Wednesday, September 01, 2010

New World Hebrew forgeries in the news

NEW WORLD HEBREW FORGERIES have been getting some unfortunate media attention lately. For some reason the Los Lunas "Mystery Stone" forgery in New Mexico is given gullible positive coverage by Digital Journal. Also, a visit to the stone is chronicled much more sensibly in Mama Dragon, in which post the burning bush is repeatedly addressed as "dude."*

Note also Glenn Beck's recent foray back into Hebrew studies with a segment on the Bat Creek Stone. The Bat Creek stone inscription was also debunked back in 1993 in the July/August issue of Biblical Archaeology Review by P. Kyle McCarter, supporting earlier conclusions by Frank Moore Cross. (Not online. Sorry.) Cross and McCarter are two of the most distinguished living Northwest Semitic epigraphers. (Full disclosure: Cross supervised my doctoral dissertation.) Both the paleography (letter shapes) of the letters that look like Hebrew and the content (the apparent geographical name Yehud) do not work for Second Temple Hebrew (or, in combination, any other kind).

Beck also mentioned the Newark Stones, which are clearly not actually Second Temple Hebrew inscriptions, although it has been argued that they are medieval Jewish relics that were salted into the digs where they were discovered. At least the residents of Newark were pleased with Beck's mention of the stones:
NEWARK -- The day after the Newark Earthworks were mentioned by television and radio host Glenn Beck on FOX News, there was an increase in visitors at the Great Circle.

"Our phones are ringing off the hook," said Susan Fryer, executive director of the Greater Licking County Convention and Visitors Bureau, which is housed at the Great Circle in Newark.

"So far we've had about 34 visitors today, and about one-third of those are here because they saw it on Glenn Beck," Fryer said mid-afternoon Thursday.

Many of the visitors, Fryer said, were from Ohio and had thought about visiting but never did until they saw the program.

*Via James McGrath on FB.