The market for biblical antiquities 1852 – 2022

The Lying Pen of Scribes is doing another online colloquy:

News headlines about Museum of the Bible’s collection of antiquities, and forgeries of supposed Dead Sea Scroll fragments and the so-called Gospel of Jesus’s Wife, have drawn attention to the trade in biblical antiquities today. But how does it actually work? And what was it like in the past? Previous research has been limited and has tended to focus on individual figures, usually “manuscript hunters” from Europe and America.

With “The Market for Biblical Antiquities, 1852–2022” we try to change that focus. Join us as scholars from a variety of fields (history, biblical studies, archaeology, papyrology, literature, and more) look at the complex network of figures – finders, dealers, agents, collectors, consultants, auction houses, forgers – that have worked together to buy and sell artifacts from Palestine, Israel, and the surrounding region for the last two centuries.

Visit the link for all the details.

The Dead Sea Scrolls Conference from this Summer is Online if you Missed It

Here.  Enjoy.

We are pleased to share the full recordings from “The Dead Sea Scrolls: A Second Public Conference,” which took place virtually on June 6 – 9, 2021. The recordings, found below, are broken down by session.  Please note that some speakers declined to be recorded, so these presentations were omitted.

Lawrence Schiffman, on the Publication of the Damascus Document by Fraade

Scholars in a variety of fields should salute the publication of Steven Fraade’s new commentary on the Damascus Document. Indeed, the same could be said about the entire series, but we will be concentrating here on his volume that we are celebrating here today. It is an excellent commentary and represents the first commentary on this text making full use of the entire published corpus of Dead Sea Scrolls. Further, it represents a kind of de facto boundary line, since it no longer refers directly to works written about this text before the discovery of the Scrolls. So we finally have an up-to-date commentary on this document.


Forgery and Use of Forgery: Conference Announcement

It’s tomorrow… in Poitiers.  Hybrid format (in person and video).  All the details are provided by Michael Langlois, who is presenting (though his bit seems to be only available to those there in person).

The meeting is entitled “Forgery and use of forgery within national and oriental antiques. Crossed points of view: heritage, investigation, law and justice”. It will take place on 16 December 2021, in hybrid form (presence and videoconference).

‘The Damascus Document’ Book Launch

Register here.

*The Damascus Document* Online Book Launch: with Steven Fraade, Timothy Lim, Vered Noam, & Lawrence Schiffman | 16 December, 10-11a EST

Join us for a discussion of the newest volume of The Oxford Commentary on the Dead Sea Scrolls, *The Damascus Document*, by Steven Fraade. Register here for the event, which will take place over Zoom on 16 December 2021, 10:00-11:00a Eastern Standard Time (New York). The event will include an introduction by the series editor, Timothy Lim (University of Edinburgh), a presentation by the author, Steven Fraade (Yale University), and responses from Vered Noam (Tel Aviv University) and Lawrence Schiffman (New York University). There will then be a time for questions from participants. We hope to see you then.

The Dead Sea Scrolls: The Light They Shed on Judaism and Christianity with Dr. John Collins

The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls is widely regarded as the most important contribution of archeology to Biblical Studies in the twentieth century. The first lecture will ask, what are the Dead Sea Scrolls, who collected them? Are they the product of a marginal sect or representative of Judaism in the time of Jesus. The second lecture will consider some texts found in the Scrolls that are of special interest for Christianity, including one that speaks of a figure who is called Son of God.

To register go to The Dead Sea Scrolls: The Light They Shed on Judaism and Christianity.


Happening Now

The online symposium on the Scrolls and the Hebrew Bible.  It’s several hours long, so there’s still time to jump in.

Recently, scholarship has turned to the connections between material aspects of scrolls production on the one hand, and the production, redaction, and transmission of ancient texts on the other. One example in the field of biblical studies is the article by David Carr entitled “Rethinking the Materiality of Biblical Texts: From Source, Tradition and Redaction to a Scroll Approach” (ZAW 132/2020). This symposium will offer an exploratory conversation on the opportunities (and possible pitfalls) of enriching the study of the Hebrew Bible through more focused attention on ancient practices of creating and using scrolls. The interconnection of relatively recent theoretical movements (e.g., New Philology, sociological study of bibliography and New Materialism) and continuing analysis and collection of material evidence from ancient scrolls (especially from Egypt and the Dead Sea Caves) offers an opportunity to add precision to models for the formation and reception of (what would become) biblical texts by attending to practices surrounding their likely original material form—as parts of scrolls. Though pioneers in pursuing a ‘scroll approach’ were confined to limited descriptions from the Bible and later rabbinic literature, we now have a wealth of information from actual ancient scrolls and scribal practices from Egypt, Levantine sites like Deir ʿAlla, and especially the Judaean Desert (Qumran and other sites).

Scripta Qumranica Electronica

By combining two major databases (the digital images of all known Qumran fragments at the Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library, IAA, Jerusalem, and the textual and linguistic data for all texts included in the Qumran­wörter­buch, Qumran Dictionary, at Göttingen Academy), SQE brings together scholars of the Scrolls and AI as well as database specialists on the one hand, as well as a broader public on the other hand. The highly customized and cutting-edge tools will enable scholars and students of the Scrolls (and more than 25.000 fragments) deeper insights than previously thought possible.

Check it out.  The site will go live and all its materials accessible for all around the time SBL meets in November.  For now, it’s information on the project only.

Joseph Lauer’s Roundup of Sources For the Latest Dead Sea Scroll Discovery

For the moment the ghosts of Moses Shapira and his Deuteronomy Fragment have been pushed to the sidelines as this morning, Tuesday, March 16, 2021, the IAA circulated English and Hebrew press releases over its insignia and those of other agencies. The release, titled “Thrilling finds have been uncovered by a challenging Israel Antiquities Authority operation in the Judean Desert Nature Reserve,” announced that “The finds include dozens of fragments of a biblical scroll from the Bar Kokhba period, a 6,000-year-old skeleton of a child and the oldest complete basket in the world” and “For the first time in approximately 60 years, archaeological excavations have uncovered fragments of a biblical scroll. The scroll, which is written in Greek, includes portions of the Book of the Twelve Minor Prophets, including the books of Zechariah and Nahum.”

The English release is attached hereto and I can forward the Hebrew release to any interested reader. The English release (titled “New scroll fragments uncovered in the Judean Desert Nature Reserve”) may also be read at the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs site at See also [Hebrew]

As noted in the release, 47 high resolution pictures and three videos may be downloaded at the place in the release stating “Click here to download photos and video clip:” (The credits that should be noted if the items are used are also in the attached release.)

The pictures may also be accessed at or

The finds have received media attention, including at the following sites, and more will surely appear.

Among the Hebrew articles are:

Ha’aretz has taken advantage of the discoveries to publish three online Premium articles: