Earliest Christian Book is a Fake

I should have known. Almost every Lent there is a new discovery of a relic         that is going to blow the minds of Christians everywhere when they discover the REAL Jesus.

This is getting old and boring.

Michael Barber has the scope over at his place, the Sacred Page: The “Discovery” is a Fake: Another Triumph for Biblioblogging.

“Long story short, after further investigation it is now clear that these “newly” found “documents” are fakes–and the world has the biblioblogosphere for revealing that.

While media reports have sensationalized the story, academic bloggers have been slowly picking this apart. Mark Goodacre has an excellent round up. See also James McGrath’s post.

How do we know the discovery is a fraud? Well, for one thing, as Peter Thonemann at Oxford has pointed out, the Greek text was written by someone who apparently doesn’t know the Greek alphabet! Most amusingly, the writing mixes up the Lambda (the Greek “L”) and the Alpha (the Greek “A”). Not a very promising sign of authenticity!’

So. . . we can all move on now. Of course, don’t hold your breath for the retractions. ”


About Susan Kehoe

I am the wife of a Catholic deacon living in Des Moines Iowa. My husband Larry was ordained in 2006. We have two children and five grandchildren.. Our daughter and her family live in Ireland, and our son and his family live in Franklin Massachusetts.
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2 Responses to Earliest Christian Book is a Fake

  1. LeAnn says:

    I wondered if it was a fake when I read some about the current owner, who is not the person who ‘discovered’ the book. He has told some reporters that he inherited it from his grandfather. He told an auction house he bought it from a dealer. Wouldn’t the amazing story of this discovery be consistent from day to day if it were authentic? And for a supposed Bedouin the owner is surprisingly western in his clothing and shaving!

    Like

  2. LeAnn says:

    from the uk daily mail
    “…The books are currently in the possession of Hassan Saida, in Umm al-Ghanim, Shibli, which is at the foot of Mount Tabor, 18 miles west of the Sea of Galilee.

    Saida owns and operates a haulage business consisting of at least nine large flatbed lorries. He is regarded in his village as a wealthy man. His grandfather settled there more than 50 years ago and his mother and four brothers still live there.

    Saida, who is in his mid-30s and married with five or six children, claims he inherited the booklets from his grandfather.

    However, The Mail on Sunday has learned of claims that they first came to light five years ago when his Bedouin business partner met a villager in Jordan who said he had some ancient artefacts to sell.

    The business partner was apparently shown two very small metal books. He brought them back over the border to Israel and Saida became entranced by them, coming to believe they had magical properties and that it was his fate to collect as many as he could.

    The arid, mountainous area where they were found is both militarily sensitive and agriculturally poor. The local people have for generations supplemented their income by hoarding and selling archeological artefacts found in caves.

    More of the booklets were clandestinely smuggled across the border by drivers working for Saida – the smaller ones were typically worn openly as charms hanging from chains around the drivers’ necks, the larger concealed behind car and lorry dashboards.

    In order to finance the purchase of booklets from the Jordanians who had initially discovered them, Saida allegedly went into partnership with a number of other people – including his lawyer from Haifa, Israel.

    Saida’s motives are complex. He constantly studies the booklets, but does not take particularly good care of them, opening some and coating them in olive oil in order to ‘preserve’ them.

    …When he first obtained the booklets, he had no idea what they were or even if they were genuine.

    He contacted Sotheby’s in London in 2007 in an attempt to find an expert opinion, but the famous auction house declined to handle them because their provenance was not known.

    Soon afterwards, the British author and journalist Nick Fielding was approached by a Palestinian woman who was concerned that the booklets would be sold on the black market. Fielding was asked to approach the British Museum, the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge and other places.

    Fielding travelled to Israel and obtained a letter from the Israeli Antiquities Authority saying it had no objection to their being taken abroad for analysis. It appears the IAA believed the booklets were forgeries on the basis that nothing like them had been discovered before.

    None of the museums wanted to get involved, again because of concerns over provenance. Fielding was then asked to approach experts to find out what they were and if they were genuine. David Feather, who is a metallurgist as well as an expert on the Dead Sea Scrolls,

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1372741/Hidden-cave-First-portrait-Jesus-1-70-ancient-books.html#ixzz1IaFqHg3L

    Hardly the work of an “illiterate Bedouin” as claimed by some articles.

    Like

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