You think you’re having a rough week?
On the fourth floor of the Museum of the Bible, a sweeping permanent exhibit tells the story of how the ancient scripture became the world’s most popular book. A warmly lit sanctum at the exhibit’s heart reveals some of the museum’s most prized possessions: fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls, ancient texts that include the oldest known surviving copies of the Hebrew Bible.
But now, the Washington, D.C. museum has confirmed a bitter truth about the fragments’ authenticity. On Friday, independent researchers funded by the Museum of the Bible announced that all 16 of the museum’s Dead Sea Scroll fragments are modern forgeries that duped outside collectors, the museum’s founder, and some of the world’s leading biblical scholars. Officials unveiled the findings at an academic conference hosted by the museum.
Well, you probably are still having a rough week. But so are these people. Oh, but the wickedness of the world! There is apparently quite a market in forging this sort of thing, and quite a few people willing to do what it takes to make a believable fake. And these were good fakes, designed to con Biblical scholars. Read the whole thing: it’s a fascinating story. And one that perhaps teaches us all a lesson on… never mind, what I wrote originally came across as sanctimonious. Which would be very ironic, and rude of me.