Of course, the codices are forgeries and there’s nothing intelligible on them at all, but the Lead Codices page on Facebook is making the claim that translators are furiously working to establish the proper “context” in order to “get it right.” They’ve offered the following translation as a teaser:
Now keep in mind the person putatively responsible for translation is a professor emeritus at a “leading university,” and is, according to Elkington (see here), one of four or five people in the world who can read paleo-Hebrew. Here is the text being referenced (between the wreath and the menorah – and it does not quote Prov 10:9):
This text under this menorah appears several times in the codices. The admin of the Jordan Codices Facebook page (whom I believe to be Elkington himself) is insisting the text above reads as follows:
Now, before my comments were all deleted from the Facebook page (see them all here), I repeated the transliteration of this text as “elek batom,” and the Jordan Codices admin corrected me, explaining that it was specifically Elek ba tom, “not batom”:
This isn’t good Hebrew, though. “Ba Tom” uses as the preposition what’s called an inseparable prefix, namely the letter beth (ב). In order to mean “in uprightness/perfection” it cannot be separated from the word (hence, “inseparable” prefix).
This reading understands the following letter as an aleph:
This letter appears all over the codices, though, facing both directions and in many different styles, and it shares the most consistent similarities with an archaic style of yod (see Steve Caruso’s analysis of the script here and his chart here). There are very few styles of aleph that at all resemble this letter in either direction.
The next letter appears to be a reversed lamed, which agrees with the Lead Codices admin’s transcription. The following is asserted to be a kaph, but again, the style is much more consistently aligned with another letter, namely waw/vav:
The next letter also is problematic. The admin for the Facebook group says it is a beth, but it bears striking resemblance to the mem on the end of the text, and is therefore more likely a nun (which is only a slight modification on the mem):
Again, the form of the letter does not correspond with the reading. The top loop of the beth is always closed. Taken together, in order to assert the Facebook admin’s reading, we would have to posit some of the most rare forms of these letters, gathered from disparate places and times (there is no single script where each of these forms appears). If we did accept the identification of these graphemes, then we would expect other texts to be intelligible where their current identifications render them unintelligible. This is not the case, though. For instance, the top three lines of text on the following image are no further clarified (the portions that are legible, anyway):
It reads as follows with the Facebook admin’s reading:
. . . לגלשאגתלאלגלגבשאגתל . . .
. . . מבתבלאגתלגשבתבלאגתבב . . .
. . . מסרשאלגבבמסרשאלגת . . .
A small collection of letters are simply being nonsensically repeated (with the occasional accidental word appearing). It is difficult to make out in the photo above because of the blurring, but the first roughly half of the bottom three lines are repeated in exactly the same shape and orientation in the second half of the text. Whatever mold or die was used to create the first half of each of the three lines was simply used again for the second half. Philip Davies’ recent PEQ editorial, available for free here, mentions this repetition and calls the lettering “mostly purely decorative.” This rather conflicts with Elkington’s claim to have the world’s top paleo-Hebrew mind reaching a breakthrough in translation (unless, of course, Elkington doesn’t think Davies is one of the five who can read it!). Davies, who tries to avoid coming down too definitively in one direction or another, also states the following:
One respected academic colleague has identified the words ‘lk btm (‘I will walk uprightly’). Though I personally have been unable to verify this reading, that may yet confirmed by others.
The same style and limited pattern of letters appears in the text on the left side of this codex:
It would appear to read (following Elkington’s reading):
. . . שאגתל
. . . בלאג
. . . שא
. . . אגל
. . . אגתל
. . . לאגת
. . . שאלג
. . . גלגב
. . . בל
. . . אש
. . . גג
Or something close to this. Again, a very limited set of graphemes are just being repeated over and over. The possibility of fudging an actual sentence into this text does not serve to alleviate the problems with the rest of the texts. They’re simply gibberish, and David Elkington is spreading lies by insisting there are only a few people on the planet capable of understanding the text. It bears repeating that the stylized palm tree on the plate above is absolutely identical to the same tree on the copper codex exposed as a crude forgery by Peter Thonemann.
In conclusion, I disagree with the reading offered by the admin of the Lead Codices Facebook page and I would venture to guess that there is no eminent professor emeritus behind it. It makes much more sense to me that someone forged the codices (which has already been established for several codices) and just indiscriminately copied down a bunch of letters. Someone else came by and with a rudimentary grasp of Hebrew and a lexicon was able to squint hard enough to make sense out of a portion of it. I believe the Facebook page and the idea that an announcement is imminent from the Jordanian government are attempts to drum up hype so that Elkington’s book can sell more copies whenever it actually manages to hit stores. Unfortunately, as Jim West has pointed out, by promulgating this story, even to falsify Elkington’s claims, we do him a favor. I think, however, it’s more important to expose this hoax than to try to prevent a profit from being made. I’m prepared to be wrong about this, but up to this point I’ve not seen any indication that such is the case.
For all the known photos that have been put online, see here.