Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Again the Jordanian Lead Codices

In the most recent Palestine Exploration Quarterly (July 2011) Philip Davies discusses the lead codices from Jordan that have caused such a stir earlier this year (we mentioned the story on this blog here). It is an (overtly?) cautious evaluation of where the discussion is at the moment and has some good pictures too.

Davies rejects the authenticity of the few copper plates included in the collection (among which the only one with possible Christian imagery), but does not wholly exclude the possibility that the lead codices may go back to antiquity. Likewise, Davies is clearly not enamoured by the Elkingtons's theory that these codices go back to early Christians fleeing besieged Jerusalem, yet refrains from pouring dirt on their personal behaviour.

Two quotes:
"Thonemann, for one, is in no doubt that the entire collection is a modern forgery and that scholars should not be wasting their time on them. I disagree: they may well turn out all to be quite modern or fairly modern. I think the balance of evidence is falling in this direction. But it is not wise for anyone to draw such definitive conclusions about things one has not seen. Moreover, in any case much about the artifacts themselves is intrinsically curious, as is the story of their ‘finding’ and of the subsequent publicity. If this all turns out to be a ‘story about a story’ (in my view quite likely), it will nevertheless be a story worth unravelling."

"It seems to me worthwhile trying to secure them for scholarly and scientific examination, not least because if they are evidence of a dubious Jordanian industry it is worth knowing as much as one can about its methods (much useful research has been done on Israeli forging techniques)."

1 comment

  1. Have you read Colin Andrews Article? It provides a fascinating-down to earth account of the Bedouin Ilan Shibli who discovered the Codices with Hassan?