Alan Isaac Rare Books

Dead Sea Scrolls or dead loss?

Fragments of manuscript, believed to have been part of the dramatic discoveries made in the caves of Qumran on the West Bank of the River Jordan in 1947, and among the earliest known examples of Christian scripture, are now thought definitively to be fakes.

A lengthy and detailed analysis, using 3D microscopes, infrared spectroscopy and ‘energy dispersive X-ray analysis’ has reached the conclusion, that each of the 16 items examined exhibit ‘characteristics that suggest they are deliberate forgeries’, damning news for the owners at  the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C.

Fragments of manuscript, believed to have been part of the dramatic discoveries made in the caves of Qumran on the West Bank of the River Jordan in 1947, and among the earliest known examples of Christian scripture, are now thought definitively to be fakes.

A lengthy and detailed analysis, using 3D microscopes, infrared spectroscopy and ‘energy dispersive X-ray analysis’ has reached the conclusion, that each of the 16 items examined exhibit ‘characteristics that suggest they are deliberate forgeries’, damning news for the owners at  the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C.

The fragments, previously undocumented from the finds at Qumran, acquired by the Museum from four private sources prior to 2016 for an undisclosed price, and the majority of which were published for scholars, immediately aroused suspicion. The Museum is likely to have paid many millions of pounds for the group of fragments which, according to the investigators, Art Fraud Insights, were likely to have been made from old shoe leather and to have been aged with a ‘shiny amber material … most likely animal skin glue’.  This does not make them sound overly sophisticated, but the most remarkable detail of the recent report is that, ‘at the time of publication (of the fragments in 2016) no scientific examination of the Museum’s scroll fragments had been carried out’

So the romantic tale of the Hebrew manuscripts, called the Dead Sea scrolls, the earliest dating from the 3rd century BCE, having been found in the caves of Qumran by the shepherd searching for his lost sheep has ended in both tears and embarrassment for the American Museum whose reputation appears, like the scrolls themselves, to be in shreds.

 

Posted by on March 17th, 2020 | Comments Off on Dead Sea Scrolls or dead loss?
Posted in Manuscripts, Uncategorized

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