Biblical Archaeology Review’s Regrettable and Lamentable Plagiarism

At Bible and Interpretation we read

As our readers know, B&I is always on the lookout for news about the trial of Oded Golan, whom the Israel Antiquities Authority has accused of forging antiquities, especially the inscription found on the so-called James Ossuary. So when an August 31st email from the Biblical Archaeological Society announced a new essay on the BAR website by Golan himself, we momentarily hoped that news on the trial was breaking. But upon closer inspection, Golan’s entire article turned out to be one we had already published, word-for-word, in spring 2011, “The Authenticity of the James Ossuary and the Jehoash Tablet Inscriptions—a Summary of Expert Trial Witnesses”.

Golan’s essay is a composition we published in response to an article by Gideon Avni, Director of Excavations and Surveys for the Israel Antiquities Authority. In March 2011, Avni had challenged the authenticity of the James ossuary in an important article published here in Bible and Interpretation, “On Archaeology, Forgeries, and Public Awareness: The ‘James Brother of Jesus’ Ossuary in Retrospect.” That of course is the ossuary under debate in Golan’s trial and Golan immediately requested that he be able to respond to Avni’s piece. We agreed and published his article. That article later appeared essentially verbatim on BAR’s website. After leaving our prior publication uncredited, it is good to see that they have finally provided the appropriate citation to Bible and Interpretation.

Don’t feel too badly- I’ve noticed over time that BAR does that a lot.    It’s one of the reasons I’m constantly harping on bibliobloggers to play fair and cite their sources.  I think it’s grossly dishonest to pretend that one has found, or written, something when one has been pointed to it and copied it.

Citing sources is scholarship.  Pretending originality, well that’s something quite different.