Tuesday, October 23, 2018

5 MOTB DSS fragments acknowledged as fake

CONCLUSIVE EVIDENCE: US museum says 5 fragments in Dead Sea Scroll collection are fake. Washington’s controversial Museum of the Bible removes the pieces from display after a German research institution concluded they weren’t old enough (Times of Israel and Agencies). PaleoJudaica readers, I know this is hardly a surprise to you. We have been following developments concerning those dubious post-2002 Dead Sea Scroll-like fragments for years. (New readers, start here and follow the links.)

This article doesn't give the details of the work of the German research institution. But another article, by Peter Dockrill at Science Alert, fills us in: A $500 Million Museum Just Revealed Its Priceless Dead Sea Scrolls Are Fakes.
Dead Sea Scrolls expert Kipp Davis from Trinity Western University voiced doubts about the authenticity of some of the fragments in 2017, and a high-tech analysis by scientists at the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing in Germany appears to have confirmed the suspicions.

Using 3D digital microscopy, scanning X-ray fluorescence (XRF) and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX), the researchers analysed the ink and sediment in the fragments.

According to the museum, the results look to back up Davis's previous inklings, based on "scribal quality and technique in the penning of the texts as well as the physical composition and current state of the manuscript media."
We should always be cautious of materials tests, because they are fallible too. But in this case, multiple lines of evidence lead to the conclusion that these fragments are fake. Probably other fragments are too, but those have not (yet?) undergone the materials tests.

The Museum of the Bible has always openly admitted, including in the exhibitions, that these fragments could be forgeries. I commend them for now acknowledging the new evidence against them and acting accordingly

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