and the second century A.D.—include biblical texts as well as a variety of hymns, prayers, and apocalyptic works. “When you have a deceiver and a believer, it’s an intimate dance,” Loll says. Through the 1950s, a Bethlehem-based antiquities dealer named Khalil Iskander Shahin, better known as Kando, acquired many fragments from local Bedouin and sold them to collectors around the world. Despite being purchased at four different times from four different people, the report finds that all 16 of the Museum of the Bible’s Dead Sea Scroll fragments were forged the same way—which strongly suggests that the forged fragments share a common source. Dead Sea Scrolls are examined in this BBC documentary.BBC all rights reserved. “I had zero idea, none!”. In 2019, museum officials announced that 11 papyrus fragments in its collection had been sold to Hobby Lobby by Oxford professor Dirk Obbink, who is accused of stealing the fragments from a papyrus collection he oversaw. Researchers analyzed tiny samples of scroll fragments—these from the biblical book of Jeremiah. The researchers were even able to distinguish the genetic signature among different flocks of sheep. Washington, D.C.On the fourth floor of the Museum of … It’s possible that the fragments’ sellers were themselves duped when they originally acquired the pieces from other dealers or collectors. “I was hoping to have one real [fragment], because then you could show, Okay, here’s a real one, here’s a fake, can you tell the difference?” Kloha says. “Once one or two of the fragments were fake, you know all of them probably are, because they come from the same sources, and they look basically the same,” says Årstein Justnes, a researcher at Norway’s University of Agder whose Lying Pen of Scribes project tracks the post-2002 fragments. According to Noah, the transaction is how Kando and Sharpe met. The Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of ancient manuscripts dating back to 2000 years ago. On Friday, independent researchers funded by the Museum of the Bible announced that all 16 of the museum’s Dead Sea Scroll fragments are modern forgeries that duped outside collectors, the museum’s founder, and some of the world’s leading biblical scholars. Leading biblical scholar Emanuel Tov, one of the volume’s main editors, reviewed the new report for National Geographic and provided the following statement: I will not say that there are no unauthentic fragments among the MOB fragments, but in my view, their inauthenticity as a whole has still not been proven beyond doubt. New technologies help scientists decipher the ancient Dead Sea Scrolls and newly surfaced fragments. The new findings don’t cast doubt on the 100,000 real Dead Sea Scroll fragments, most of which lie in the Shrine of the Book, part of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem. In the wake of the new report, researchers say they must next focus on the fragments’ convoluted routes through the global antiquities trade. They also hint that Judeans of the period were less concerned with the precise wording of ancient religious texts than later Jews and Christians. Seen here as a gap high up in the cliffs of Qumran National Park in the West Bank, Cave 4 was the “mother lode” of Dead Sea Scrolls. One fragment’s lettering squeezed into a corner that wouldn’t have existed when the writing surface was new. In a past interview with National Geographic contributing writer Robert Draper, Kando denied that any fragments he had sold were inauthentic. Officials unveiled the findings at an academic conference hosted by the museum. By the time their report was finalized in November 2019, the researchers were unanimous. “These fragments were manipulated with the intent to deceive,” Loll says. National Geographic Exclusive ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’ at the Museum of the Bible are all forgeries. At press, William Kando, who sold seven pieces to Green, did not respond to an email request for comment. “Analysis of the text found on these Jeremiah pieces suggests that they not only belong to different scrolls, they also represent different versions of the prophetic book,” said Noam Mizrahi, a biblical scholar at Tel Aviv University. Dead Sea The Dead Sea is a large lake that borders Israel, Jordan, and the West Bank. “It’s no wonder that the scholars were thinking these were untrained scribes, because they were really struggling to form these characters and keep their pens under control.”. The National Geographic Channel will be airing two television programs dealing with ancient writings that both relate to today's era. 2020 National Geographic Partners, LLC. The white "foam" that collects … But now, the Washington, D.C. museum has confirmed a bitter truth about the fragments’ authenticity. The report expects us to conclude that abnormalities abound without demonstrating what is normal. “I am bothered by the handwriting; it now seems to be suspicious,” he says. They were … On many of the pieces, suspiciously shiny ink pools in cracks and waterfalls off of torn edges that wouldn’t have been present when the leather was new. All but two of the 26 fragments tested were made from sheep hide. One of the fragments has a row of what look like artificially made holes, somewhat similar to those found in Roman-era shoes. Researchers have spent decades trying to laboriously piece together the 2,000-year-old fragments, most of which were discovered in the 1940s and 1950s in 11 caves near a site called Qumran on the shore of the Dead Sea. “All the material has documentation proving that the documents were exported previously under relevant antiquities laws,” Schiffman said on Friday. From February to October, the team periodically visited the museum and pulled together their findings. Loll quickly assembled a team of five conservators and scientists. Researchers have spent decades trying to laboriously piece … Even more detailed chemical analyses led by Buffalo State College conservation scientist Aaron Shugar raised additional red flags. A warmly lit sanctum at the exhibit’s heart reveals some of the museum’s most prized possessions: fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls, ancient texts that include the oldest known surviving copies of the Hebrew Bible. Researchers carefully examined the surfaces of all 16 fragments under high magnification—all while … “There are many scrolls fragments that we don’t know how to connect, and if we connect wrong pieces together it can change dramatically the interpretation of any scroll,” said geneticist Oded Rechavi of Tel Aviv University, who led the effort. “We really hope this is helpful to other institutions and researchers, because we think this provides a good foundation for looking at other pieces, even if it raises other questions.”. “If there’s any theme that’s present in the Bible, it’s the theme of forgiveness and the possibility of redemption, after someone finally comes clean,” he adds. The authentic Dead Sea Scrolls trace back to 1947, when Bedouin herders found clay jars in Palestine’s Qumran caves that held thousands of parchment scrolls more than 1,800 years old, including some of the oldest surviving copies of the Hebrew Bible. All 16 fragments appeared to be modern forgeries. “I believe that they’ve made a number of attempts in recent years to right the ship. Initially, some Dead Sea Scroll experts thought the post-2002 pieces, including Green’s, were the real deal. The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered between 1946 and 1956 and date back 2,000 years Discovered between 1946 and 1956, the Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of 972 ancient manuscripts … The Museum of the Bible was opened in 2017 and claims to be the “world’s largest museum … Another appeared to have a Greek letter alpha where a 1930s reference Hebrew Bible used an alpha to flag a footnote. In addition, testing led by Jennifer Mass, the president of Scientific Analysis of Fine Art, showed that the forger soaked the fragments in an amber-colored concoction, most likely an animal-skin glue. In 2017, Kloha joined the museum to oversee its collections, and in November 2019, the museum brought in Hargrave, who helped direct the museum’s construction, to serve as its third CEO in two years. Kloha and Hargrave add that the museum is considering a revision of its Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit to focus on how researchers uncovered the forgery. Possibly to correct for the anachronism, the forged fragments also look like they were dusted with clay minerals consistent with sediments from Qumran, where the original Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. Posted By: MissMolly, 3/14/2020 3:22:31 AM Washington, D.C.On the … The first fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in 1947 on the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea. Ever since their discovery in 1947, the Dead Sea Scrolls have captured the imagination and interest of scholars and the public. Many of the shriveled brown fragments—most no bigger than large coins—reportedly traced back to the Kandos, who were rumored to be selling pieces they had long ago spirited away to a vault in Switzerland. After the first five tested fragments showed ungodly inconsistencies, the … “But if they are authentic, unprovenanced artifacts, they must have been looted, they must have been smuggled—they were tied to criminal acts in some way.”. Ferrini eventually went bankrupt from Noah's and others' lawsuits. Pnina Shor, who served as head of the Israeli Antiquities Authority’s Dead Sea Scrolls unit for the past decade, said that the ancient DNA work will complement efforts at Israeli and German universities to create computer algorithms that can find each fragment’s proper place. … The treatment not only stabilized the leather and smoothed out the writing surface, but it also mimicked a signature, glue-like feature of the real Dead Sea Scrolls. The museum promptly returned the artifact to Greece. The Men Who Hid the Dead Sea Scrolls: Ancient Manuscripts Found in Judaean Caves Open a New World to Biblical ScholarshipBiblical scholars revel in the 1947 discovery of detailed 2, 000- year- old … Such discoveries could allow researchers to better understand the many Jewish sects in the tumultuous era that ended when Romans suppressed a Jewish revolt in A.D. 70. “I feel kind of sick,” he says. The recent findings have no bearing on the nearly 100,000 Dead Sea Scroll fragments that comprise the Shrine of the Book, on display in the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, National Geographic reports. Christopher Rollston, a specialist on Semitic texts at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., welcomes the effort to set things right. On the fourth floor of the Museum of the Bible, a sweeping permanent exhibit tells the story of how the ancient scripture became the world’s most popular book. In the fallout, Noah acquired two fragments in Ferrini's possession that belonged to the Kandos: a tiny portion of the Book of Jeremiah, and a small fragment of rabbinic commentary about the Book of Genesis. The Dead Sea Scrolls, written between the third century B.C. “So the victims—despite the fact that it's embarrassing to admit that you were duped—have to go and explore all criminal and civil remedies with U.S., Israeli, and international authorities.”. How did all these world experts miss this?”. The museum is also reevaluating the provenance of all the material in its collection, and it is prepared to return any stolen artifacts to their rightful owners. Michael Sharpe, a book collector formerly based in Pasadena, California, sold one Dead Sea Scroll piece to Green in February 2010. The conventional wisdom is that a breakaway Jewish sect called … Discovered by a Bedouin shepherd in the caves of Qumran, the Dead Sea Scrolls consist of passages of the Hebrew Bible, or Old Testament, that range from 1,800 to more than 2,000 years old. In interviews with National Geographic, the Museum of the Bible’s new leadership team voiced hope that the analysis would help Dead Sea Scrolls scholars around the world. Archaeologists initially thought the scrolls were the product of scribes living in the Qumran community. While recent evidence suggests at least a few authentic Dead Sea Scrolls may have been prepared with lime, scholars have long thought that the technique caught on only after the authentic Dead Sea Scrolls were made. Other such fragments reside at academic institutions around the world, such as California’s Azusa Pacific University and Texas’s Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. 2020 National Geographic Partners, LLC. (Here's how researchers realized a museum's collection of Dead Sea Scrolls were forgeries.). Directed by Peter Yost. One tantalizing possibility is that they come from ancient leather shoes or sandals. In 2018, the Museum of the Bible determined that a manuscript in its collection sold several times beforehand had in fact been stolen from the University of Athens in 1991. This doubt is due to the fact that similar testing has not been done on undisputed Dead Sea Scroll manuscripts in order to provide a base line for comparison, including the fragments from the Judean Desert sites that are later than Qumran. The announcement also draws the spotlight back onto how the Museum of the Bible assembled its collection in the first place. Not only would the Museum of the Bible have no say on the team’s findings, her report would be final—and would have to be released to the public. “You don’t need as much of a knowledge of the materials as you need a knowledge of the marketplace.”. National Geographic, by Michael Greshko Original Article. By decade’s end, the trickle of post-2002 fragments turned into a flood of at least 70 pieces. Most of the 100,000 real Dead Sea Scroll fragments lie in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, and the report does not question their authenticity. Witness as a new clue to the … However, the report’s findings raise grave questions about the “post-2002” Dead Sea Scroll fragments, a group of some 70 snippets of biblical text that entered the antiquities market in the 2000s. The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered by Bedouin shepherds in the 1940s, in caves in Qumran. But in the 1970s, a new UNESCO convention on cultural property and a new Israeli law on the antiquities trade restricted sale of the looted scrolls. All rights reserved. How could these be fraudulent?” Noah says. 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