The Fake Jordan Lead Codices

It is distressing to see people blogging and “news” outlets reporting once again about the lead codices from Jordan as though they might conceivably be authentic ancient artifacts. It has been shown that they take text and images from known artifacts and reproduce them over and over again in an attempt to produce something that aims to give a false impression of antiquity, and significance, but making their authenticity less likely rather than more after closer inspection.

That the lead is ancient is as irrelevant as that the papyrus on which the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife is ancient. Modern forgers recycle ancient materials for precisely this purpose, to have the objects date as ancient. And so that is no longer something that provides a basis for the dating of what is written on a particular ossuary, papyrus, or piece of lead.

For the very latest on this, see Jim Davila’s blog post. For more information – available online for the past five years – see the pages, posts, and articles by Steve Caruso, Dan McClellan, David Meadows, Michael Heiser, Tom Verenna, and Jim West.

Dare I hope that Ariel Sabar might do for these objects what he did for the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife?

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  • SP Laurie

    I have also blogged about the Daily Mail article on (Don’t take the title of the blog post literally!)

    • James F. McGrath

      Thanks for sharing this!

  • Phil Hare

    I’m afraid the reuse of materials argument may not hold up in this case. I suggest you look further into the methodology used for dating the lead, to whit the surface crystallisation.

    • James F. McGrath

      Well, if it turned out that someone in ancient times took bits of text and imagery from other sources and hammered it into lead, rather than more recently, that still would not make these significant, meaningful artifacts. It would make them ancient forgeries instead of modern ones, and that would not be at all surprising. We find the same thing in the realm of magic bowls. Some have pseudoscript – someone made them look like authentic magic bowls, presumably to sell them to people who didn’t know any better.

      • Phil Hare

        I’m coming to this cold and as a layperson, so please forgive any naivety on my part. I am interested, however. You mention in your post that the codices are collections of writings or images from other artifacts. Could you possibly give me a pointer as to what those other artifacts are? Cheers.

        • James F. McGrath

          That is what the links to the blog posts and articles from five years ago provide. See especially Steve Caruso’s:

          • Phil Hare

            Thank you!

  • Michael Clarke

    Clearly not forgeries:-

    People are so cynical these days……