Friday, April 01, 2011

Lead Plates Apparently Forgeries

A couple individuals have asked me about some lead plates that surfaced in Jordan recently.  We Christians have to be careful about these things because we are prone to jump on them without sufficient care.  When we are wrong--and these things almost always turn out to be hoaxes--not only we look stupid but we make Christianity look stupid.

First, this article from the Mirror so smacks of sensationalism and unlikelihood that, even if the plates were authentic, this article would almost certainly be a stretch.  The very idea of Jesus keeping a diary sounds massively anachronistic in itself.

But Peter Thonemann, as reported by Daniel McClellan, has apparently correlated some of the writing on the codices with some material on display in the Archaeological Museum in Amman.  James McGrath has links to a number of other bloggers who have concluded similarly, and David Meadows has a sagacious review of the issue.  Thonemann believes that some confusion over what the Greek letters A and L are, as well as the repetition of the same exact Greek phrase in more than one place on the same page, points to someone who did not actually know Greek and was trying to fake it.

None of this disproves anything about Jesus.  It just proves that after the Dead Sea Scroll discoveries, someone was motivated to create something he or she could turn in for money.

1 comment:

Joel Byer said...

"UNTOUCHED and unread for almost 2,000 years, their compact, corroded metal pages could unlock the secrets of Christianity."
That first statement alone tells us all we need to learn about this article. Christianity doesn't need some dramatic new revelation to "unlock secrets".