The following is an update from Philip Davies involving the lead codices. I would add that while Philip does not think they are ‘forgeries’, by the context here he knows that there are modern impressions on the tablets. In the same vein, I imagine, that he doesn’t believe they are “genuine”–can we really make any claim as to what these are forgeries of? I’m merely speculating here. I am not sure what exactly that means; I imagine we will find out when more information is released about them.
[editorial note: Philip had identified modern images prior to the great online debates]
The following is a general introductory summary by Sheffield Prof. Emeritus Philip Davies on the now famous lead codices (some images are available here):
Having long been involved in the Dead Sea Scrolls (and in the campaign to force the publication of many of them) I was approached by a British scholar who had been given access to some finds in a Jordanian cave (just like the Scrolls!). Most of them are lead books, some sealed, covered with letters in the archaic Hebrew script, and ancient Jewish symbols – menorahs (7-branched candlestick), date-palms, stars, bunches of grapes. But there is also a portrait of Alexander the Great, of a crocodile, and possibly a depiction of the crucifixion outside the walls of Jerusalem. I have now looked at about a hundred images, some of which I have shared with colleagues around the world, and I am certainly hoping to make sense of them. I have handled one. They are probably not a hoax or a forgery, but their exact origin remains mysterious. As well as decorative lettering, there is also some writing that looks as if it ought to mean something. So far it can’t be deciphered, but it may be in code.
The urgent problem at the moment is to ensure that the originals remain accessible. Scientific tests need to be done on these to try and establish date and origin, but the present possessor (who may or may not be legal owner) is considering selling them privately for as much money as he can. My colleagues and I are helping the Jordanian Department of Antiquities to recover them and enable them to be properly examined, conserved and displayed.
It is an exciting and mystifyng collection, but I think the time is too early to speculate about what they mean. The only scientific tests so far conducted suggest they are not of recent manufacture. Obviously I hope they are very old, but whatever their origin they should be able to tell us things we did not know before. I plan to continue studying these with my academic colleagues around the world, in the hope that we can begin to make some sense of these curious relics.
Filed under: Archaeology, Belief, Biblioblogging, Blog Memes Tagged: | curse tablets, David Elkington, Jesus tablets, lead tablets, Paul Elkington, Philip R. Davies, pseudo-archaeology, pseudo-scholarship