The Inscription from Madaba, Lead Codices, and the Mona Lisa of Galilee

Several new pieces of data have been brought to the attention of the listserv.  One was sent along by David Meadows.  Here (Google translated, since I don’t know Chinese) a blog analyzes the similarities of the Madaba inscription and compares it to the script on the tablet Thonemann looked at.

Dan McClellan takes it a step further and compares the script from that inscription to those Elkington recently has passed around and the inscription from the Madaba tombstone and he has determined that they are indeed by the same hand (and clearly, they are).  Here are some of his comparisons along with those from the Chinese blog:

He also compares the (backwards) yod here (from the lead tablets and the one sent to Thonemann now universally accepted as modern):

And these from the inscription on the tombstone (notice its direction; and Dan also links to a discussion here at Aramaic Designs):

He writes:

It seems the “paleo-Hebrew” script from the codices was also lifted from the tombstone inscription on display in Jordan. There are other letters that clearly share a relationship as well, which I will discuss a bit later. I am hoping to have a photograph of the Madaba inscription itself up shortly. Stay tuned.

The Lead Codices and the Inscription from Madaba « Daniel O. McClellan.

In addition to these, compares the so-called (sensationalized) ‘image of Jesus’ face on one of the tablets to the Mona Lisa of Galilee mosaic.

He does an excellent job comparing the facial features on the cast impression with those of the mosaic.  His case is strong, though I am still not certain it is not from a coin. It is definitely worth pursuing either way.

And one final bit of news, Jim West shares with us another example of why these images and iconography are indeed modern.  Robert Deutsch posted that the image of the chariot and rider in the Thonemann-analyzed tablet (part of the same corpus) was lifted from a modern fake sold to tourists.  Here are the images (click to enlarge).

I had originally thought it was from an ancient chariot on the back of a Tetradrachm (see here) but I now have to admit the fake is a much better analog.

Philip Davies responded yesterday to some comments by Thonemann about the codices.  He reinforces what I’ve known all along, but others have previously fought me on; he writes “I do love a good story and there is one here – not about early Christians, though.”  Anyone who feels he is arguing for their ‘genuineness’ is just not listening (or reading, what have you).  I would argue that this is precisely what the media is guilty of, and we need to be careful that we don’t fall into similar traps.

And perhaps that last comment segues nicely into the tone of a comment I posted yesterday; I think it should be required reading for everyone who is interested in the codices from a lay perspective (so click the link above).

Jim Davila take’s stock:

The Greek is lifted nonsensically from an inscription published in 1958. The forger couldn’t tell the difference between the Greek letters alpha and lambda. The Hebrew script is taken from the same inscription. The Hebrew text is in “code,” i.e., is gibberish. The “Jesus” face is taken from a well-known mosaic. The charioteer is taken from a fake coin. The crocodile has a suspicious resemblance to a plastic toy.

That’s all for this roundup.  More as the information keeps coming in.

Previous Roundups:

9 Responses

  1. […] 4-8-2011: Tom Verenna posts more links to evidence the leads codices are […]

  2. […] Larry Hurtado’s blog is at Some people are keeping a tally of how many things are wrong with the […]

  3. As far as I can tell, most of the discussion leading to the conclusion that the lead plates are forgeries is based on Thonemann’s analysis of the copper plates he received a year prior to the enveiling of the lead ones. While not irrelevant, the fact that these are forgeries does not necessarily imply that the lead ones are. My analysis that the plate containing the image of Jesus is a forgery is conclusive evidence that at least one of the plates is of recent provenance, a fact supported by McClellan’s analysis of the script. Where evidence is available to points to certainty rather than probability, it makes more sense to go with the certain knowledge. There is no room for doubt. The supposed image of Jesus is replicated from the photo of the Mona Lisa. Replicate my findings for yourself or wait a bit and I will post more detailed images to my blog. Right now, I’ve got classes to teach.

    As far as I can tell, then, there is one piece of incontrovertible evidence that one of the lead plates is a forgery, and that evidence is posted to my blog. The rest is probabilities.

  4. I’m not sure if this is the best place to leave my comment, but it seems just as good as any of the other blogs about these ‘codices.’

    I haven’t seen any blogs report on David Elkington’s interview on Coast to Coast, so I’d thought I’d share. David Elkington was interviewed on Coast to Coast by Ian Punnet on April 2, 2011.

    In the interview, he made some profound statements regarding the revelation of the codices. Enjoy.

  5. In compiling evidence to support my claim that the lead image of Jesus is copied from a photo of the Mona Lisa of the Galilee, I made a rather startling discovery. There are two photos of the Mona Lisa taken from the same angle. When superimposed on one another with varying degrees of transparency, the first Mona seems to morph into a man with a beard and then morphs into the second Mona. I don’t know what to make of this or how to explain it, but it is intriguing, to say the least.

  6. James, I wouldn’t give the fakers too much credit.

  7. Tom, thanks for replying to my comment. My students laughed this morning, though, when I suggested someone thought I might not be sufficiently skeptical about the Mona Lisa images. Not being skeptical is not typically the way students think about me.

    The two photos to which I refer on my blog have both been around for a while. The first is posted on PBS’s website about its Frontline, From Jesus to Christ documentary, published in 1998. The second image was first posted on Wikipedia in February, 2008. It’s still quite possible there’s fakery involved here, but I doubt is has anything to do with the Elkington affair.

    I’m off to do some research about the photos to see what I can find. There’s a story to be told here, but I’m only starting to track it down.

  8. […] Top Posts Jordan Lead Codices: Case Closed as “Genuine” Forgeries?Most Republicans are Creationists and Climate Change Deniers…Why?Searching for Muses: Ninjas and James McGrathNew Roundup on Lead Codices and Additional InformationBlogging HiatusQuake in Virginia Rocks East CoastMore Updates from Margaret About “Jordan” CodicesCraig A. Evans – Doubting Morton Smith and Secret MarkSome Calvin and Hobbes to Brighten Your MondayThe Inscription from Madaba, Lead Codices, and the Mona Lisa of Galilee […]

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