Some of these epigraphic objects are genuine i. It should be safe to presume that because of the presence of modern forgeries on the antiquities market, vigilance and caution would be the modus operandi of specialists and non-specialists within the field. Sometimes, however, credulousness has actually been regnant of late. This suspension of critical judgment has precipitated at least two crises: 1 The dataset of ancient Northwest Semitic has been corrupted with modern forgeries, and 2 the general public has become suspicious about the capacity of the field to produce and convey reliable information.
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Some of these epigraphic objects are genuine i. It should be safe to presume that because of the presence of modern forgeries on the antiquities market, vigilance and caution would be the modus operandi of specialists and non-specialists within the field.
Sometimes, however, credulousness has actually been regnant of late. This suspension of critical judgment has precipitated at least two crises: 1 The dataset of ancient Northwest Semitic has been corrupted with modern forgeries, and 2 the general public has become suspicious about the capacity of the field to produce and convey reliable information. The purpose of this article is to discuss various aspects of the forgery crisis, including some of the assumptions that foster it, and to propose various protocols for the field so as to protect the dataset of Northwest Semitic.
To elucidate this point, it is useful to list some of the primary and secondary sources that would be most useful for a forger with a knowledge of biblical Hebrew attempting to produce an inscription written in Iron Age Hebrew script and language i. All of these sources are widely considered standard in the field and are readily available; therefore, knowledge of, and access to, the proper resources is not an issue and such sources are available for all the Northwest Semitic languages, not just Hebrew.
Forgers also now have available software programs e. None of these necessities is problematic. Because non-provenanced epigraphs often sell for thousands or tens of thousands of dollars, funding is not a major issue; that is, the sale of one forgery could fund the production of several additional forgeries. Moreover, ancient materials of various sorts are readily available to those participating in, or associated with, excavations or those dealing with the market.
In addition, the chemical composition of ancient patinas can be replicated. Forgers have all the tools needed to produce a rather impeccable forgery. Fortunately, of course, forgers often make mistakes and these can be detected , but it is imprudent to assume that this is always the case. The point is that forgers have ample "means. Of course, venality is certainly a component present in the production and sale of forgeries.
Non-provenanced inscriptions routinely sell for four, five, and even six figures. Some recent non-provenanced inscriptions have been valued at seven figures. Some forgeries are arguably the result of sour grapes e. For example, the forger of the Hebron Documents was probably a prankster or a dolt, or both. Moreover, there is a certain amount of prestige associated with being the person who "collects," "vets," or "finds" a significant "ancient epigraph" from the market. Indeed, the public and even scholars within the field can sometimes lionize such people because of "sensational" non-provenanced epigraphs.
For this reason, it is my position that forgers may sometimes produce inscriptions so as to be lauded as the one who "found," "vetted," or "owns" a sensational epigraph. For example, there was arguably a strong religious motivation for the production of the Shapira Fragments and the initial aura surrounding them. Ultimately, forgers are probably motivated by a combination of such factors, and, of course, with each success, hubris is fostered.
The main point is that forgers have substantial "motive. For example, during the late nineteenth century, a Phoenician inscription surfaced purporting to be an account of Sidonians from the region of biblical Ezion-geber, who circled the "land belonging to Ham" i.
Brownlee and Mendenhall considered them ancient, presented them at the Society of Biblical Literature meeting, and argued that they were "Philistine. In fact, he demonstrated that the forger had in essence simply copied large portions of the Siloam Tunnel Inscription, but had done so essentially from left to right, that is "backwards. I concluded that these two ostraca were definitive modern forgeries and the results of my research were presented at annual meetings of the Society of Biblical Literature in and , with the formal publication appearing in Although the first line is not extant, it is readily apparent that the inscription purports to have been commissioned by the late ninth century Judean King Jehoash Joash.
Naveh, McCarter, Cross, and I analyzed this inscription independently and concluded that it was a definite modern forgery. Some scholars, however, concluded that it might indeed be authentic.
The conclusion was readily apparent: it is a definitive modern forgery. I also noted that there are some striking parallels between the Moussaieff Ostraca and the Jehoash Inscription: 1 Moussaieff Ostracon 1 and the Jehoash Inscription both refer to donations to the temple of Yahweh, under the auspices of the monarchy.
Moreover, there is every reason to assume that this will continue to be the case. For a number of reasons, modern forgers have traditionally relied heavily upon provenanced epigraphic and biblical materials. Sometimes this information is damning "Hebron Documents" , but sometimes "Moussaieff Ostraca" this information is more suggestive or even of no absolutely necessary consequence. Also of significance in this connection is the fact that although forgers have been predisposed intentionally to use attested words and phrases, they are sometimes ignorant of the semantic evolution of these words Jehoash Inscription.
Forgers often produce inscriptions with sensational contents e. Forgers are beginning to produce patinas that appear ancient Jehoash Inscription, Moussaieff Ostraca. This fact, combined with the fact that some lab testing of epigraphic materials has reflected incompetence and collusion, has created problems. The point is that even lab tests must be scrutinized, and protocols for lab testing must be put in place. Palaeographic and orthographic anomalies and anachronisms are of fundamental importance, and in my opinion egregious violations of attested ancient orthography and palaeography provide sufficient basis for complete rejection of a non-provenanced epigraph.
Red flags should be noted, and not easily dismissed, even with the"sample size" argument. I would suggest that such materials can sometimes be used, but 1 they must normally be subjected to the most rigorous epigraphic and laboratory analyses in order to determine with substantial reliability that they are ancient, and 2 they should be separated from the provenanced corpus and also flagged as non-provenanced.
Non-Provenanced Epigraphs in Handbooks and Collections: The Principle of Separation First and foremost, it is readily apparent that those discussing a specific non-provenanced epigraph should articulate the fact that the source of such an epigraph was not a controlled archaeological excavation. In the past, scholars have sometimes been remiss in this regard. Ultimately, I would suggest that those discussing an epigraph should clearly refer to the "circumstances of discovery and recent history" in a precise manner so as to avoid causing readers to make erroneous conclusions about the actual or putative origins.
For some time, there has been a tradition of including non-provenanced epigraphs side-by-side with provenanced materials. For example, the fine collection of Northwest Semitic seals, bullae, and jar sealings published by Avigad and Sass contains numerous divisions e.
Therefore, I would argue that at this juncture, for methodological reasons, provenanced and non-provenanced epigraphs should be separated, placed in distinct sections of handbooks and collections, and be given descriptive labels such as "Provenanced Epigraphs" and "Non-Provenanced Epigraphs.
The Principle of "Flagging" Within certain types of works e. Therefore, I would suggest that non-provenanced epigraphs cited in the entry be marked or flagged in some fashion so as to signify their status as non-provenanced. This system will allow the reader to understand immediately that this non-provenanced epigraphic data may need to be weighted differently i. Several potential methods of marking are possible. Nevertheless, scholars sometimes do continue to base certain conclusions about various aspects of antiquity on non-provenanced materials.
For example, Heltzer authored a recent article about property rights of women in ancient Israel, but his article is based predominantly on non-provenanced epigraphic materials, and one of the epigraphs he mines heavily for ancient data is actually a modern forgery. The result will be more accurate constructs of antiquity. The Principle of Categorization Although several caveats and provisos must be present, I would suggest that specialists begin to be more intentional about categorizing non-provenanced inscriptions: although it is not pragmatic to ignore non-provenanced inscriptions, neither is it prudent to assume that all non-provenanced inscriptions are of equal status in terms of possible authenticity.
I would propose the following categories of assessment regarding the antiquity or modernity of an inscription: Modern Forgery Possible Modern Forgery Probable Ancient Ancient Inscriptions that reflect no real aberrations in terms of script, orthography, etc. Inscriptions that reflect serious or egregious problems or deviations from the provenanced corpus are to be considered modern forgeries or probable modern forgeries.
Of course, palaeographers will sometimes differ about the authenticity of an inscription. Regarding this issue, I would note the following: 1 Substantial disagreement of palaeographers in print is not nearly as common as is agreement.
In any case, the views of specialists should be cited, and an assessment of the possible or probable antiquity should be made. Forgers have means, motive, and opportunity; however, epigraphers and palaeographers also have a substantial counter-arsenal. At this juncture, methodological doubt and rigorous protocols are desiderata. Caveat Eruditus.
Christopher A. This article is a much-condensed version of the following detailed articles: Christopher A. Although it is readily apparent that ancient i. For example, discussions of the history, administrative apparatus, and personnel at specific sites require precise data about provenance. Moreover, the fields of dialect geography and palaeography also require reliable data about provenance. The point is that it is indubitable that non-provenanced epigraphs are with rare exceptions compromised, and of diminished significance.
For a lengthy analysis of the limitations of non-provenanced inscriptions and the superiority of provenanced inscriptions, see Christopher A. Hoftijzer and K. Cross, Jr. Waltke and M. For epigraphic Hebrew, see especially S. For the Old Hebrew script, see also Christopher A. Donner and W. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, Avigad, with revisions by B. This is something that I have argued for some time, but Goren, an archaeologist who uses various geological methods, recently demonstrated this conclusively.
See Y. Moses Wilhelm Shapira was of course a Jerusalem antiquities dealer, but he also fancied himself a "scholar" and "archaeologist. Naturally, however, with the exposure of the "Moabite Potteries" often with inscriptions and the "Shapira Fragments" as forgeries, his status plummeted, and he ultimately committed suicide. It is my opinion that Shapira himself forged the "Shapira Fragments. On this point, see P. For discussion of, and bibliographic references for, the forgeries referred to in this paragraph, see especially, Christopher A.
Rollston, "Non-Provenanced Epigraphs I," passim. For an early analysis, see K. Schlottmann, "Die sogenannte Inschrift von Parahyba," ZDMG 28 : , with the plate published on page and reproduced in my article. See W. Brownlee and G. William H. Brownlee and Dr. George E. For the original publication of these ostraca, see P.
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Kanaanäische und aramäische Inschriften 1 ( 5. Auflage)
Tut According to Eric, new insights have already emerged from this ancient text from pioneering work done by the late Dan MacDougald, his colleagues, and men like Bishop Gerrit Crawford. Parts of the manuscript have been rubbed off, smudged or otherwise illegible. At some point around the codex was sent to New York have high-resolution knabouris taken by Eric Rivera working at the Better Light Company, a digital imaging company. Fortunately for the team, the two scan backs are the same basic unit — the same size with the same software. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. An updated version of this course, now called Laws of Living, was co-authored khaboouris Dr.
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Dies um so mehr, als die Texte vielfach verstreut und an entlegenen Orten publiziert worden sind, an die nicht immer leicht heranzukommen ist. Die Steininschriften vom Anfang des 1. Die Neubearbeitung von Ch. Wir bitten, einige drucktechnische Einzelheiten zu beachten. Hinweise zu ihrer Lesung finden sich zumeist im Kommentar. Herr Prof. Unser Dank gilt vor allem Herrn Prof.