Biblical Archaeology Review 32:1, January/February 2006

First Person: Probing for “Why?”

The arguments on which the forgery accusations rely are about to fall apart.

By Hershel Shanks

I devote this column to answering (or attempting to answer) a reader’s query. Writes Pamela Levene of Moshav Tal Shachar, Israel:

I have followed with avid interest your debate about the inscribed ivory pomegranate and whether it is a forgery. You will appreciate that I very much want the doubters to be proved wrong. However, I find myself puzzling over certain questions that I would appreciate your response to.

Why would the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) be so keen to prove the inscription a fake? Purely on a practical level, this would be tantamount to admitting that they were swindled out of an enormous sum of money. As the generosity of donors is what keeps our museums going, this would hardly be seen as encouraging future donors.

Second, on an emotional level, this pomegranate has such immense importance for so many—when the doubters are constantly trying to deny the existence of the kingdom of David and Solomon. Again why would the IAA prefer to call it a fake?

Third, even allowing for the fact that your nemesis Yuval Goren has certainly assured that his name will be known to posterity, would he really choose to be known as the man who crushed the hopes and dreams of so many if he had any doubts about the matter?

I truly hope you can prove your case. Sadly, I am afraid that you cannot.

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