The 25 newly published scroll fragments were purchased by two separate collectors.
Between 2009 and 2014, Steve Green, the owner of Hobby Lobby, a chain of arts and crafts stores, purchased 13 of the fragments, which he has donated, along with thousands of other artifacts, to the Museum of the Bible. Green is helping to fund construction of the museum, scheduled to open in Washington, D.C., next fall. (A fly-through of the museum can be seen on YouTube).
A team of scholars has published details of these donated fragments in the book volume “Dead Sea Scrolls Fragments in the Museum Collection” (Brill, 2016).
The provenance of this batch of scrolls is not certain.
“Some of these fragments must have come from Qumran, probably Cave 4, while the others may have derived from other sites in the Judean Desert,” wrote Emanuel Tov, a professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in the book volume. “Unfortunately, little is known about the provenance of these fragments because most sellers did not provide such information at the time of the sale.”
Antiquities dealer William Kando told Live Science that he doesn’t know where the donated fragments originated.
Scientists are conducting tests on the donated fragments to help determine if any are forgeries, said Michael Holmes, executive director of the Museum of the Bible Scholars Initiative, in a statement sent to Live Science.
The results will be combined with an analysis of the writing to help determine what the chances are of the different fragments being forgeries.
“The results will be incorporated in our future museum exhibits, inviting visitors to grasp and engage with issues involved with assessing authenticity,” Holmes said.
And more. With thanks to the wondrous Roberta Mazza for the HT. Some day… one day… unprovenanced stuff will be treated with the suspicion it deserves. Right Karen King?