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Old 11-23-2017, 04:38 PM   #41
GoinAllTheWay
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Hey-Oh!

I assume you've seen this TC?

http://www.iflscience.com/editors-bl...d-sea-scrolls/

Some info on who may have written the dead sea scrolls.
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Old 11-23-2017, 04:39 PM   #42
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Sorry, my question was just whether similar scroll content could/should/would be considered as coming from the same piece of parchment; for example, texts concerning Abraham all have the identical carbon dating results as any other texts about Abraham, or is there no guarantee that a fragment of the DSS brought in should be identical in nature to others.
Okay, I think I understand what you are asking: Can we identify individual fragments as authentic on the basis of their having stemmed from the same manuscript which we know to be authentic? Certainly, but these identifications are only partially dependent on content. When it comes to identifying and classifying fragments and manuscripts we depend primarily upon matching handwriting styles and corresponding features of damage. Content is certainly helpful, but secondary to this crucial first step of identification and physical reconstruction.

But it is further interesting to note that among the forgeries there seem to be some that were specifically crafted in an effort to have them identified with specific manuscripts. For example, when the first of the so-called "post-2002 Dead Sea Scroll fragments" were published by Hanan and Esther Eshel in 2005/6, they initially identified all of them on the basis of grainy, museum catalogue images with existing manuscripts from Qumran that are housed in the IAA. In the intervening decade virtually every one of these identifications have since been overturned, and most—if not all—of these fragments are now considered as forgeries. On the other side of this question I and my colleagues did manage to identify one of Schøyen's fragments with an actual copy of the "Rewritten Pentatuech" from Qumran on the basis of handwriting and content. This identification has served as a soft form of authentication for this fragment.

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It's a really interesting topic. You should really have a documentary made, these are very engrossing stories. I especially liked the one about Galileo's forged "Sidereus Nuncius".
It is actually something that has come up. I have a colleague here at TWU who is working with me in exploring the possibility of making a documentary, and I have also been approached by a rep. from the MOTB about making one. However, anything like this will be at least a year or two down the road.
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"...harem warfare? like all your wives dressup and go paintballing?"
"The Lying Pen of Scribes" Ancient Manuscript Forgeries Project
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Old 11-23-2017, 04:40 PM   #43
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What about dna extraction?
Wouldn't you expect the parchment to contain dna similar in nature given (one would think) from closely related animals?
But then again as you say, if the forgers had access to blank parchments then that's going to pass also.
Also, you could date the ink to see if it correlates with the parchment age?
DNA has been used to identify some manuscripts, but I don't know much about this.
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"...harem warfare? like all your wives dressup and go paintballing?"
"The Lying Pen of Scribes" Ancient Manuscript Forgeries Project
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Old 11-23-2017, 04:45 PM   #44
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/\/\/\/\
Hey-Oh!

I assume you've seen this TC?

http://www.iflscience.com/editors-bl...d-sea-scrolls/

Some info on who may have written the dead sea scrolls.
I had heard about this, but am not a member of ASOR, and thus did not attend the meetings prior to our conference in Boston this past week.
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"...harem warfare? like all your wives dressup and go paintballing?"
"The Lying Pen of Scribes" Ancient Manuscript Forgeries Project
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Old 11-23-2017, 06:23 PM   #45
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Yup ... from dealing with the Dead Sea Scrolls to the Red C Trolls.
FYP.

By the way, I am stealing this.
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"...harem warfare? like all your wives dressup and go paintballing?"
"The Lying Pen of Scribes" Ancient Manuscript Forgeries Project
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Old 11-23-2017, 07:48 PM   #46
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Do you appreciate these scrolls as fine art? Like are they beautiful to you beyond their meaning and historical importance? I guess that's a part of art appreciation as well. Would you conserve and frame a piece and hang it on your wall or keep it locked in a box? Are some piece more beautiful than others? Like is there a Picasso among the more common examples?
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Old 11-23-2017, 11:02 PM   #47
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Do you appreciate these scrolls as fine art? Like are they beautiful to you beyond their meaning and historical importance? I guess that's a part of art appreciation as well.
I’m not sure, honestly. There are many of the Scrolls that I find astonishingly beautiful, but it is a different sort of appreciation than I have for fine art. The vast majority of the scrolls—while written by an elite level group of highly trained scribes amid a primarily illiterate population (estimates range between 2–10%)—are nevertheless predominantly utilitarian objects. I appreciate them for how they help me to understand history, literature, religion and culture, but “fine art” is not really how I appraise them.

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Would you conserve and frame a piece and hang it on your wall or keep it locked in a box? Are some piece more beautiful than others? Like is there a Picasso among the more common examples?

There is definitely a wide range in quality and aesthetic value throughout the Dead Sea Scrolls. A lot of this has to do with function, and is helpful for scholars in understanding the texts they contain. For example, I have said that the fragment pictured in my avatar is from my favourite scroll. Reasons for this is because it is a fun document to reconstruct, and it contains some surprising oddities. But another reason is that the script is exquisite. Those letters you see? They measure around 1.5 mm high! Can you imagine writing that beautifully, that precisely, on that scale?
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"...harem warfare? like all your wives dressup and go paintballing?"
"The Lying Pen of Scribes" Ancient Manuscript Forgeries Project

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Old 11-23-2017, 11:35 PM   #48
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Fascinating thread, TC!

Are you concerned about how much you and your colleagues say regarding the forgeries for fear of "training" the forgers? For example, when you talk about a little publishing mark in a modern book appearing in an ancient text, do you think it likely the person responsible for that forgery (if it is one) will now omit similar mistakes when using that modern book as a source?
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Old 11-24-2017, 01:02 AM   #49
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Fascinating thread, TC!

Are you concerned about how much you and your colleagues say regarding the forgeries for fear of "training" the forgers? For example, when you talk about a little publishing mark in a modern book appearing in an ancient text, do you think it likely the person responsible for that forgery (if it is one) will now omit similar mistakes when using that modern book as a source?
This is a legitimate concern, and one that I have heard from my own colleagues. There are a couple of ways to view this: Yes, I suppose it might be useful to simply reject forgeries without explanation, in hopes both that this action will serve to not legitimate the forgery and also will not "tip off" the forger about his errors. In my situation I did not believe this to be an option, largely because there are numerous, highly respected scholars who had already come forward with acceptance of all of the problematic fragments' authenticity. I have won the scholarly consensus, but only on the basis of my published findings reported in a tier-1 peer-reviewed scientific journal. Had I claimed forgery without revealing the evidence, I am quite sure my assertion would have been ignored.

Additionally, I would argue that several of the errors I have observed are impossible to avoid, and many of the most damning issues occur on a microscopic level. For example, one of the most common incontrovertible pieces of evidence for forgery among the fragments I have seen are inks on top of sedimentary deposits. Manuscript fragments from antiquity that have languished in desert cave environments for centuries or millennia will accumulate thick layers of sediment. When forgers attempt to write on ancient media they invariably must navigate these deposits that are very frequently invisible to the naked eye. For example, one fragment I have seen looks fairly normal—albeit badly damaged—at a 1:1 scale, but even at this level of observation one can see creases and tiny crevices that have scarred the surface. At 350 x magnification we can see clearly microscopic particles that have filled these creases, and in two places the ink actually spills over top of these. I would say that is an error which is practically impossible to avoid committing.
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"...harem warfare? like all your wives dressup and go paintballing?"
"The Lying Pen of Scribes" Ancient Manuscript Forgeries Project
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Old 11-24-2017, 01:20 AM   #50
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So, kind of along those lines - have the forgers used up the available materials that would make “good” forgeries? Or is it possible to know what exists in for the uninscribed parchments and whether that supply has been used up. Is it worth it to put a high value on the blank parchments so you no longer have to deal with these forgeries? For example put equal value for the parchment scraps in hopes that people will stop trying to fake actual texts?
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Old 11-24-2017, 11:24 AM   #51
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So, kind of along those lines - have the forgers used up the available materials that would make “good” forgeries? Or is it possible to know what exists in for the uninscribed parchments and whether that supply has been used up. Is it worth it to put a high value on the blank parchments so you no longer have to deal with these forgeries? For example put equal value for the parchment scraps in hopes that people will stop trying to fake actual texts?

Because of how the original Dead Sea Scrolls were acquired by archaeologists in the 40s and 50s, unfortunately, there is no way to know how many blank pieces of parchment there are still out there. We scholars have certainly set our own value on uninscribed portions of manuscripts for research purposes, but the real problem here is that the market does not care. Collectors want biblical TEXTS. So long as they do, looters and forgers will continue to profit exponentially from these. The solution may be to shut down the private antiquities market altogether
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"The Lying Pen of Scribes" Ancient Manuscript Forgeries Project
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Old 11-24-2017, 01:23 PM   #52
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If you guys acquire some ancient parchment it would be tempting to mark them on the microscopic level, sell them, and then wait for them to show up again as forgeries. Since you'd control how the parchment entered the market you'd probably have some clues into who the forgers are.

I suppose in the short term you risk perpetuating the problem, and honest investors may get burned in the process.
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Old 11-26-2017, 07:19 AM   #53
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I wish I was as knowledgeable or passionate about anything as you are about this subject and your work TC.

Honestly blows me away. Kudos.
My sentiments as well.
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Old 11-28-2017, 02:29 PM   #54
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Now Conan O'Brien is tweeting about my work...



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"...harem warfare? like all your wives dressup and go paintballing?"
"The Lying Pen of Scribes" Ancient Manuscript Forgeries Project

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Old 11-28-2017, 02:33 PM   #55
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I dont know, that seems legit.
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Old 11-28-2017, 02:41 PM   #56
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I dont know, that seems legit.
No. Jesus's raptor had feathers. Duh.
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Old 11-28-2017, 02:45 PM   #57
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Come on John. No discrimination here, you said you would baptize everyone. Just because he isn't human, it doesn't get you out of baptizing Roger Raptor. Now dunk!
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Old 11-28-2017, 10:34 PM   #58
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Because of how the original Dead Sea Scrolls were acquired by archaeologists in the 40s and 50s, unfortunately, there is no way to know how many blank pieces of parchment there are still out there. We scholars have certainly set our own value on uninscribed portions of manuscripts for research purposes, but the real problem here is that the market does not care. Collectors want biblical TEXTS. So long as they do, looters and forgers will continue to profit exponentially from these. The solution may be to shut down the private antiquities market altogether
There are some things that really shouldn’t be in the hands of private collectors. Authentic texts are rare and delicate. If we want these texts to last for the next 2000 years, they need to be in the hands of experts, not private citizens.
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Old 01-10-2018, 04:51 PM   #59
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I rarely enter the off-topic forum, but what an interesting thread. Outside of our love of hockey, it's nice to be reminded that there's a diverse and very interesting set of talents held by forum members.
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Old 01-23-2018, 09:03 PM   #60
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Newly decoded scrolls...

https://www.livescience.com/61510-de...l-decoded.html

Not sure what that means but seems cool.
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