Margaret Barker on the ‘Lead Codices’

With thanks to Mark Goodacre who mentioned this on the FB-  Mark note there that the Codices group on FB claim

Interview with Dr. Margaret Barker by host Ian Punnett from Coast 2 Coast Radio. This is the first time any scholar from the academic establishment has spoken out on the Jordan Codices. Dr. Barker has been working on translations and analysis since 2009. This interview has been billed as a world exclusive. Interview begins at 20:30 into the show.

I remain unconvinced that these ‘artifacts’ are anything but a modern tourist trinket.

An Update on the ‘Lead Codices’

SOTS passes along this note from the inestimable Philip Davies on the codices.  Philip writes-

Prince Hussein addressed the Seventh World Archaeological Congress in Amman earlier this month. During a preliminary meeting of government officials and other interested parties, it was proposed that he should announce (a) that lead codices have been found in Jordan and were worthy of study; and (b) that scholars and institutes were invited to come and study them. Barbara Porter, the Director of ACOR (American Center of Oriental Research) urged the government not to make the announcement and so it was abandoned. The reason for this compliance, I understand, is that the government backed down is that it does not want to upset its relationship with ACOR, which has a great deal of influence in Jordan. It funds numerous excavations and bring a lot of money to Jordan.  ACOR became a private institution in 1993. No reason was given by Dr Porter for her veto and no public statements have been made by any party. Any members [of SOTS] with connections to ACOR or senior personnel may like to write and ask the reason for this action, which seems hard to understand.

Philip Davies

So, that’s the latest- just for those following the tale.

Members of the Society for Old Testament Study Call on Jordan to Release Information on the ‘Lead Codices’

Members of the Society for Old Testament Study have collectively, at the Summer Meeting which just concluded in Manchester, sent a letter to the Editor of the Times asking Jordan to release information relating to the so called ‘Lead Codices’.

The Letter appears with the signatures of C. T. R. Hayward, University of Durham; Professor J. R. Bartlett, Trinity College, Dublin; Dr Margaret Barker, Temple Studies Group; Dr Walter Houston, University of Manchester; and Dr Janet Tollington, University of Cambridge in the Times, with the full list of signatories included on the Times website and graciously provided by Jim Aitken via a Facebook group interested in the Codices:

CALL ON JORDAN TO BREAK ITS SILENCE – Letter to the Editor Published in The Times, 1 August 2012


It is a year or more since reports of the discovery of at least 40 lead codices, apparently found in Jordan and possibly of ancient provenance, but currently in illegal private possession. Scientific tests have been conducted on one of these codices and much discussion has taken place among scholars and in the social media. There are many indications that these finds are not modern forgeries, but possibility cannot as yet be definitively excluded.

Since the discovery became known, there has been silence from the Jordanian authorities, who, we understand, have identified the site where they were once deposited, and have taken possession of additional codices from the same collection. The lack of any official announcement is strange, and we still await news of plans for the repossession of these objects, for their proper examination to determine whether or not they are genuine antiquities.

Whether ancient or not, these intriguing and possibly important finds require an urgent official response. Even a modern forgery on this scale must be investigated, and if they are ancient even more research will be required. We ask the authorities in Amman to make an immediate and detailed statement about the finds and their intentions regarding them.

This matter is not just of national and cultural importance for the Kingdom of Jordan but also for all those interested in the antiquity (and the controversial antiquities markets of the Middle East).

Professor Philip Davies, University of Sheffield
Prof Robert P. Gordon, Regius Professor of Hebrew, University of Cambridge
Prof. Lester L. Grabbe, University of Hull
Prof C.T.R. Hayward, University of Durham
Prof J.R. Bartlett, Trinity College, Dublin
Dr Margaret Barker, Temple Studies Group
Prof John F A Sawyer, Perugia (in absentia, with permission)
Dr Walter Houston, University of Manchester
Dr Janet Tollington, University of Cambridge
Prof. David Wulston, St. Peter’s College, Oxford
Dr Diane Edelman, University of Sheffield
Dr Helen Jacobus, University College London
Dr Johanna Stiebert, University of Leeds
Prof. Dr Reinhard Kratz, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Germany
Rev. Dr K. White, URC Northern College, Manchester
Dr. Constantin Jinga, University of the West, Timisoara, Romania
Prof. Eun-Woo Lee, Presbyterian College and Theological Seminary, Seoul, Korea
Ms E.A. Harper, University of Cambridge
Dr Charlotte Hempel, University of Birmingham
Dr Adrian Curtis, University of Manchester
Dr Deborah Rooke, University of Oxford
Dr Jennifer Dines, University of Cambridge
Dr Dwight Swanson, Nazarene Theological College, Univ of Manchester
Dr Heather McKay, Edge Hill University, Manchester
Tarcisius Mukuka, St. Mary’s University College, Twickenham
Ms CM Crewe, Manchester University
Dr. Sandra Jacobs, Kings College London
Ms Irene Jones
Dr Bruce K. Gardner, University of Aberdeen
Prof. Alistair G. Hunter, University of Glasgow
Dr. Tim McLay, University of Durham/ Scholar’s Publisher Inc.
Mr Andy Lie
Dr Sarah Nicholson, University of Glasgow
Dr Paul Joyce, St. Peter’s College, University of Oxford, Professor elect, King’s College, London
The Rev. Paul Winchester, University of Oxford
Dr James McKeown, Queen’s University of Belfast
Jeffrey Spence, Trinity Western University, Canada
Jason Silverman, Leiden University

This is exactly the sort of thing that biblical scholars, and their scholarly societies, should do when claims are made in our field. I’m proud to be a member of SOTS, where actions speak as loudly as words.

Want Your Own ‘Athena’ Based ‘Lead Codex’?

Just pop over to any bazaar in Jordan and pick one up.  Robert Deutsch sends along these photos of the very thing you can have for your own, cheap!

The codices being presently hawked by fraudsters are of the same sort: copies of things commonly found in museums around the Levant.  If you want to waste your money go ahead.  But really, you can haggle for a cheap one anywhere in Jordan.  All you have to do is go.

God Willing, This Will be the Last Time Anyone, Anywhere, Mentions These Feckless Codices

Tom has the latest barrage and a video is viewable here that Tom produced and which was examined by various and sundry for accuracy and content.

The Elkingtons need to throw in the towel and return to doing their space alien invader research and never again approach a biblical studies topic. Not only are they really dilettantish at it, but they just don’t have any clue at all concerning actual honest scholarship.

Anyway, the Good Lord willing, this will be the last anyone anywhere hears of these feckless lead codices (unless an actual scholar discovers something meaningful- but given the clearly bogus and fraudulent nature of the ‘find’ I just don’t see that happening).

Philip Davies’ PEQ Essay on the ‘Lead Codices’

Is available, in PDF, for free, here.  The essay came out in July.  I don’t remember if I mentioned it then or not but since the purveryors of the ‘codices’ are pushing the media to prop up public interest (in order to pump up the price), it’s worth mentioning now (with thanks to Dan McClellan for mentioning it).  Philip begins

The explosion, in the popular media, of stories about lead codices apparently discovered in Jordan has been followed by a burst of ‘revelations’ on the internet about them and about some of the persons involved. The confident claims, on the one hand, that these are genuine early Christian (or Jewish) products have been met with equally confident assertions that these are a transparent forgery. There remain a few, including myself, who find some of the reactions on both sides premature and unscholarly. Faced with certainties on both sides, it is becoming harder and harder to insist that we do not know the full truth yet and possibly never will, and that in the meantime there are clues but no certainty.

I suppose I’m guilty of judging the artifacts early on as bogus.  I still think they are.  I’ve seen no reason to accept them as authentic, remarkable, or really even newsworthy.  I still wish the whole story would disappear but until it does I feel obliged to remonstrate against it.

Elkington Isn’t the Only One Keeping The Lead Codices Idiocy Alive

So are we all, every time we mention it.  And sadly we have to mention it because if we don’t our silence is taken as agreement with the lies told by those hawking the rubbish for profit.

We stand on the horns of a dilemma.  To mention it is to aid in the spreading of interest in the fraudulent objects.  To fail to mention it is to drop our responsibilities as scholars to debunk and demythologize.

I can only hope for two things:

1- That Elkington and his ignorant cohort will just disappear into silence so that the whole subject rightly dies off as it so richly deserves.  And

2- That all those persons who somehow for whatever bizarre reason or other have interest in such nonsense will go back to playing their World of Warcraft game.

I Couldn’t Care Less

That the ‘Jordan Lead Codices’ have their own Facebook page.  No I won’t be linking to it.  No I won’t be friending it.  I’ve heard several folks mention it and I just find myself utterly unconcerned about it.  Those in the know (particularly Robert Deutsch) have made it painfully clear that they are bogus nonsense.

So chase them if you must, but I’ve better things to do.  I’m sure some reprehensible depraved evildoer needs a scolding.

A Few More Photos of the Jordanian ‘Lead Codices’

You know, the lead ones from Jordan that are ‘as important as the Dead Sea Scrolls’…

Robert Deutsch kindly sent these along, including the one of the Herodian coin which is copied on the codices.  And be sure to take a quick look at Jona’s post wherein he points out the silliness of saying that carbon 14 testing has been done on inorganic material….