The Latest on the ‘Lead Codices’ from Jordan

The Jordan Times tells us

According to the Department of Antiquities (DoA), initial carbon tests to determine the authenticity of lead-sealed metal books billed as the greatest find in biblical archaeology since the Dead Sea scrolls have been “encouraging”.

“We really believe that we have evidence from this analysis to prove that these materials are authentic,” DoA Director Ziad Saad told The Jordan Times.

The tests, carried out at the Royal Scientific Society labs, indicate that the texts may date back to the early first century AD, at a time when Christians took refuge from persecution on the east bank of the Jordan River.

The codices, which were retrieved by Jordanian security services from the black market last month, are believed to be part of a greater cache of 70 lead-sealed books allegedly uncovered in Jordan and smuggled across the River Jordan into Israel.

The majority of the texts are currently in the possession of Hassan Saeda, an Israeli bedouin farmer who claims that the books, which may tell of the last days of Jesus Christ, were uncovered by his shepherd grandfather some 90 years ago.

I remain skeptical.  Without provenance, without context, how useful would these materials be even if ancient?  It’s not that I’m unwilling to be convinced; it’s that I’m unpersuaded given the lack of archaeological context.  If detailed information of the how, where, and when of the discovery were forthcoming, perhaps I’d change my mind.  But given that there are just so many frauds (both materially and humanly) out there, I’m unwilling to take anyone’s word for something.

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5 thoughts on “The Latest on the ‘Lead Codices’ from Jordan

  1. Robert Deutsch 15 Jun 2011 at 1:18 am

    I will strongly advise colleagues not to rely on the “Jordanian Royal Scientific Society labs” !

    They practice Scientology not science.

    Robert Deutsch


  2. Jona Lendering 15 Jun 2011 at 3:48 am

    A carbon test of an object made of lead?!?!


  3. Jona Lendering 15 Jun 2011 at 4:15 am
  4. […] Lendering, Jim Davila, Mike Heiser, Tom Verenna, and Jim West (twice). Share and […]


  5. Steve Caruso 15 Jun 2011 at 9:56 pm

    Three words: “Lead isotope dating.”

    Seven more words: “For why you no use it, Saad??



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