Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Lead books - maybe a hoax after all

Unintelligent forgery?

Lead books! Ha! Have we been had for fools?  See my earlier post (4th April) on a find said to be the earliest ever Christian documents, predating even the letters of St Paul.

Who ever heard of lead books anyway? And the first Christians - or so I've always been led to believe - lived in daily expectation of the second coming; so why would they write books at all, never mind lead ones?  The major discovery of Christian history indeed!

These doubts occurred to me the day after I wrote that piece. And now the thought that the lead books are fakes receives reinforcement by Peter Thonemann, lecturer in ancient history at Oxford University, who has staked his career on them being forgeries and no more than 50 years old.

He says the text on one of the bronze tablets (they are not all lead it seems) makes no sense in its own right, but has been extracted unintelligently from another longer text on display in the Archaeological Museum in Amman.  By someone who knows so little Greek that he confuses the Greek letters lamda (L) and alpha (A).

Thonemann likens one of the inscriptions to "t to be that is the question wheth".

This comes from a blog by Daniel O. McClellan, an historian of early Christianity. Thanks to Noggin for calling it to my attention

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