Biblical Archaeology Review 31:5, September/October 2005

Update: Finds or Fakes?

Biblical Archaeology Review

A “forgery hysteria” is consuming archaeological circles in Israel at the moment. The characterization is that of Johns Hopkins professor Kyle McCarter, a leading American paleographer (an expert in ancient scripts). On a recent trip to Israel, I talked to that country’s leading paleographer, Hebrew University’s Joseph Naveh, and to the co-editor of the Israel Exploration Journal (IEJ), Shmuel Ahituv, who teaches at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beer-Sheva. Both agree with McCarter’s characterization. That doesn’t mean that everything that has been questioned is authentic—or that everything that has been declared to be a forgery is a fake. But it does mean that almost everything is the object of suspicion and question—even some objects that have supposedly been professionally excavated. And the rumors circulating about distinguished scholars are nasty.

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