Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Bible Museum Says Five Of Its Dead Sea Scrolls Are Fake

Having grown in a Catholic home, I often take interest in biblical exhibits. So, when kiddo and I were in Washington DC back in July, I looked into visiting the Museum of the Bible. After all, it was just kitty-corner to the hotel we were staying at, and admission was free. Then, I found out that the place was founded and run by the nutcases who own Hobby Lobby and figured that there wouldn't be anything worth looking at there. And it appears that I was correct.

The museum recently announced that five of its most valuable artifacts, once thought to be part of the historic Dead Sea Scrolls, are fake and will not be displayed anymore. Tests were ordered on the fragments after biblical scholars, who had examined 13 of the museum's previously unstudied fragments, said there was a "high probability" that a number of them were modern forgeries. Steve Green, the Bible museum's evangelical founder and chairman, would not say how much his family spent for the 16 Dead Sea Scrolls fragments in its collection. But scholars say even small fragments with little text can fetch millions in the antiquities market. And it's not the first time that the Steve Green and his family have caused controversy with their artifacts collection. In 2017, the Green family's company, Hobby Lobby, agreed to pay $3 million and return artifacts smuggled out of Iraq as part of a settlement with the Justice Department.

Scamming evangelicals out of money is practically a sport with criminals and unscrupulous artifacts dealers. This is what happens when you buy antiquities that have been illegally excavated or looted. There's no documenting chain to back up their authenticity. This sort of thing happens in every conflict area. People want to make a quick buck by looting antiquities and selling them to collectors abroad, and decide to up their income by throwing in a few extra fakes.

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