12-30-2004, 10:06 PM #1
Israeli dealers accused of antiquity fraud
First, the Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry
Is there any evidence outside the Bible that Jesus ever lived? Yes, there is. We have many non-biblical mentions of Jesus, but none as good and as early as a recent discovery. Up to now, the oldest known reference to Jesus is a fragment of the gospel of John dated at 125 A.D. But, according to an article from Biblical Archaeological Review, a burial box made of limestone and used for holding the bones of the dead has recently been unearthed south of the Mount of Olives and dated from the first century A.D. It may very well be the burial box of James, the brother of Jesus. "An inscription has been found on an ancient bone box, called an ossuary, that reads "Ya'akov bar Yosef akhui di Yoshua," or “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus.”
but now, it looks like the whole thing was a fraud. Wonder if the Christian folks at the "Research Minstry" will own up to the deception?
BTW, this is just the latest of a long string of frauds . . .
Israeli dealers accused of antiquity fraud
By Eric Silver in Jerusalem
30 December 2004
Israeli police yesterday charged four antiquities collectors and dealers on 17 counts of forging some of the most treasured biblical artefacts to have surfaced in recent years.
They included a limestone ossuary box said to have held the bones of James, the brother of Jesus, supposedly the oldest physical link to the New Testament; a tiny ivory pomegranate bought by the Israel Museum for $550,000 (£287,000) as the only known relic of King Solomon's Temple; and a stone tablet, from the ninth century BC, inscribed in ancient Hebrew with instructions by King Joash for maintaining the Temple.
A 27-page indictment submitted to a Jerusalem magistrate after months of under- cover investigation alleged that the men - Oded Golan, Robert Deutsch, Shlomo Cohen and Faiz al-Amaleh - took genuine antiquities, then added false inscriptions to increase their value. They were clever enough to fool some of the world's most respected experts.
Mr Golan, a leading Israeli collector, owned the "James ossuary", inscribed "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus," and the "Joash tablet". Detectives said they found a sophisticated laboratory in his home. The men are accused of painting the "improved" items with a special coating to imitate the patina that would accumulate over thousands of years.
The ivory pomegranate is now thought to be much older than originally believed. The Israel Museum, a public body, paid the money into a numbered Swiss bank account in the 1980s and showed the exquisitely carved ivory, under spotlight and magnifying glass, as one of its most cherished possessions. It has been removed from display. Archaeologists are still trying to work out what it is, pierced as if it fitted on to a priestly sceptre.
Prosecutors said the ring had been operating for 23 years. They added: "These items, many of them of great scientific, religious, sentimental, political and economic value, were created specifically with intent to defraud." Gil Kleiman, a police spokesman, added: "This was an attempt to change the history of the Jewish and Christian people."
Shuka Dorfman, director of the Israel Antiquities Authority, said yesterday: "We only discovered the tip of the iceberg. This spans the globe. It generated millions of dollars."
Mr Golan denied the charges, accusing the archaeological establishment of spreading lies and rumours to destroy the local antiquities trade. "There is not one grain of truth in the fantastic allegations against me," he said in a statement. He said he believed he would be acquitted.
Israel jealously guards its ancient heritage. The state has first claim on any finds and it is illegal to sell or export antiquities without the Antiquities Authority's permission, but smuggling is widespread.
One of the law's most notorious violators was the late Moshe Dayan, an enthusiastic amateur who used his position as defence minister to acquire objects uncovered in the occupied territories. The Israeli Museum paid his widow $1m for part of his private collection after his death.
The antiquities trade in the Holy Land can be murky. "It's a free-for-all market and there is no control over something that doesn't come from a proper excavation, photographed and documented," Mr Dorfman said. Experts might have made honest mistakes, he added. "But I am not certain that this was always done unknowingly, to give a stamp of approval to enable a sale."
01-01-2005, 01:16 PM #2
. . . and more . . .
Forgers 'tried to rewrite biblical history'
Conal Urquhart in Jerusalem
Friday December 31, 2004
Scam jar... an 8th century BC jar with forged scripts. Photo: Oded
Hundreds of biblical artefacts in museums all over the world could be
fakes, it has emerged after Israeli investigators uncovered what they
claim is a sophisticated forgery ring.
Four men have been charged with the faking of some of the most
important biblical discoveries in recent years.
The artefacts in question include an ossuary which was believed to
contain the bones of James, the brother of Jesus, and a tablet with a
written inscription by a Jewish king in the ninth century before
The indictment against the men in Jerusalem says: "During the last 20
years many archaeological items were sold, or an attempt was made to
sell them, in Israel and in the world, that were not actually
antiques. These items, many of them of great scientific, religious,
sentimental, political and economic value, were created specifically
with intent to defraud."
The forgers not only conned buyers out of of millions of dollars, said
officials of the Israel Antiquities Authority, but also damaged the
science of archaeology, casting doubt on the authenticity of every
artefact not uncovered in an authorised dig.
Doubts about the artefacts emerged after Israeli police began to hear
rumours of an Egyptian craftsman living in Israel who would boast of
his part in the forgeries while drinking in Tel Aviv. Detectives
launched an investigation two years ago which rapidly became a global
The indictment lists 124 witnesses, including antiquities collectors,
archaeologists, officials from Sotheby's auction house and
representatives of the British Museum and the Brooklyn Museum.
The forgers were accused of using an authentic artefact and then
adding an inscription. They would then add a coating to emulate the
grime that accumulated over centuries.
The fakes fooled experts for years and the virtually worthless
artefacts were grossly multiplied in value.
The four men indicted are a Tel Aviv collector, Oded Golan, owner of
the James ossuary and the Yoash tablet; Robert Deutsch, an
inscriptions expert who teaches at Haifa University; Shlomo Cohen, a
collector, and Faiz al-Amaleh, an antiquities dealer.
Mr Golan said in a statement on Wednesday that "there is not one grain
of truth in the fantastic allegations related to me", and that the
investigation was aimed at "destroying collecting and trade in
antiquities in Israel". Mr Deutsch dismissed the indictment as
Shuka Dorfman, head of the Israel Antiquities Authority, said the
forgery ring had been operating for more than 20 years and had been
"trying to change history". Scholars said the forgers were exploiting
the deep emotional need of Jews and Christians to find physical
evidence to reinforce their faith.
"This does not discredit the profession. It discredits unscrupulous
dealers and collectors," said Eric Myers, an archaeology professor at
Duke University in North Carolina.
Other forgeries included an ivory pomegranate which scholars believed
was the only remaining artefact from King Solomon's Temple. The James
ossuary, with the inscription "James, son of Joseph, brother of
Jesus", was thought to be the only physical link in existence today to
the life of Jesus 2000 years ago.
Shaul Naim, of the Israeli police, said: "We have reason to believe
that many more forged antiquities which we haven't uncovered yet are
being held by private collectors in Israel and abroad, and in museums
in Israel and abroad."
Shimon Gibson, an Israeli archaeologist, said museums should review
items of questionable origin. "Now it looks like we are going to have
to go backward and double-check all our facts to make sure that what
we thought was real really is."
01-04-2005, 07:21 PM #3
01-04-2005, 09:02 PM #4AR-Hall of Famer / Retired
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Nah - thats why people shouldnt base their faith on things that can be changed
01-04-2005, 09:04 PM #5Originally Posted by CYCLEON
01-04-2005, 09:06 PM #6AR-Hall of Famer / Retired
Originally Posted by Tock
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01-05-2005, 12:22 PM #7Originally Posted by CYCLEON
. . . and how should anyone get their information about the nature of this deity(s)?
01-05-2005, 12:45 PM #8
Tock that's the great unanswered question......the one you hate the most. Not flaming you.
01-05-2005, 02:15 PM #9
I've been flamed by the best, flamed by the worst. Was flamed once, by name, by a preacher on the radio one time (actually, it was a rant that lasted a whole week). Debated an Air Force Colonel on another radio program once (referred to him as a "Bible Thumper" which for some reason provoked his ire, lol). Pretty much, I keep my asbestos suit on 24/7 . . . helps to keep my blood pressure down . . .
One thing that always piques my curiosity, though, is an unanswered question, particularly when it's an unanswered question that's unanswered because people are actively avoiding the subject. Ya, I'm drawn to such things like moths to flames . . .
01-05-2005, 02:21 PM #10
Tock, you crack me up! Quite an impressive flame resume'. I agree an unanswered question drives me nuts, especially "the meaning of life". It made me swim in circles for years until I figured out the answer.
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