Where Are the Other Fake Fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls?

"Sixteen forgeries have been discovered so far in the collections of unsuspecting evangelicals. Experts have suspicions about many more." - CToday

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Bert Perry's picture

I personally remember my joy when I purchased a couple of 1700s era German Bible portions, and so I can see how prosperous evangelicals would want to have texts that are a couple thousand years closer to the autographs.  That said, I was buying something actually fairly common and less valuable, so I needed merely my own view of the item's worth, not a professional appraiser.  Looks like a lot of my brothers needed the latter--and that the latter would have said "please don't buy this."

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

In the case of Dead Sea Scrolls fragments, there's quite a bit more to it than the services of a professional appraiser, which I'm sure the folks at Museum of the Bible used. 

It apparently took months of analysis including sophisticated miscroscopy and teams of researchersa and fraud experts--to determine that their fragments were fake. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/2020/03/museum-of-the-bible-d...

It's a fascinating story, though you'll have to give National Geographic an email address to access it.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Bert Perry's picture

Think about it a moment.  If you're an appraiser who wants to work in antiquities, shouldn't you know about the things your link mentions?  If you don't, you're like an appraiser of used tractors (road or farm) who doesn't insist on tests of the hydraulics and horsepower, or a used car dealer who doesn't consult a mechanic before selling the vehicles.

So no, the buyers did not procure the services of a competent appraiser in the field.  The fact that detecting the frauds was that easy attests to that.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

I'm not seeing how a discovery that took months of research by multiple teams proves MOTB didn't use an appraiser.

Maybe there is other evidence of that?

The gaps in provenance were pretty obvious, but I get the impression MOTB knew about those (from their appraiser?) and did it anyway. 

Edit. Yeah, this doesn't sound like a "we just went and randomly bought these items without looking at all into their authenticity" scenario.

Starting in 2002, 70 more Dead Sea Scroll fragments appeared on the market. Dead Sea Scrolls experts endorsed them as authentic. Between 2009 and 2014, Steve Green, president of Hobby Lobby and collector of biblical manuscripts and artifacts, purchased a total of 16 fragments with plans to display them in the soon-to-be-built Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C. When they were published in 2016, scholars had already started to doubt the fragments’ authenticity. While five of the fragments underwent scientific testing in Germany in 2017, the museum opened with the fragments on display, with signs informing visitors of their uncertain status. (N.Review)

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.