Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Zinner on the Jordanian lead codices

SAMUEL ZINNER: The Jordanian Lead Books, David Elkington's Sensationalism and Plagiarism: A Statement ( This is a statement from one of the scholars on the evaluation panel of the Centre for the Study of the Jordanian Lead Books. I have referred cautiously positively to his draft work on the codices here and here. This statement appears to clarify much, including the mixture of apparent nonsense and apparently serious content which has appeared in recent media treatments, as well as the current state of play concerning the codices themselves. Obviously, I can neither confirm nor dismiss any accusations made in it about any specific person. I link and quote for information and you can make up your own minds.

One brief excerpt:
The scholarly assessment of the artefacts contents should be left to trained experts, whose private, tentative findings should not be quoted in public without permission or be taken out of their original contexts. However, the scholarly investigation of the artefacts is hampered by the fact that Elkington denies access to his full set of photographs to any scholar critical of him and his sensationalistic views. As I remarked above, if the only images I had seen of the lead books were the ones circulating on the internet, I'd ignore the story. If Elkington wants more experts to be interested in the artefacts, then he should release all of the images in his possession and see what happens.
Anyone interested in the story of the metal codices should sit down and read the whole essay.

For my part, I remain unconvinced that any of the metal codices are ancient artifacts and I remain to be persuaded that any are not modern forgeries. There are many indications in what I have seen that they are not ancient productions and I have not found the arguments advanced for their antiquity, even on the Lead Books Centre website, to be at all convincing. But it is true that I have not seen everything. If there is compelling evidence that some of them are ancient artifacts, I look forward to seeing it in a peer-review publication. The materials tests may or may not be conclusive or important. As I have been saying, if they are relevant to the issue, the lab reports should be made public.

Meanwhile, I commend Dr. Zinner for giving us his insider's perspective on the current situation and the current state of the question. If you are interested in following the story, it would be wise not to take anything published by the media too seriously and to look to the Jordanian Lead Books Centre website and its members for information on what is going on. And I, of course, will do my best to keep you up to date at PaleoJudaica.

HT Basil Lourié on Facebook. Background here and many, many links. Cross-file under Fake Metal Codices Watch. I acknowledge that various elements of the current discussion may point to some of the codices being something other than fake, but I remain to be convinced. And in any case, I continue to include this cross-file rubric so that all my posts on the subject can be accessed together.