Thursday, February 07, 2019

1200-year-old Bible!! Without any writing?

HERE WE GO AGAIN: Ancient Bible DISCOVERY: Moment police uncover copy of the early Bible in smuggling raid. DRAMATIC footage shows Turkish police uncovering a 1,200-year-old Bible during an anti-smuggling raid in Diyarbakir, before arresting the smugglers and inspecting the ancient pages. (Katie Weston, The Express). The story is also covered by Daily Sabah, but without the video.

Really, how clueless can people be? This supposedly old "Bible" has no writing in it. Not a word. Just a bunch of drawings in gold leaf.

It has the look of other manuscripts recovered in Turkey which have writing or drawings in gold leaf (e.g., here). I hear that there are a lot of modern forgeries in gold leaf circulating. It would not surprise me if this is one. The drawing of the man (see 0:48 on the video) looks pretty modern to me (but I am not an art historian).

But some of the manuscripts are genuine early-modern artifacts in the Syriac tradition. That could be the case here too.

For past seizing of smuggled manuscripts in Turkey which contain writing or drawings, often in gold leaf, see here, here, here, here and here and links. And this case also involves gold objects. More links there.

As always, I appreciate that the Turkish police make it so hard for smugglers. But the media needs to exercise some restraint in covering the artifacts that are seized. They are sometimes outright fakes and so far have never been the kind of blockbuster discovery that is reported.

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