Bible Museum says 5 of its Dead Sea Scrolls are fake

23 Octobre, 2018, 05:12 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • A Dead Sea Scrolls fragment from the book of Genesis part of Museum of the Bible's Scholars Initiative research project published by Brill in 2016. Of the museum's 13 published scrolls at least six are of dubious authenticity. (Image by Bruce

Kloha added: "As an educational institution entrusted with cultural heritage, the museum upholds and adheres to all museum and ethical guidelines on collection care, research and display". That appears to be exactly what happened; a Baptist seminary in Texas and an evangelical college in California reportedly paid millions to purchase alleged pieces of the scrolls.

In April 2017, the museum sent the five fragments to BAM for multiple authenticity tests, including 3D digital microscopy and various X-ray scans to test the material analysis of the ink as well as the layers and chemical nature of the sediment.

The Museum of the Bible said it plans to conduct more research about their authenticity. He told its officials that at least seven of the fragments probably were "modern forgeries", according to a statement by the museum.

But, in 2002, new fragments began mysteriously appearing on the market.

Kloha said although no single test can determine fragments' authenticity, the museum made a decision to remove the five fragments based on the lack of information of their excavation, the academic analysis on them and the newly concluded scientific analysis.

Most fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls are thumbnail-sized, charred scraps of parchment that are almost illegible, Baden said.

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"My research has focused primarily on two aspects of Museum of the Bible's fragments: scribal quality and technique in the penning of the texts as well as the physical composition and current state of the manuscript media", said Davis.

The scrolls are a collection of ancient Jewish religious texts first discovered in the mid-1940s in caves on the western shore of the Dead Sea in what is now Israel. Their small size makes it hard to determine their authenticity, and no test can definitively determine that a fragment is real. The scrolls, which total over 100,000 fragments, include passages from the Old Testament transcribed more than 2,000 years ago. "Ancient material can and nearly certainly has been manipulated in modern times", said Davis.

"One of the things that is striking is that the fragments that we have suggested are the most suspicious, they're not very well done... just good enough to sell", said Davis. Ninety percent of them are fake, said Arstein Justnes, a professor of biblical studies at the University of Agder in Norway, including the Museum of the Bible's.

Far from ignoring the forgery assertions, the Museum of the Bible sponsored Davis's research and that of other scholars. In 2017, the Green family's company, Hobby Lobby, agreed to pay $3 million and return artifacts smuggled out of Iraq as part of a settlement with the Justice Department. They were donated for exhibition at the museum, along with thousands of other biblical artifacts.

CNN raised questions about the museum's Dead Sea Scroll fragments in an article published last November, as the Green family prepared to unveil their new, $500 million museum.

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