Visiting the University of Agder

I’m excited that next week I’ll be heading to the University of Agder in Norway to visit the research project, “The Lying Pen of Scribes: Manuscript Forgeries and Counterfeiting Scripture in the Twenty-First Century,” best known for its incisive investigations into the so-called “post-2002 Dead-Sea-Scrolls-like fragments,” such as the detailed review of the Museum of the Bible’s Scrolls fragments by Årstein Justnes.

After the “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” affair, there has been a marked interest in forgeries and fakes among scholars of antiquity. Macquarie University is home to the Australian Research Council Discovery project, “Forging Antiquity: Authenticity, Forgery and Fake Papyri.” And the Italian Ministry of Education, University, and Research is sponsoring a project on fake ancient inscriptions: “False testimonianze. Copie, contraffazioni, manipolazioni e abusi del documento epigrafico antico.”

My week at the University of Agder begins on Monday, October 22, with a one-day symposium, “God’s Library, Gabriel’s Stone, and Forgers’ Bookshelves: On Dating, Faking, and Trafficking” (full program available here).

I’ll be making a couple contributions. First, I’ll talk about some recently discovered archival material relating to the acquisition and dating of P.Ryl. 3.457, better know to most as the New Testament manuscript P52, the Rylands Library fragment of the Gospel according to John. In the evening, I’ll be speaking more generally about how we determine the dates of early Christian manuscripts.

Later in the week I’ll be discussing ancient libraries and talking a bit about my recent book, God’s Library: The Archaeology of the Earliest Christian Manuscripts. If you’re in the neighborhood, please drop by!

This entry was posted in Fakes and Forgeries, Rylands Papyri. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Visiting the University of Agder

  1. I look forward eventually to reading your P52 paper.
    And also the paper on “Hazon Gabriel.” While the “Gospel of Jesus’ Wife” may be compared for its non-continuous text and lack of provenance, and the “Angel Scroll” may be compared for its non-continuous hodge-podge text and bogus provenance story (and provenance of the angelic message from Jordan announced in the text), as well as phony post-2002 sales of Scroll fragments, another text is often overlooked: there already was a Semitic inked inscription on stone–found at Qumran! Found in 1955 and published in 2003. De Vaux excavated in Qumran a text (apparently religious, with handwriting like the Scrolls) inked on limestone. Though it is smaller and fragmentary, it is worth noting. KhQ 2207 was uncovered in locus 129 on 26 Feb, 1955. Pages 360-362 in Lemaire, A. 2003 Inscriptions du Khirbeh, des grottes et de ʻAïn Feshkha. Pp. 341-88 in Khirbet Qumrân et de Khirbet Qumrân et ʻAïn Feshkha. II. etudes d’anthropologie, de physique et de chimie, eds. J.-B. Humbert and J. Gunneweg. Fribourg: Academic Press.

    • Thanks, Stephen. I’m not familiar with KhQ 2207. Is there an image of it online somewhere? From what I gather, it sounds like a “school”-type ostracon (but, as I say, I’ve not seen the object or Lemaire’s edition).

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