A couple days ago, Roberta Mazza pointed out that Scott Carroll and Josh McDowell have been active recently in Russia. Thanks once again to the sharp eye of David Bradnick, another piece of Scott Carroll’s network of manuscript dealers is beginning to come to light. David notes the image below, which comes from a video describing Scott Carroll’s exhibition in St. Petersburg, Russia:
The manuscript on the right is a facsimile of a fragment of 2 Kings in Coptic on parchment. It is pretty clearly meant to represent the manuscript that Carroll was displaying back in 2016:
The caption for the piece in the Russian exhibit describes it as a facsimile of an original manuscript that is held in “The Stimer Library, Camarillo, California.” This is interesting because there was also an “Andy Stimer” who was associated with a group called Legacy Ministries International that put on an exhibition in 2009 featuring what are now suspected to be fake Dead Sea Scrolls:
The item featured in the picture accompanying the article is a small fragment containing Deuteronomy 27:4-6, now in the collection of Azusa Pacific University). It is item 28 in the list of unprovenanced “Dead Sea Scrolls” maintained by The Lying Pen of Scribes project. This list also contains several “Dead Sea Scrolls” now in the Museum of the Bible Collection that were apparently bought from Stimer (items 18 and 77-79 on the Lying Pen list).
As far as I can tell, Stimer has a fairly low profile on the web. Interestingly, the name does show up in the Internet Movie Database on the profile of the Christian filmmaker Marshall Foster:
“Marshall works closely with Rev. Andy Stimer, one of the world’s foremost collectors of biblical antiquities and classic historic books and manuscripts. His collections document the worldwide explosion of Christian faith over the past 2,000 years. Two of Andy’s priceless collections will be displayed at the 700-million-dollar Bible Museum in Washington, D.C. opening in November 2017. Rev. Stimer’s historical documentation and original source documents align with Marshall’s research and mission.”
I will come back to this connection in a moment. More prominently, Andy Stimer appears as the chairman and CEO of Hope Partners International (HPI), “a Christ-centered international ministry.” And in fact, this organization is an outgrowth of Legacy Ministries International (LMI), the supplier of “Dead Sea Scroll” fragments to Azusa Pacific. This is from the “History” page of an earlier incarnation of the organization:
“Hope Partners International (HPI) grew out of an organization born in 1970, Legacy Ministries International (LMI). Primarily a Bible-focused ministry of edification, LMI has expanded its mission over the years to incorporate evangelism, discipleship, and Christian education. Most notably, LMI has called attention to the historical relevance of Scripture by organizing and conducting major expositions of biblical antiquities. In 2009, LMI entered into a long-term alliance with Azusa Pacific University (APU) to establish a center dedicated to telling the story of God’s Word and honoring its legacy. The LMI/APU mission continues to move forward, concentrating on key events and exhibitions. Subsequent to the first two exhibitions in 2010, the LMI board of directors decided to incorporate all other elements of the ministry under the banner of Hope Partners International.”
So, in addition to the charitable work featured on its homepage, Hope Partners International seems also to be in the business of “biblical antiquities.” According to one description of the arrangement between LMI and Azusa Pacific, “The two organizations signed an agreement on August 5, 2009, to transfer the majority of LMI’s holdings to APU’s Special Collections.” This suggests that LMI retained part of its collection of antiquities, and the new organization (HPI), or at least its CEO, seems to still be trading in unprovenanced manuscripts, and to be doing so in connection with Scott Carroll’s current exhibitions in eastern Europe and Russia. The label pictured above located “The Stimer Library” in Camarillo, California, a bit to the northwest of Los Angeles. The address for Hope Partners International is a post office box in Camarillo. After his break with the Green family and the Museum of the Bible, Scott Carroll had mentioned that some of the manuscripts he had been “researching” were part of “a collection from Los Angeles [that] includes, uh, by our research, uh, the earliest text of the book of Romans in the world, the second earliest Greek text of Exodus in the world, one of the earliest texts of Ecclesiastes, one of the earliest texts of Psalms, and an early text of 2 Corinthians.” It seems plausible that these items might be owned Andrew Stimer and/or Hope Partners International.
Now, to bring it back around to the filmmaker associated with the Stimer collection, Marshall Foster. Foster is associated with an organization called “The World History Institute,” which was the host organization for Scott Carroll’s 3-part video series in the “Hearts of Purpose” talks (part 1, part 2, and part 3) [[Update 28 July 2019: David Bradnick points out that the event was held on 2 March 2014. I have also updated the film links to the Wayback Machine versions.]] You may recall that this was the video in which Scott Carroll passed around several classical papyri, some of which he claimed to own. Also during that talk (part 1, at about the 14:24 mark), Carroll mentions that “There’s someone in this room that has at least three” Dead Sea Scrolls. Now, the man seated next to Scott Carroll’s wife looks a lot like the Andy Stimer on the HPI website:
In part 3, at about the 7:24 mark, Carroll asks this man for help with the Torah scroll: “Andy, will you help, uh, roll it up?” And it’s this gentleman who (in part 3, at 23:29) makes sure that the audience learns about Carroll’s company, Ancient Asset Investment. After a brief interval, Foster then describes the company’s plan by which investors who buy manuscripts through Carroll’s company at relatively low prices and then have them assessed at a higher value (“3-to-1”) before donating them for a very large tax deduction: “. . .So a person who wants a tax write-off that’s major, I mean, so that you don’t pay taxes for the next year and a half, two years, uh you buy one of these treasures, and it’s, it’s a legal, uh, way to do it.” This tax loophole and its use by the Green family has been described in more detail here.
If others are aware of further information on “The Stimer Library,” please feel free to share information in the comments.