Oh Great, There Are More ‘Metal Codices’ in the News…

06 Oct

And this time word that the ‘Seal of Solomon‘ is among them.  Jim D. notes

There are several points to note. First, the ring-bound metal book in the left foreground looks very much like one of those Jordanian lead codices. Second, some gold codices with Jewish imagery are already known. Some are in the possession of a dealer in Karak, Jordan. The gold books in the photo look to be about the same size. (My scale is the tiny codex between the seal stamp and the calf. It is reported to be about two centimeters long.) None of the photos are clear enough for me to identify the image. For the Karak books, see Samuel Zinner’s online report on the Jordan codices, Son of the Star: Bar Kokhba and the Jordanian lead books, pp. 754, 987-9992, 997, 1098, plus, in general, chapter 9 and Appendix III.

Third, the “seal of Solomon” looks like a medieval or modern artifact to me. There is a Talmudic legend about a ring that Solomon used to control demons, but I am not aware of any objects like this one from antiquity.

Fourth, the golden calf has obvious resonances with the biblical golden calf, but this one has a menorah stamped on it. What on earth does that mean? The only comparable object I know of is a bronze and silver bull statue excavated at Ashkelon. It dates to the first half of the second millennium BCE and it is about the same size as the gold one in the photo. I don’t think there is any direct connection.

So, before you panic and before BAR publishes some ridiculous sensationalistic piece declaring that the ‘Seal of Solomon’ has been found, take a breath, go walk your dog, and forget about the rubbish.  It means nothing.

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