be much more suspicious of forgeries and evangelicals should stop buying from the antiquities market. [...] The forgeries that we’ve seen produced in the last 40 years—the good forgeries—are definitely by people with training in the field. Forgers are people who have gone through or washed out of graduate programs. Or they’re just venal scholars—greedy scholars with no scruples. I think that’s what we have with the Dead Sea Scroll forgeries at the Museum of the Bible. These are sophisticated forgeries, and I think they’re from a senior scholar with a lot of experience.[...] As far as scholarship is concerned, I have argued that when something comes from the market, we need to flag it immediately and we need to leave that flag there forever. The presupposition shouldn’t be that you have to prove inauthenticity. We need to presuppose it’s bad, flag it, and put a mark that says there’s unknown provenance so it signals to the reader forever that this is from the antiquities market. Scholars can argue that it’s authentic or probably authentic or possibly authentic."
So, that's rather like the unverified "data" on the Portable Antiquities Scheme database where findspots (like the so-called Crosby Garrett Helmet) are nothing more than third party hearsay information. Useless.

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