I Guess That Shows You, Minimalists… (Or, More Misrepresentation of Archaeology)

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They sure are making a lot out of a little.  Talk about your exaggeration and misrepresentation of the archaeological facts…  Poor Qeiyafa.

The Ignorant Cohort of Elkingtons Are Still Trying to Convince the World that The ‘Lead Codices’ Are Important

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They’ve gone full bore PR campaign to do it in an ignorance laced ‘interview’ which is nothing more than a poorly framed parade example of pseudo-scholarship.

The ‘International Times’ must have been paid a lot of money for the ‘privilege’ of publishing this rapaciously senseless ‘interview’.  You’ll enjoy it.  Especially if you are a biblioblogger.  The Elkington’s don’t like you at all.  But probably only because you’re putting a dent in their chances of selling their ‘product’.

If you want one of these little trinkets, next time you’re in Jordan, you can pick up a dozen.  Easily.  And then you can try to pimp them too.  But be sure to be mad at anyone who questions your ‘scholarship’.

With thanks to Jim Aitken for telling me about the farcical nonsense.

Yay! More Archaeological Use of Jesus Without any Evidence!

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For the Rev. Juan M. Solana, it was the spiritual equivalent of striking oil.  When he set out to develop a resort for Christian pilgrims in Galilee, he unearthed a holy site: the presumed hometown of Mary Magdalene and an ancient synagogue where experts say Jesus may well have taught. The project, which Father Solana, a Roman Catholic priest, describes as “providential,” will be blessed by Pope Francis during his visit to the Holy Land this month.

Yay!  Now if only they could also connect the site to Abraham and Jacob and Joshua and Moses they’d have it made.  They could erect all sorts of ‘Jesus slept here’ signs and tell tourists anything they liked because without contradictory evidence they will be believed.  Even with contradictory evidence, or as the case is presently, no evidence at ALL, they’ll still be believed.

Poor Jesus.  He’s used to sell more stuff than anyone else.

Oded Gets His Fake Back

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jehoashAn inscribed stone that may be the only remnant of Solomon’s Temple has been returned to its owner after an 11-year legal battle waged by the Israeli government.

So Matthew Kalman, referring to the return to Oded Golan of his fake, patently fake, obviously fake, tremendously fake fraudulent ‘Jehoash Tablet’.

I hope he sells it to a gullible collector for 80 bazillion dollars and the collector travels the world showing it off at shows where films by Simcha Jacobovici play on monitors in loud surround sound and visitors are separated from their hard earned money to the tune of $100 a pop.  That would be a fitting fate for the fake.  And for all those people ignorant enough to bow at the altar of fraud.

Maybe Harvard Theological Review will publish an essay on it too, in which the author of the piece defends the authenticity of the holy relic in spite of the fact that there’s not one scintilla of evidence anywhere at all that the thing is authentic and anything other than a forgery.  That would be the icing on the cake.

A Guest Post – By Joe Zias: “A Dummies Guide to Koshering Forged Antiquities”

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A Dummies Guide to Koshering Forged Antiquities

This whole sad “Jesus wife ” papyrus affair reminds me of an incident in Ein Gedi a few years back. A high ranking official from the IAA where I had been employed, visited the on-going excavations there and the archaeologist, excitedly showed him an amulet with Jewish symbols found in-situ, earlier that day. The experienced excavator was thinking of calling a press conference to announce the find. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed and the official from the IAA showed him, despite the fact that it was found in-situ, it had been planted and was a modern day forgery. The question now becomes why? Well as I’ve said time and time again, ‘we’ve seen this movie before’ in that the forger will wait until after the forged artifact is shown in a press conference, with the archaeologist believing that as it was found in-situ, it was authentic, thus giving it his seal of approval. Sooner or later, identical amulets will appear on the dealers shelves or as with what happens with high end items, there are always buyers waiting in line to purchase these finds, bypassing the market. I, in fact, was once approached by an individual who asked me to ‘plant’/salt an ostraca in an excavation in which Yadin had excavated. That ‘2,000 year old’ zinc coffin lid found in Qumran, coated with modern day paint to prevent corrosion, is but another example in which items are salted into a dig.

I have this uneasy feeling that Professor King, may have been unwittingly duped into such a transaction and it would just be a matter of time before a few more similar fragments would turn up on the market, as we have seen with those Jordanian lead codices. We’re dealing with highly sophisticated forgers, which it would appear have assistance from academically trained scholars.

Perhaps no field is immune to forgery as when it comes to amber studies, in which amber is melted down and modern day insects are embedded in the new amber which is difficult to tell, unless one takes the item to an entomologist who can readily discern a modern fly from one in antiquity. One of the EU labs producing these fakes eventually hired a university trained entomologist whose task was to change or remove those morphological features in which one could easily determine if the insect was recently embedded or ancient, thus removing tell tale signs of forgery. It eventually ended up in the courts when a US university challenged their right to do such, and the lab producing these forged items replied, ‘it’s no ones business what we do’.

Anything, you see, can be made kosher if the right ‘expert’ is at work.

It’s Just Another Reason To Disdain the So Called ‘Apologetic Enterprise’

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Say what you want about Karl Barth, he was, admittedly, wrong about a number of things; but he was 1000% correct to despise the ‘apologetic’ enterprise.  Read his Church Dogmatics for the full fury of his rage against the ignorant and ungodly attempt at the rationalization and bastardization of the Christian faith.

In the meanwhile, yet another reason to despise apologetics has reared its ugly head- once more in the person of one Josh McDowell.

All I wish to say in response is-  ugh.  Stop it.

It Takes a Village (Of Crooks to Foist Fraud on the Public)

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A very interesting essay in the NYT about fake paintings which, mutatis mutandis, is also true of ‘biblical antiquities’.  It really does take a whole team of fraudsters to convince the public of the historical value of a trinket.  From dealers to sellers to collectors to ‘scholars’ whose interest lies less in scholarship and more in fame or renown.

The recent arrest in Spain of two brothers accused of passing off forged paintings as the work of America’s greatest Modernist masters has refocused attention on the people behind an art fraud that has lasted 15 years, garnered $80 million and helped bring down New York’s oldest gallery, Knoedler & Company. But court documents filed in connection with the case reveal that ambitious art swindles like this one depend on far more than an ingenious con operation or a gifted imitator. Rather, a network of people, sometimes unwittingly, repeatedly helped lend these fake paintings a veneer of credibility. When it comes to the sale of bogus art, it takes a village.

Yes- and in the world of papyrus fragments and other frauds it takes a village and a lot of gullibility.  Just see what’s been made of the fraudulent ‘Jesus Wife’ fragment, the ‘James Ossuary inscription’, the ‘Jehoash Tablet’, the ‘Jordan Lead Codices’, and all the other absurd nonsense spewing from the workshops of the East.

Yet Another ‘Image Of Jesus’ – And This one is ‘The Earliest’! (Aren’t They All)

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Egypt dig may have unearthed earliest image of Jesus

Says Ha’aretz.

Curly-haired young man on wall of 6th-century early Christian tomb could have been Christ, postulate Spanish Egyptologists.

Um hm

A team of Spanish Egyptologists may have found one of the earliest-known pictures of Jesus Christ, in a 6th-century tomb unearthed in Upper Egypt. That and other images are painted onto the walls of a crypt inside an underground structure, whose use has otherwise baffled the finders.

The main attraction at Al Bahnasa is Oxyrhynchus, which was a regional capital in ancient Upper Egypt some 160km south of Cairo, where interestingly the locals apparently worshipped a sacred Nile fish that, according to legend, swallowed Osiris’ penis when he was dismembered by his brother Seth. The ancient city also boasts a number of temples to Osiris. But the “exceptional” discovery the archaeological team made in the tomb dates from a much later era, the 6th century C.E., says the team headed by Spanish archaeologist Josep Padro.

The tomb is believed to have been the interment site for a writer and a priestly family, though the archaeologists do not understand the function of the underground stone structure, they admit. But inside the crypt, they found an image from the first Coptic Christian period showing a young man with curly hair and a short tunic, with a hand raised in blessing.

Well, I guess we know what Jesus must have looked like- because 6th century art is photographically accurate….

How long will it be before some archaeologist finds a pile of poo in a dig and declares it the very poo of Jesus because it was located near a wall painting of Jesus on a Roman toilet?

Oh for the days when supposition and guesswork weren’t the main tools used by scholars.  These days, just find something, attach ‘Jesus’ or ‘Iron Age Israel’ to it and people without sense will be wetting themselves like an excited puppy about it.

Bill Nye is Ken Ham’s Best Friend, and Scholarship’s Worst Enemy

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Well it accomplished Ken Ham’s goal- he got a lot of public attention and he raised enough money from that attention to finish his Noah’s Ark theme park.  In sum and substance, then, Bill Nye is now Ken Ham’s chief fundraiser.  Nice work, Billy

The founder of a Bible-themed museum who recently debated evolution with TV’s “Science Guy” Bill Nye said Thursday that the widely watched event helped to boost enthusiasm among followers who invested in a project to build a 510-foot Noah’s Ark.

In a webcast from the same Creation Museum stage where the debate took place, Ken Ham announced that the municipal bond offering has raised enough money to begin construction on the wooden ark, estimated to cost about $73 million. Groundbreaking is planned for May and the ark is expected to be finished by the summer of 2016.

“It did help,” Ham said of the Feb. 4 debate with Nye. “We obviously had a big spurt toward the end (of the bond deadline), and I think it was people who were involved in this, who really decided they were going to do something.”

Bill Nye is Ken Ham’s best friend.  And scholarship’s worst enemy.

Answering Your Letters

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I notice that you haven’t said anything about the story of Ai and how it prooves the Bible.  Why not?  Afraid?  Here it is:


Dear Tony,

There’s no need for anything to be said about it for one simple reason- it is based, as are all ‘maximalist’ arguments, on circular reasoning.  That is, these ‘scholars’ have found something they think, for them, proves the Bible.  If they knew what they were doing they would simply present their findings without reference to the Bible and then leave it to archaeologists to discuss.  But since they knew what they were looking for before they found it, they found exactly what they were looking for, proving (only to themselves) that they had what they knew they had.

Furthermore, the discovery of a scarab is a non discovery.  The things were all over the place.  Israel, you’ll recall, was controlled by Egypt for a very long time (See the Amarna Letters).

In other words, the discovery is no big deal.  It just isn’t.  That, by the way, is why you haven’t heard anything about the find among professional archaeologists.  They know it’s nothing.  The only ones fascinated by it are fundamentalists who think it bolsters their case and uninformed folk who don’t know much about the history of the Levant.