The Latest on the Lead Books from the BBC and around the Blogosphere

Presumably spurred by BBC coverage of the topic (the BBC web site has particularly clear photos of the lead codices, but almost entirely without letters or text, and this is presumably intentional), the blogosphere has been buzzing with posts on this topic.

Larry Hurtado says “Chill, dude.” (No, seriously, he does!)
Andrew Perriman views this as an earlier thought experiment possibly become reality.
Coptic News and Archive cites the Bedouin owner of the books, who claims they were in his family’s possession for more than a century and not smuggled out of Jordan.
Peter Kirk shares links, excerpts and a few thoughts, as does Richard Hall.

A few of the images that have been made available have letters on them. Can we please get the best minds in the biblioblogosphere, with skills in epigraphy and paleo-Hebrew script, working on providing an initial transcription? It might help us have more productive and interesting discussions, as we wait for further information.

Of related interest, James Tabor has officially announced excavations at Suba this summer. Who knows – this could be your opportunity to be part of an important discovery!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06591903364783438095 Steve Caruso

    There is so little readable text, overall, this is frustrating, even when enhancing the images. They like to showcase the bosses on the lead, so the text in nearly every image is mirrored.Peace,-Steve

  • http://tomverenna.wordpress.com/ tomverenna

    The script is in code; "code" seems like a shady way of saying "spell" and if so we have to be even more cautious about their dating (let's wait for the paper listing the carbon dating results here) and about their historical use, since spell books were known to be common to Christians c. third century CE. I still say that we need to be cautious about speculating any further.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02561146722461747647 James F. McGrath

    Tom, I don't think that C-14 dating is possible given the materials. I wonder whether any other method of radiometric dating could be applied – and if not, what our options are in terms of trying to ascertain a date for these codices.

  • http://tomverenna.wordpress.com/ tomverenna

    The question that would help answer that is determining what they are. Are they spell books? If so, that would narrow the date some. Do we have records of this sort of coding elsewhere? Can we determine a tentative timeframe from that information? These are the sorts of questions that need answering. Right now we have no answers, only speculation and a few images and a script we can determine to be Semitic. Beyond that, what more is there? That is why I have stressed caution throughout.

  • Anonymous

    When I first read of lead plates I thought of the copper and silver scroll. Ancient Hebrew and the works being encoded also strikes of the Dead Sea Scrolls, reminds me of the "mystery of who things are scroll".The discovery in Jordon dating around the first revolt.Use of the Menorah – Nazarene, Edionites, Johnites?Similar passage found in Revelations is interesting it that it end the debate to Revelations writing. Then it could be just similar apocalyptic thought from the period similar to other Jewish sects.With the cross, tomb, and city wall engraving is very interesting, because of its orientation. We know from the ancient Torah scroll placement within Davids tomb / Upper Room that its alignment is with Holy Sepulchre not the Temple mount. This dating to the 2nd revolt. Later read Copper also used… 70 plates all together.. Fascinating given other Enochen liturgy of the period

  • Anonymous

    James Tabor has now surely lost all academic credibility, after his "Jesus tomb" shenanigans and his recent public praise for Vendyl "Ark Hunter" Jones.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04335917715944481443 Gary

    Don't know anything about it but,http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/18005Dating is not a problem, access to the material is the problem. Open access will not be provided, I will be willing to bet. Why hasn't full photographic access not been provided…? because the owners do not want a fraud to be disclosed, at least not until they make some $$ from it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02561146722461747647 James F. McGrath

    Wow, that's a fascinating article! The profit motive is there whether the codices are authentic or forged. But if they were genuinely discovered rather than fabricated, they will be submitted to dating (using the impressive methods you linked to!) An unwillingness to allow them to be dated will make it all but certain that we are dealing with a forgery.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16391774756580677275 Simon

    This seems a coincidence to me that on these led books just discovered it is talking about a TOMB STONE in JordanWell I discovered a Great stone in Jordan only weeks ago that is most definitely the Great stone told in all 4 gospels Mark 16:4 And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. The Great Missing Rolling Stone From The Garden Tomb which Joseph of Arimathaea Cut for his own New Tomb Has Now Been Discovered. And this stone I discovered is in Mount Nebo Now could this be the link. We know that this great rolling stone was found at a Byzantine Monastery in the old village of Faysaliyah seven kilometers west of Madaba, Mount Nebo. If you're not familiar with mount Nebo, it is the very famous mountain the Lord led Moses to just before he died, to see the promised land. On a clear day you can see right across to Jerusalem. TO READ THIS ARTICLE CLICK HERE http://www.realdiscoveries.org/modules/articles/item.php?itemid=264COULD THIS BE THE SAME STONE IN THESES TABLETS? ANY COMMENTS ON THIS PLEASE? What do you think?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02561146722461747647 James F. McGrath

    If the stone in question is from the Garden Tomb, who cares? There is no reason to think that tomb was the tomb of Jesus, so it really doesn't matter.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16391774756580677275 Simon

    Your missing the point. There is only one Great stone in the world which is in the gospels and it can be seen at Mount Nebo. Which proves the garden tomb is the tomb of Jesus with out any doubt at all.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02561146722461747647 James F. McGrath

    Without any doubt at all? You are the one that seems to be missing the point – and the apostrophe. The idea that there can only have ever been one large round stone made is ridiculous, as is the notion that the Garden Tomb has a serious claim to be the place of Jesus' burial. If you investigate the history of the site you'll find that it actually had people buried in it when it was discovered. It is only by a deliberate ignoring of the past that it becomes possible to even treat it as possible. But even then, to get from possible to beyond doubt involves being uncritical, and not evidence or even faith.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16391774756580677275 Simon

    Thanks for your comment as it is up to you what you believe.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17001376229242597738 ILAN

    The Books were orginally "discovered " by a Bedouin from Shibli who worked with Hassan Saida. He bought them from a Jordanian Taxi Driver he was friendly with. Later the two Bedouins Paid vast sums of money to Elkington and Feather and the like to get the works authenticated. During this time not one of them tried to hand the works to any authority. On the contrary they obtained an export license under false pretences. ( the books already being in Europe) When a dead end was reached and not willing to hand over more money to the publicity seeking Elkington the Bedouins stopped all contact and hence his own campaign " to do the right thing started" He was NEVER THREATENED! just IGNOREDmany serious far more discreet scholars have seen the works and the real finder and owner is more than happy to supply photos free of charge and to be interviewed.There is NO secret or conspiracyThe books ( and there are not 70!) are made of ancient metal and what is of interest more than content is the fact they ARE ONE OF THE FIRST BOOKS TO BE PRINTED

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02561146722461747647 James F. McGrath

    ILAN, I would be delighted to be sent copies of photos. the more information scholars have, the better the assessment we can make about what these are, what they say, when they were produced, and so on. You can find my e-mail address on my department web page and in other place around the web. Let me know if you have any difficulty locating it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05144555444059516672 Robin Whitlock

    Fake or not, David Elkington is a glory hunter. I know, I worked with him for many years. I would be very suspicious if I were you, and I have to say I am inclined to believe Peter Thornmann's assessment that they are indeed fake.


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