The Dead Sea scrolls are among the most coveted and significant discoveries in recent history. Shepherds discovered the collection of Jewish religious manuscripts in the Judaean Desert’s Qumran Caves. It’s a relatively recent discovery, within the past hundred years. The Museum of the Bible in Washington D.C. has been displaying an unprecedented collection of 16 fragments from the Dead Sea Scrolls, but this week they revealed that those fragments are all modern forgeries (via National Geographic).
This isn’t the first time others have disputed the organization’s collection. CNN questioned the collection in the lead up to the multi-million dollar evangelical museum’s 2017 opening. In fact, this isn’t even the first fraud issue at the Museum of the Bible. In 2018 the museum revealed the fake status of five famed artifacts. Five! This week though, they’ve announced the mistake they made with all of the Dead Sea Scrolls fragments in their position.
In a statement, the leader of the investigation, Colette Loll, the director of Art Fraud Insights stated: “After an exhaustive review of all the imaging and scientific analysis results, it is evident that none of the textual fragments in Museum of the Bible’s Dead Sea Scroll collection are authentic. Moreover, each exhibits characteristics that suggest they are deliberate forgeries created in the twentieth century with the intent to mimic authentic Dead Sea Scroll fragments.”
This is a huge blow for the Museum of the Bible and its owner, Steve Green. Incidentally, he also owns Hobby Lobby. That company’s founders are noted for their extreme right-wing views and donations, as well as the fact that they had to pay a $3 million fine to the US government in 2017 after they purchased thousands of stolen and smuggled artifacts out of Iraq. Sounds like a case for Benjamin Franklin Gates to us, and luckily National Treasure 3 is apparently in the works.
If you want to know more about this unbelievable scam, read the museum’s 200 page report.
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