Category Archives: Dead Sea Scrolls

If You Missed Larry Schiffman’s Lecture on the Scrolls, It’s Online

Here.   The page will look empty until you push the ‘play’ button and then it will roll.  It, again, was a fantastically enjoyable lecture.

It’s just over an hour.  You can also download it.

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Posted by on 16 Jul 2020 in Archaeology, Dead Sea Scrolls


Larry Schiffman’s Zoom on the Scrolls

Was a delight!  It was recorded, so if you contact the library which hosted the event, they may share it with you. Here are some screen grabs I captured during:

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Posted by on 16 Jul 2020 in Archaeology, Dead Sea Scrolls


Michael Langlois Interviewed about the Scrolls


Je réponds aux questions du magazine Science & Vie sur les manuscrits de la mer Morte contrefaits.

La nouvelle de manuscrits de la mer Morte contrefaits parmi les collections du Musée de la Bible à Washington est arrivée en France. Le journaliste Thomas Cavaillé-Fol a écrit un article à ce sujet ; j’ai répondu à ses questions, d’autant que j’avais déjà évoqué ces contrefaçons avec lui en 2017.

Vous pouvez retrouver son article ici.

Enjoy! (As the kids say).

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Posted by on 15 Jul 2020 in Dead Sea Scrolls, Modern Culture


Larry Schiffman Public Zoom Lecture on the Scrolls

Joe Lauer writes

Dr. Jim Davila noted the following ZOOM online Lecture “Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls” to be given by Prof. Lawrence H. Schiffman, Thursday, July 16, 2020, 11:00 AM-12:15 PM EDT. Registration is required (see below). See “Schiffman lecture on the DSS” at

Prof. Schiffman’s website has the following at


Thursday July 16, 2020
11:00 AM until 12:15 PM

This Zoom program will focus on how the texts of the Dead Sea Scrolls shed light on the history of Judaism and early Christianity. Registration required. An email with Zoom login details will be sent prior to the start of the program. Hosted by the Peninsula Public Library. The Peninsula Public Library’s site for the lecture is at where one can send e-mail notices of it to others. Its calendar of events is at where there is a link for registration. The registration form is at

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Posted by on 13 Jul 2020 in Archaeology, Dead Sea Scrolls


The Dead Sea Scrolls: A Public Conference

Via Joseph Lauer

Please join us for a 4-day virtual conference “The Dead Sea Scrolls in Recent Scholarship.” This event is free to join and open to the public. The full program schedule is listed below. Please note the following:

  • – Follow the link accompanying each day’s schedule to register. 
  • – You must register individually for each day you wish to attend. 
  • – An email with instructions on joining will automatically be sent to you once you register. 
  • – You do not have to attend the entire day that you register for, but are welcome to come and go for particular sessions or lectures. 

Please reach out to us at for any questions about the schedule or registration process.

See the link above for more.

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Posted by on 6 May 2020 in Conferences, Dead Sea Scrolls


The Latest from Michael Langlois

Right here.  Take a break from the plague and give it a read.

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Posted by on 15 Apr 2020 in Dead Sea Scrolls


Larry Schiffman on Zoom: “Old Leather, New Ink: Forgery and the Dead Sea Scrolls.”

Mark your calendars!  Via Joseph Lauer

9 PM EDT on Wednesday, April 1, 2020 – an online lecture on ZOOM by Prof. Lawrence H. Schiffman, titled “Old Leather, New Ink: Forgery and the Dead Sea Scrolls.”   The link is

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Posted by on 29 Mar 2020 in Dead Sea Scrolls


The Museum of the Bible’s ‘Dead Sea Scrolls Symposium’ is On YouTube

Via Joseph Lauer.

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Posted by on 22 Mar 2020 in Dead Sea Scrolls


Sidnie White Crawford: Lecture at the Museum of the Bible on the Faked Dead Sea Scrolls

With thanks to Sidnie for permission to post her remarks in full:

Museum of the Bible Dead Sea Scrolls Panel
March 13, 2020

Sidnie White Crawford

I would like to begin by congratulating the Museum of the Bible for undertaking this thorough scientific study of their purported Dead Sea Scrolls fragments and for being forthright about its conclusions. This action is a great help in the fight by archaeologists and other professionals to combat traffic in illegal antiquities. I would also like to congratulate Kipp Davis and his colleagues for being the first to sound the alarm concerning the possibility that the MOTB fragments were forgeries. However, I would also like to extend my sympathies to the MOTB and all the other institutions who were taken in by unscrupulous antiquities dealers. Finally, I would like to thank Mike Holmes for the invitation to speak on this panel.

My remarks this afternoon will have two parts. First, I will address the history of the discovery and purchase of the Dead Sea Scrolls and why scholars in the field gave credence to the claim that the post-2002 fragments were genuine. Second, I will address the findings of the report and why I found its conclusions convincing.

The history of the discovery of the scrolls beginning in the late 1940s is well-known and does not need to be repeated. It might be helpful, however, to recall how the majority of them came into the possession of the Palestine Archaeological Museum (the PAM), now the Rockefeller Museum. Beginning in 1950, the authorities of the PAM began to purchase scroll fragments from their Bedouin looters for a fixed price. The middleman for these purchases was usually Khalil Iskander Shahin, known as Kando, an antiquities dealer in Bethlehem and Jerusalem, although some purchases were made directly from the Bedouin. The record of purchases was kept in a handwritten ledger dated between May 6, 1950 and April 8, 1957, now in the Rockefeller archives. The fragments purchased come from Qumran caves 1, 2, 4, and 11, Wadi Murabba’at, Khirbet Mird, Wadi Seiyal, and “unknown caves.” While this arrangement guaranteed that the bulk of the scroll finds did end up in the hands of the authorities, shortages of funds often meant delays in purchases, and the possibility always existed that fragments would be held back or sold elsewhere.

In fact, we know that scroll finds were held back by Kando in the hope of fetching higher prices. In the case of the Cave 4Q fragments, Kando evidently held back better pieces until the end. According to Frank Moore Cross, “The best fragments, both in size and preservation, were saved until last” (Shanks, 128). Cross also told of his midnight encounter with Kando in the spring of 1967, in the souk of Beirut, where Kando showed him “several boxes of fragments” (Shanks, 136) and told him about the Temple Scroll. The Temple Scroll, of course, was recovered from Kando by Yigael Yadin in the wake of the Six-Day War in June of 1967. So it was well-known among the first generation of scroll scholars that not all the material looted by the Bedouin wound up in the hands of the authorities.

Other scrolls fragments known to scholars “disappeared” under mysterious circumstances. The paleo-Leviticus scroll from Cave 11Q was published in 1985 by David Noel Freedman and K. A. Mathews. Included in that publication was a photograph of “Fragment L,” which Freedman and Matthews state “is in the possession of Professor Georges Roux of France” (ix). It was subsequently purchased from the Kando family by Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. How this fragment moved from the possession of Professor Roux (back) to the Kando family is unclear, but there is no doubt that it is a genuine Cave 11Q fragment.

Another fragment that “went walkabout” is fragment 6 of 4QSamb, a photograph of which is published in DJD 17 (plate XXIV). According to Cross, this large and well-preserved fragment “disappeared” from the Rockefeller Museum in 1967 and is probably in the hands of a private collector.

The point of these stories is to say that prior to the early 21st century it was known that there were genuine scroll fragments out there, either in the possession of the Kando family or private collectors. Therefore, when “Dead Sea Scroll fragments” began to surface on the antiquities market in the 1990s, it was not unreasonable to assume that they could be genuine. And in fact some, like the paleo-Leviticus fragment now in the hands of Southwestern Baptist, are genuine. But unfortunately it seems clear now that the greed of antiquities dealers combined with the willingness of collectors to pay inflated prices led to the sorry situation in which we find ourselves, with many forgeries and all post-2002 fragments cast into doubt. It is thus very important to have a clear picture of the provenience of scroll fragments. “Provenience” refers to the chain of possession of scroll fragments, which can help to authenticate them. For example, a fragment of 1QSb was purchased by Martin Schøyen from the widow of William Brownlee, one of the two scholars resident at the American School in Jerusalem (now the Albright Institute) when the Cave 1Q manuscripts purchased by Mar Athanasius Samuel were brought there in 1948. Brownlee had received the fragment from Mar Samuel and it had remained in his possession ever since. Here the provenience of the scroll fragment is clear. Unfortunately, the provenience of many of the supposed Dead Sea Scroll fragments purchased from the antiquities market, including the MOTB fragments, is very unclear, which from the beginning led some scholars to question their authenticity.

These doubts, coupled with the work of Kipp Davis, led the MOTB to undertake the extraordinary and laudable scientific study of their fragments. I will now turn to the results of this study, concentrating on the aspect of the report on which I feel most qualified to speak, the section on the substrate of the fragments, that is, the medium on which the writing was made.

Let me first speak about the Qumran scroll manuscripts discovered in the 1940s and 50s. As a member of the editorial team responsible for editing and publishing the edition princeps of the Qumran scrolls in the DJD series, I spent literally hundreds of hours working with scroll fragments. As a result, I got to know the medium on which they were written “up close and personal.” The medium on which the Qumran scrolls were written was either animal skin or papyrus. The papyrus was the common type of the Roman Empire, probably purchased in commercial rolls from Egypt. The animal skins, the majority of which were sheep, goats, or bovine, were carefully prepared for writing by the process described in the report for creating parchment. Where this parchment was made we do not know, although it was almost certainly a local Judean production. The parchment skins were cut into uniform pieces, called sheets; the size of the sheets depended on the length of the work to be copied. At Qumran, the length of sheets varied between 21 and 90 cm., while their height also varied; the largest was approximately 30 cm.

Once the sheets were cut they were ruled for columns with a sharp instrument, producing horizontal and vertical dry lines. The writing was precisely hung from the horizontal lines, and the vertical lines, especially on the right-hand side, were carefully adhered to. Writing was normally done on the hair side of the skin, although on the Temple Scroll the writing is on the flesh side. Finally, and this is very important, when the writing surface was uneven, the scribes left the poor patches uninscribed. This phenomenon can be clearly seen, for example, on 4QDeutn. In sum, the Qumran writing medium was professionally produced and carefully prepared parchment, even when scraps of parchment were utilized for writing (e.g. 4QExercitium Calami C, a scribal exercise). Any damage visible now on the scroll fragments occurred during their lengthy sojourn in the caves.

To turn to the report, it finds that the MOTB fragments were written on leather rather than parchment. Leather, as opposed to parchment according to the report, is characterized by being thick and uneven, with a pronounced grain and a spongy texture. Leather, of course, was well-known in the ancient world where it had many uses, footgear among them. It would be easy for forgers to obtain pieces of ancient leather, which is why DNA testing is not helpful in determining forgeries. However, leather never appears as a writing medium at Qumran, even for informal writing. Scraps of parchment or potsherds were utilized for that purpose. Thus, the use of leather as a writing medium indicates that these fragments are not genuine Dead Sea Scroll fragments.

Next, while dry lines appear somewhat haphazardly on the MOTB fragments, they are not carefully utilized as a writing guide, as we see on genuine fragments. As the report states on p. 13, “this artificial ruling was carelessly executed…and the writing rarely follows the lines.” This is further compelling evidence that the fragments are not genuine.

Third, the application of the ink (the actual writing) simply was applied to the substrate regardless of its condition. Ink goes across and into cracks, is uneven depending on the grain of the leather, is applied to delaminated surfaces, and lies on top of mineral deposits rather than below them. Let me address each one of these finding separately.

As I mentioned above, the Qumran scribes did not write on cracked, wrinkled, or broken surfaces. Therefore, where there are cracks or other injuries to genuine fragments, the letters are also cracked, wrinkled, or broken, because the injuries occurred after the manuscript was inscribed. Writing was not applied to an already damaged surface. Second, on genuine fragments ink is never found on delaminated surfaces. If the surface of a fragment is peeled away, the ink is peeled away with it. Third, the parchment used for Qumran scrolls was fresh and clean. Mineral deposits found on the fragments were the result of the scrolls’ storage in the caves and the accumulation of animal droppings and other natural hazards. They were found on top of the ink and not underneath it. The fact that all of these anomalies are found on the MOTB fragments is clear physical evidence that they are not genuine ancient fragments. In other words, regrettably they are modern forgeries.

The scientific tests applied to the MOTB fragments demonstrate decisively that they are modern forgeries. The question then becomes, who is the forger(s), and where does he or she operate? We may never know. The lesson that I think we need to take away from this episode is the old one of caveat emptor, “let the buyer beware.” As long as there are people willing to buy antiquities, forgers will produce them for the market. If the market dried up, forgers would be put out of business. The protocols concerning antiquities and their provenance and provenience put in place by professional organizations such as the Archaeological Institute of America, the American Schools of Oriental Research, and the Society of Biblical Literature should be followed by all institutions and publishers. I commend the MOTB for putting such protocols into place, and thank them for this fascinating opportunity to study this report and comment on it.

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Posted by on 17 Mar 2020 in Dead Sea Scrolls


Chris Rollston on the Museum of the Bible Dead Sea Scrolls Fiasco

The Forger Among Us: The Museum of the Bible Dead Sea Scrolls and the Recent History of Epigraphic Forgeries

On March 13, 2020, the Museum of the Bible held a symposium in Washington, D.D. The focus of the symposium was the presentation of various laboratory tests (on the basis of physical characteristics, elemental and molecular analysis, chemical analyses; using, for example, FTIR analyses, XRF analyses, SEM-EDS analyses, etc.) performed on sixteen fragments, putatively of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which are part of the Museum’s holdings. The point-person for the laboratory tests was Colette Loll (of Georgetown University), founder and director of Art Fraud Insights, the firm responsible for the laboratory report (which is 212 pages long). The hard-science team included (in addition to Colette Loll) Abigail Quandt (of the Walters Art Museum), Aaron Shugar (of the State University of New York), Rebecca Pollak (SAFA Senior Research Conservator), Jennifer Mass (Bard Graduate Center for Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture), and Thomas Kupiec (Founder of the Kupiec Group and CEO of ARL, Bio Pharma and DNA Solutions). The respondents at the symposium (the symposium was entitled “A Journey for the Truth: Investigating the Recent Dead Sea Scrolls Fragments”) were, in order of presentations: Dr. Greg Bearman (Cal Tech), Dr. Christopher Rollston (George Washington University), Dr. Kipp Davis (Trinity Western University), Dr. Sidnie White Crawford (University of Nebraska and Princeton Theological Seminary), and Dr. Lawrence Schiffman (New York University). Respondents were given access to the full laboratory report (i.e., all 212 pages) during the weeks prior to the symposium.

Give the rest a read. As always, Chris is sharp as a samurai sword.

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Posted by on 15 Mar 2020 in Biblical Studies Resources, Dead Sea Scrolls


Michael Langlois Told People in 2017 that the DSS in the Museum of the Bible Were Fakes. You Should Have Listened to Him Then

Also see this.

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Posted by on 13 Mar 2020 in Dead Sea Scrolls


It’s Half Over, But If You Have a Private Jet And Leave Now, You Can Make it for Day Two!

So go!  Join Michael Langlois and the rest of the participants.

I am in Oslo for a conference honouring Torleif Elgvin on the occasion of his retirement.

I was invited to join the conference and give a paper on the so-called “Yahad Ostracon” from Qumran.The conference will take place at NLA University College Oslo. Here is the program for the two days:

Tuesday 14:45–16:30
• Stephen Reed, University of Jamestown, “Photographs of Fragments Excavated from Qumran Cave 4”.

Wednesday 09:00–11:30
• Liv Ingeborg Lied, MF, “Is 2 Baruch a Biblical Book? On the Contents of Syriac Biblical Codices”.
• Erik Waaler, NLA, “The Impact of the Discoveries at ‘Khirbet Qeiyafa’ at the Western Border of Iron age Israel, above the Elah Valley where David slew Goliath”.
• Michael Langlois, French Research Center in Jerusalem, “The Yahad Ostracon: Preliminary Observations”.
• Årstein Justnes, “A Sudden Clink from the Missing Link: The History and Provenance of the Yahad Ostracon”.

Wednesday 13:30
• Popular farewell lecture by Torleif Elgvin, “My Personal Encounter with the Dead Sea Scrolls” (in Norwegian).

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Posted by on 10 Mar 2020 in Conferences, Dead Sea Scrolls


A Dead Sea Scrolls Conference to Attend

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Posted by on 6 Mar 2020 in Conferences, Dead Sea Scrolls


2020: The Carnival

In the past, Carnivals have been ‘uneven’ or even perhaps ‘nearly non existent’.  But 2020 is a new year and kicks off with The Carnival to Beat All Carnivals.  Titled simply 2020: The Carnival, it serves as the template for all the Carnivals to come this year:  Fully stocked, cleverly curated, and vividly presented.

Carnival attendees will not have to suffer entries that consist merely of a link and a two word descriptor.  Gone are the days of hum-druminess, dear friends.  Rejoice and be exceedingly glad!

Let’s visit the attractions from January and start off this new year of Carnivals right now!*

Hebrew Bible and Ancient Near East

Jan Assmann has a very intriguing essay in The Torah dot Com about the blackening of Egypt’s image through the tale of the Exodus.  It’s a great read to start off the Carnival.

Are you a bit odd?  Do you enjoy really obscure, odd things in the Masoretic Text?  Things like accent marks? Then, my friends, have I got the post for you.  Enjoy.

Roberta Mazza has some news about Brill’s publication of some Museum of the Bible unprovenanced artifacts.  Give it a read if you haven’t already.

Phil *The Exterminator* Long takes a look at the ‘main themes of Daniel.’  Mainly.  And gets taken to the woodshed for his suggestion that Daniel’s statue was an obelisk.

What’s that?  File footage of Dead Sea Scrolls stuff from the early days ya say?  Well who wouldn’t want to see that?

Otherwise, the HB/ OT people must have had January off.  Lucky devils.

New Testament and Early Christianity

Phil Long offered some interesting observations on 1 John.  On several occasions. Take a gander.  There was an interesting podcast (I know, I know…) interview with Deb Saxon about heresy and in particular heretical women that appeared early in the month.

Can we trust the text of the New Testament?  Dan Wallace and Bart Ehrman debate the question.

They’re already issuing calls for papers for sessions at SBL.  Here’s one for the text critics.

The Call for Papers for SBL Annual Meeting in Boston (21–24 November) is now open until 11 March. This year we will focus on the ECM of the Gospel of Mark which will be published soon (hooray!).

Robert has a brief look at the diversity among the 12.  Give it a read.  And Brent announces that there’s a new edition of the Freer Codex.  But it isn’t free.  It’s yours for a mere $100.

Leave it to Rick *The Papyrinator* Brannan to find out some obscure this or that about some New Testament personage from some obscure and relatively unknown papyrus.  This time it’s about Miriam’s Tambourine.  Whatever, dude.  What.  Ever.

Peter Gurry has a nice essay-let on the KJV and a passage in Matthew and versification.  He posted it on twitter too in 2023 separate tweets so be glad he collected it all in one place here so as to spare you the scrolling of a thousand scrolls.

Mike Bird wonders if it’s possible to put into play today the so called ‘Haustafeln’ from the NT epistles.  I say sure, why not.  I’m game.  I also would like to see other bits of the Bible taken seriously.  Alas, those days are past now for most Christians (who have zero interest in doing anything remotely related to biblical ideas).  Mike also wondered how theological New Testament theology is.  I sense a new book in the works…

How do NA 28 and THGNT compare?  Well naturally the TC geekers have been on the question and come to some interesting conclusions.

The CSNTM is very keen to get you to read a book about Myths and Manuscripts.  In fact, if you don’t read the book in question, they’re going to send someone to your house and they will say ‘Ni’ to you from behind bushes until you do!

Nyasha Junior and Sarah Bond have a very good entry on how one of the Magi became Black.  Or, in the words of their thesis- The story behind the rise and decline of the popularity of the black magus during the Renaissance has been largely forgotten, but at one time, the tale was used to explain the perceived need for conversion to Christianity, the three ages of man, as well as emerging theories of race.

There’s also this post about Sappho.  Some text something or other found on some day in 2012 and there seems to be a debate about it.  It’s connected to the Museum of the Bible… so, there’s that disclaimer.  Sappho-ites, enjoy it.

The low point of the month came when word arrived that J. Ramsey Michaels had died on the 18th.  That news took 9 days to seep out.  Obviously Michaels wasn’t ‘famous’ enough for the world to hear of his passing instantly.  But he mattered more than any celebrity ever has.  Rest in peace, good sir.


Todd Bolen posted this in the waning hours of 2019 but I’m going to include it in spite of the fact that it wasn’t technically posted in January.  It’s still worth a look.  It’s what he calls the top 10 discoveries in 2019.

The ‘figural world of Judah’ is the topic of this lecture at the Ecole Biblique in Jerusalem.  Posted here.

Interested in olive farming in the ANE?  Well then this is the post for you.

How do archaeologists decide on dating a find?  Israel Finkelstein answers that question in this interesting interview.  Watch it.  And also watch Israel and Thomas in a YouTube video about their archaeological escapades.

Roberta Mazza has a not to be missed post on the ongoing Obbink scandal.  Do give it a thorough read.

ETC has a piece on the bedouin who discovered the Dead Sea Scrolls.  It’s a sort of ‘thanks, guys’ piece.  And speaking of the Scrolls, Andrew Perrin has a post about them and fakes and frauds and such.  Give it a look, for sure.

Don’t miss this essay, buried under a mountain of internetness, about the perennial problem with the excavation of ancient sites, unprovenanced junk, and related matters.

And finally, ANE Today hits another one out of the ballpark with this exceptionally well written essay on the alphabet.  There are other Archaeology magazines out there but they pale in comparison to ANE Today and, to be quite straightforward, they have more interest in fluff and self promotion than they do in facts and science.  Save your money, don’t waste it on substandard magazines, and instead use your time wisely and read ANE Today.


Pick up your free book from Logos!  And read Mike Bird’s review of ‘Pagans and Christians in the City‘.  Mike says

This is definitely one of the more interesting books I’ve read of late.

That’s not the whole review.  There’s more.  There’s more to, to Brian Leport’s review of a book called Gospels Before the Book.  Mark Baker reviewed ‘Paul and the Giants of Philosophy‘- for those of you are into all that Paul stuff.  John is better.  (The Johannine Literature is far more engaging and enthralling.  Admit it.  Or be wrong.  Up to you.)

Prof Stuckenbruck pointed out the publication of a thing.  Some of you will be interested in that thing and some of you won’t.  But you won’t know if the thing is of interest until you look at the thing.

Paul Moldovan (is that his real name???) reviewed (briefly) Doug Harink’s commentary on 1-2 Peter.

I enjoyed the author’s short treatment of Satan in Peter’s epistle (1 Peter 5:8: “Be alert and of sober mind: your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour”). Harink finds that Satan is on the constant prowl against God’s people–the local community of faith–to disrupt its shalom.

Chris Tilling constantly disrupts my shalom.  That makes him Satan, right?

Tim Mitchell, a student (and helicopter mechanic), has written a book review for JETS and he’s posted it on his blog too.  The book is Larsen’s ‘Gospels Before the Book’.  Here’s the sentence that stood out-

Though most of the work remains unconvincing, there are one or two aspects of Gospels Before the Book that might commend it to those who lack knowledge of ancient publication.

Oh boy…  Now that’s funny.  Here’s what Leonard Greenspoon thinks of the volume-

“[an] elegantly written volume … An invaluable resource for those seeking a clearer understanding of ancient literature, including (but by no means limited to) religious texts … Highly recommended.” — L. J. Greenspoon

So, whose word on the work will you take for ‘gospel’.  A beginner’s or an expert’s?  Read Mitchell’s entire review and I think your decision will be very easy…

This young fella named Matt Cover (if that’s really his name) reviewed the Lexham English Septuagint.  He writes

I highly recommend Lexham’s LES! This resource will allow Christians to see the translation that many in the early church used.

I had NO idea that many in the early Church read the Lexham English Septuagint!  There’s other stuff to learn from the review too!

Richard Hess also reviewed the Lexham English translation of the LXX.  He misses out though and doesn’t call it the ‘translation that many in the early Church used’…

An anonymous, unnamed blogger calling herself the ‘Christian Classicist’ reviewed Jongkind’s introduction to the Tyndale Greek New Testament.  [I searched high and low on the blog for some name, but alas…]

Bob Cornwall reviewed a commentary on Mark.  Review his review for yourself, here.

Chris Tilling took a moment to blog in January.  Just a moment though, and then he returned to cheese.  His first and greatest love.  He wrote, in part

I am delighted to hear of Prof. Rainer Riesner’s forthcoming book, Messias Jesus, for which more information can be found here.

Oh boy!

Scot McKnight reviewed Nijay Gupta’s book on… wait for it… Paul, in a post titled ‘Gotta Have Faith, But What is Faith?’  And the revolutionary conclusion?  ‘Faith’ means different things in different contexts!  Who knew….  [I don’t mean to sound snarky, but when will enough books about Paul be enough?  What can possibly be said that hasn’t already been said by someone somewhere?  I beg you NT people, pick something else to write about besides Paul.  He’s tedious and boring and no one liked him and we know that because no one ever went with him on more than one mission. Even Luke got sick of him.  Move on, friends, to something else.  There’s a whole Bible to think about.]

Jimmy Roh reviewed the T&T Clark Encyclopedia of Second Temple Judaism.  Ruh Roh….  (get it?)

Hebrew Discourse analysis.  Nuff said…

The discipline of discourse analysis is applied to Biblical Hebrew in Zondervan’s recent syntax, Basics of Hebrew Discourse.


The Society for Old Testament Study met at the University of Nottingham in January.  You can see what happened there at the hashtag #SOTS2020.  It’s one of the best conferences around.  If you are into the Hebrew Bible, you should most certainly consider applying for membership.  You’ll need proficiency in Biblical Hebrew and two sponsors who are active members.

Origen as Philologist will be held in Phoenix in November.  Sign up now or you may be cut off…

The Museum of the Bible (yes, that MOTB) is hosting a conference in June on textual criticism and related sorts of stuff.  It’s aimed at grad students and other gullible sorts.  Do attend if you are inclined that-way-wards.

Interested in the LXX?  Well then get thee to WuppertalThe 2020 event will be the eighth such conference, and will take place from Friday, July 24th through Monday, July 27th.

I posted a pretty good sampling of events at SOTS Winter Meeting 2020.  Here’s the link. And of course you can see what others had to say about the meeting at the twitter hashtag #SOTS2020.

The Newman Conference which focused on ‘The God Who Speaks’ was a fantastic event with amazing sessions.  2020 is the ‘Year of the Bible’ and this event was the launch of that celebration in the United Kingdom.

Will Ross issued a call for papers for the Linguistics and the Biblical Text Conference.  Don’t confuse this useful conference for the one Chris Tilling announced titled ‘Linguini and How it Changed My Pasta, Present, and Future.’

Tweets and Tweeters

One of the twitter folk you should follow is David Creech.   He tweeted this on 1 January

@DyingSparrows — On the eighth day after his birth Jesus was circumcised. 1,300 years later St. Catherine of Siena would be given his holy foreskin as a wedding ring (she had small fingers or it was super elastic). Y’all should study religion more.

‘Nuff said, right?

Peter Gurry tweeted this mysterious bitlet-

@pjgurry – So, it seems that @ivpacademic has recently changed their review copy policy for the worse but @BakerAcademic just changed theirs for the better.

What’s he mean?? As a big fan of books, I need to know the back story. Tease-tweeting needs an explanation, people!

Looking for a job? This tweet’s for you: @nt4ox – Asst Prof in Theology (field of specialization open), St Catherine University (St Paul/Minneapolis). FT/TT. Deadline Feb 15.

Looking for a conference? Oxford NT tweeted this:

@nt4ox — Oxford day conference “Martyrdom on the Margins” (JW van Henten, E Castelli, M Edwards, C Sahner et al), 20 February. Registration (free) required, Deadline 3 Feb.

Think that apocryphal materials are no longer appearing? Think again, my friends, for what is more apocryphal than this tweet?

@TBurkeApoc — This seems to be the first significant effort to incorporate a large mum eat of MSS into an edition, right?

‘Large mum eat’ huh? Apocryphal to the max.  Follow Tony.  He’s great fun.  And very informative!

I saw this and liked it and think you will too-

@laurajeantruman – Therefore I will put up with this Church until I see a better one; and it will have to put up with me, until I become better. Erasmus

Laura Robinson had a great thread on the malleability of the ‘end time signs’ people.  I posted it here (having collected the thread into one post).

Chip Hardy, @drchiphardy, tweeted news of a ‘Ninth-century Inscription bearing a Yahwistic name found at Abel Beth Maacah’. Ha’aretz is less restrained, with its willfully exaggerated “Hebrew Inscription on a 3,000-year-old Jar Could Redraw Borders of Ancient Israel”. Papers have to exaggerate I suppose, which is why you should never believe a headline.

If you don’t think twitter has something to teach you, think again.  It holds ‘gems’ like this…

@ShammaBoyarin — You guys- I think this does not look good for the Democrats’ case: Parnas פרנס is 80+200+50+60=390 in gemateria. And so is Schiff שיף-

How can you not believe someone who calls ‘gematria’ ‘gemateria’????

From the Palestinian Exploration Fund, this tweet announcement-

@PalExFund – We are pleased to announce the first event to be held in our research centre in #Greenwich: a talk given by Dr. Salman Abu Sitta on “The Survey of Western #Palestine Revisited: The Visible and the Hidden” on Feb 26. Book by emailing

By the by, I’ve put together a list of biblical scholars who tweet.  If you would kindly let me know if there are folk I missed and need to add to it, I would be grateful.


Scot McKnight has some things to say about ‘singleness‘.  You’ll want to give it a look.  Also, on the 21st, Scot’s blog moved to Christianity Today.  Here’s the new location.

But don’t despair, lovers of Patheos’s festooned with ads blogs, Nijay has moved his blog from wherever it was to Patheos! He tweeted-

@NijayKGupta — Here is the big news: My blog has moved to @PatheosEvang. Bookmark, b/c old site will be removed soon. Here is my first post, check it out.

Good news!  James Spinti is not an impostor!  Hooray!

Carmen Imes has been blogging for a decade and she’s posted her top 10 posts.  I have unbridled respect for people who can choose their favorite of anything.  My favorite things change by the day and by circumstances.

There’s a post-doc in biblical studies waiting for you at Wellesley College.  Details here.

Computer geeks and textual criticism geeks intermingle (like the sons of God and the daughters of men in Genesis 6) and what is born of that unholy union is something called the  Coherence-Based Genealogical Method (CBGM).  Interested?  Of course you are, because you’re weird.  So here’s the story.

An essay concerning the recording of classes appeared mid-month and the author, a law professor (of course) has a small list of reasons why he doesn’t like it.  He’s worried, among other things, about his students being digitally surveilled.  And he thinks it has a chilling effect on classroom discussion.  I guess lawyers are always afraid they might run for office and can’t ever risk saying something that might show up on Youtube at some point in their lawyerly future.  One thing’s for sure, we live in the ‘Age of Fear’.  And kids are being taught to be afraid of everything.  No wonder so many are so miserable.

If you are concerned about the fact that women are not yet represented fully in academia, this post is for you.  Give it a read.

Need preaching guidance?  Why not get it from someone who preaches every now and again but isn’t engaged in full time pastoral ministry?  He’s got advice for you from the sidelines.  And what better advice is there besides from a person who doesn’t actually have to do what they suggest that you do?

You know you’ve reached peak academic self-importance when you have your students answer your email.  Like Wayne Grudem.  Don’t be like Wayne.  Answer your own email.   [Why would I include this bit?  Because it’s good for us to remind ourselves that we are scholars and not celebrities.  And when scholars begin to act like celebrities, they need to be reminded of their calling.]


Thanks for coming!  Next month the Carnival will be hosted by, as Phil puts it – “veteran Biblio-blogger Bob MacDonald is hosting the February carnival (due March 1) and newcomer Brent Niedergall hosts in March 2020 (Due April 1).  I am looking for volunteers for the rest of 2020. If you hosted in 2019 feel free to volunteer again, but I am also interested in getting new bloggers and podcasters involved. Six of the hosts in 2019 were first-time hosts.

Carnivals are fun to write and a good Carnival draws attention to your blog. The Amateur Exegete posted his year in Blog Summary last week, his August 2019 carnival was his second most popular post of the year.  I would love to hear from a few volunteers and fill out the 2020 Biblioblog schedule, so contact me at or twitter dm @plong42 to volunteer to host!



*I’d like to thank the many people who sent along submissions for this month’s Carnival. In all the years I’ve been doing these Carnivals I’ve never received as many excellent submissions. So, thanks!


The Dead Sea Scrolls Detectives: A Review

NOVA’s special on the Scrolls aired again this morning and I finally had the chance to watch it.  It’s pretty good.  If you haven’t seen it yet, you should.

It maintains some old notions, like the site of Qumran being a monastery.  But it also has a lot to say about the appearance of so many fragments of late and the questions concerning their authenticity.  The Museum of the Bible features large.

Many of the usual experts appear including Schiffman and Henze along with Gutfeld and Pinor as well as, of course, Jodi Magness and John Collins.

The narrative moves back and forth between the early discovery of the scrolls and the modern questions of provenance and authenticity.  This is a bit disconcerting, but tolerable.  It would have been better if the story had followed the actual timeline of events rather than its back and forth between past and present.

The purchasers of these scroll fragments are normally wealthy American Evangelicals and this creates a market and markets create opportunities for fraud.  As a result of these facts, Hobby Lobby, the Greens, and the Museum of the Bible also come in for extensive mention.

The hunt for forgeries is also finely presented.

In sum, then, its a worthwhile use of an hour of your time.  You can watch it livestream here.

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Posted by on 8 Nov 2019 in Archaeology, Dead Sea Scrolls, Modern Culture


Dead Sea Scroll Detectives… Did You Miss It? Well You’re In Luck…

It’s on the air again in the morning, Friday November 8, at 5 a.m.  Set your DVR.

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Posted by on 7 Nov 2019 in Dead Sea Scrolls


Dead Sea Scroll Detectives

Since the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1947, these fragile parchment relics have intrigued scholars, religious leaders, and profiteers alike. The 2,000-year-old scrolls include the oldest-known versions of the Hebrew Bible and hold vital clues about the birth of Christianity. While certain scrolls have survived intact, others have been ravaged by time—burnt, decayed, or torn to pieces—and remain an enigma. Now, scientists are using new technologies to read the unreadable, solve mysteries that have endured for millennia, and even discover million-dollar fakes. (Premiering November 6, 2019 at 9 pm on PBS)

Set your DVR.  It’s on PBS and not the ‘history’ channel so it should be pretty good.

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Posted by on 4 Nov 2019 in Dead Sea Scrolls


New From Brill, Free in Open Access

Vision, Narrative, and Wisdom in the Aramaic Texts from Qumran:

Essays from the Copenhagen Symposium, 14-15 August, 2017

The Aramaic Dead Sea Scrolls from Qumran have attracted increasing interest in recent years. These texts predate the “sectarian” Dead Sea scrolls, and they are contemporary with the youngest parts of the Hebrew Bible. They offer a unique glimpse into the situation before the biblical canons were closed. Their highly creative Jewish authors reshaped and rewrote biblical traditions to cope with the concerns of their own time. The essays in this volume examine this fascinating ancient literature from a variety of different perspectives. The book grew out of an international symposium held at the University of Copenhagen in August 2017.

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Posted by on 29 Oct 2019 in Books, Brill, Dead Sea Scrolls


#ICYMI- Let’s Not Forget BAR’s Role in Publishing Scrolls From The Same Sources

Five of its Dead Sea Scroll fragments are fake, the Museum of the Bible in Washington was forced to admit last week. The embarrassed institution may be in good company: Out of at least 70 fragments ostensibly from the Scrolls held in various collections around the world, scholars warn that all are probably forged.

As the experts ponder who is responsible for the scandal in the Museum of the Bible, which may be the largest case of antiquities fraud in years, some researchers are placing a big chunk of the blame on a surprising culprit: themselves.

“Without the scholars, we would not have this big scandal,” agrees Arstein Justnes, a professor of biblical studies at the University of Agder, Norway, who also runs the blog The Lying Pen of Scribes, which tracks the suspicious scroll fragments.

But how could this have happened? How difficult is it to establish that a fragment of pottery or scroll is genuine? The answer is, not as difficult as you might think.

In his opinion, Justnes says, if the fragments in the Bible Museum had turned out to be genuine, they still shouldn’t have been displayed unless the museum divulged their provenance and proved they were legit.

But by uncritically publishing the scroll fragments, the scientific community “sent a strong signal to the antiquities market that it really didn’t care too much about provenance,” he says. “This really stimulated the antiquities market, and it was an encouragement to every looter under the desert sun. For over 15 years, several prominent Dead Sea Scrolls scholars have effectively laundered unprovenanced material.”

And more, which do read.  And though the article completely ignores the major role that BAR has played in the entire Scrolls story, BAR too bears some responsibility.

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Posted by on 28 Oct 2019 in Dead Sea Scrolls


Rewritten Genesis

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Posted by on 1 Oct 2019 in Biblical Studies Resources, Dead Sea Scrolls