Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Israel Forgery Trial aftermath continues

THE LATEST NEWS arising from the Israel Forgery Trial has been out for a while and I'm just catching up. This Fox News article by Sasha Bogursky seems to cover the basics: Forgery of the century? Israel in decade-long war over biblical artifacts. The key point of interest is this:
The state now maintains that the inscription on the limestone box and the tablet are forged -- but the stones themselves are ancient and therefore belong to the state.

For its part, the IAA declined to comment after several days of repeated efforts by

"The IAA does not give interviews on that issue," the agency said.
I think the text of the Joash Inscription (Jehoash Inscription) is a modern fake, for reasons given quite a while ago here. I have the impression that at least most philologists agree on this. More to the point, I am still unaware of any peer-review publication that has argued for the authenticity of the Joash inscription or the full text of the James Ossuary inscription (see below), although I haven't been following the discussion closely and it's possible I have missed something. I am unqualified to have any opinion on whether the stone on which the Joash inscription is written is "ancient" (presumably meaning it is an ancient human-produced artifact, since stones by nature are pretty old). The James Ossuary itself is an ancient artifact, but there is a great deal of debate on whether all or part of the inscription is a modern (or at least later than first century) forgery.

Background on the Israel Forgery Trial is here with many, many links.