Should Scholars Authenticate and Publish
Paper Presented in San Antonio, 2004
Today we know for certain that in addition to promoting illicit trade in antiquities the publishing of unauthenticated and unprovenanced material also has promoted an entire industry, namely the forgery business.
By Eric M. Meyers
Bernice and Morton Lerner Professor
Director of the Graduate Program in Religion
I believe what I have suggested, following ASOR�s original policy, adopted in 1992, is a step in the right direction. Let us put pressure where it belongs: on the departments and authorities that are in charge of protecting their national heritage. Let us at the same time push toward repatriation of the cuneiform record along the lines I have suggested. We all have to fight looting in every way possible, and we must prevent unethical dealers and collectors from taking advantage through legal loopholes to promote their own collections and the value of individual artifacts, thereby significantly enhancing their net worth. We should not take any steps, however, that will allow important and properly authenticated artifacts and inscribed materials from seeing the light of scholarly publication, albeit with the provisos I have noted. Surely any policy that impedes true enlightenment of the past through careful publication is one in need of some adjustments, either legal or ethical.
This seems to be the full text of the presentation I summarized in my report on the SBL forgery crisis session in November. It also seems to have been revised since the original presentation, but I'm not sure how much.
(Via Biblical Theology.)