Tag Archives: Hoax

Claire Palmer on the Lead Codices and “Intellectual Fraud”

Claire Palmer, an associate of David Elkington, recently published a post on the International Times blog that directly accuses several bloggers (including me) of slander and misconduct, characterizing our treatment of the Lead Codices issue as “The Great Intellectual Fraud of our Time.” A few very selective quotes are shared along with damning interpretations of their motivation and significance. Of interest to me is the initial response Claire posted from Dr. Christopher Tuttle, associate director of ASOR, after the Elkingtons evidently formally complained about their treatment at our hands:

Please feel free to send me a list enumerating the incidents of slander, misrepresentation, and plagiarism on the ASOR blogsites — evidence required, not just allegations. I would be happy to inquire of the ASOR media officers about such instances in an attempt to rectify them if they are substantiated. … I do not approve of any instances of slander, misrepresentation, or plagiarism

Claire gives no additional details about this complaint, except to point out that “nothing was done about the uncommon behaviour demonstrated as ‘academic’ debate.” Evidently ASOR found no evidence to support the accusations. The tone then grows ominous:

What is scary is that these ‘Bibliobloggers’ are now a recognized entity within one of the most powerful organizations in academe – the Society of Biblical Literature.

Getting a section in the SBL means we’re organized, powerful, and corrupt, and all because we’re trying to protect our theology or our careers or the status quo or whatever. She concludes:

Two thousand years (and more) of patriarchal oppression and control are starting to crack under the momentous, unstoppable truth movement currently gaining rapid pace on this planet. The deceit, lies and veils of disinformation are starting to fall and reveal real truth and wisdom which they have tried, with the most destructive and deceptive forces possible, be it bombs or blogs, to suppress.

“. . . truth and wisdom which they have tried, with the most destructive and deceptive forces possible, be it bombs or blogs, to suppress.” Well, that’s an unfair analogy if I’ve ever heard one.


David Elkington Exposes His Fraud Once Again

David Elkington recently posted a couple photos to the Jordan Codices Facebook page, along with an explanation of the differences between the script found on the Jordan Codices and the Aramaic script, which has sporadically been suggested as one of the various scripts found on the codices. Before posting the photos, a little background:

Several months ago Elkington rejected the notion that Aramaic was on the codices, insisting instead that the codices contained paleo-Hebrew. In a radio interview (see my analysis, with link to the interview, here), he said the following:

A lot of people have said, “Oh, I’ve seen these things on the web, the, uh, language is–is–is–it’s gibberish; it–it makes no sense. It’s a very odd form of Aramaic.” Well, um, actually the news is this: it isn’t Aramaic. The script is a square script, which means it’s Hebrew, and the form of Hebrew that it is, is called paleo-Hebrew, which is very, very ancient indeed, and there are only four or five people in the world who are familiar with it. And we’re working with one of those, uh, professors at the moment, who thinks he’s on the edge of a breakthrough with the language.

Now, as I pointed out in the post linked to above, the entirety of Elkington’s claim is simply untrue. Paleo-Hebrew is simply not a “square script.” The “square script” is the Aramaic script borrowed into the Hebrew language. The script labelled the “square script” is so labelled precisely to distinguish it from the earlier scripts, like the paleo-Hebrew. I challenged Elkington on this live during a subsequent radio interview (starting at 1:57:05 mark here), and after suggesting I needed to return to my textbooks, he attempted to massage the facts a bit the next day with the following post on his Facebook page:

Following his Coast to Coast broadcast, David Elkington did not have the chance to finish addressing the final questioner due to time constraints. He would just like to clarify that the questioner was correct in one point: paleo-Hebrew was initially not a square script. In the 800 years before Christ, Hebrew was a language very much in development coming as it did from an obscure proto-language called Western Sinaitic. However, by the 1st century BC the Hasmonean form of paleo-Hebrew had indeed been made to fit in with the uniform requirements with the Hebrew of the day, thus it was reasonably square. David would like to send his best wishes to the questioner and his thanks for raising this important point.

In other words, Elkington was trying to blur the boundaries of the two categories and suggest “square script” was just a description rather than a technical designation. In other words, he doesn’t mean the “Square Script,” which is what everyone else means, he just means a script that looks kinda squarish. I explain why his damage control is completely false in this blog post. The largest error through all of this is Elkington’s continued conflation of language and script. I am writing in the English language, but I am using the Roman or Latin script. I can also write in the Spanish language with the exact same script. Observe, and forgive my rusty Spanish:

Esto es un ejemplo de un texto espanol escrito en caracteres latinos. Usualmente se utilizan algunos otros caracteres que no pertenecen a la lengua ingles, pero no es necesario para esta ilustracion.

Note, the language is Spanish, but the script is Roman. Elkington consistently confuses the paleo-Hebrew script with a paleo-Hebrew language, which doesn’t exist. The paleo-Hebrew script  comprises only the actual letters used to write in pretty standard Hebrew from the time period. When Elkington insists only a handful of people are familiar with the paleo-Hebrew “language,” he’s simply lying in an effort to poison the well against those who know better. If you can read the Hebrew of the turn of the era in any script—and many, many people can—learning paleo-Hebrew is as simple as memorizing script labelled “Middle” in the chart found below. It’s not difficult, and the notion that only a handful of people can understand it is simply untrue.

On to Elkington’s recent comments. Here are the photos and his explanation:

 

Outsiders have approached the Team to inform them that the language on the codices is either wholly or in part Aramaic, a Syriac language still used to this day in southern and central Syria. Aramaic was the language of Jesus. (For those who would like to hear an example of spoken Aramaic, please note that Mel Gibson’s film The Passion of Christ utilized this very form.) The Team has consulted various eminent experts and can inform the public that there is no Aramaic upon the lead codices as far as we can tell at this time: the language is Paleo-Hebrew. What is curious about this is that Paleo-Hebrew was defunct by the time of the 1st century. Its use therefore by the early Hebrew-Christian communities would seem to indicate a number of factors: one of them being ritualistic and the other being that Paleo-Hebrew dates back to the time of the kings (David, Solomon and so on). Therefore a conclusion could be made that in using this language in the 1st century (rather like the use of Latin for ceremonial reasons today) reference is being made to the restoration of the royal cult and its close connection to the older theology of Israel: all of this before the Deuteronomic reformations of the 7th century BC and on. As one can see from the images, the two languages appear very distinct and are indeed related; however, Paleo-Hebrew in terms of its use is much more square than Aramaic, which in its cursive form is not square.

Now, the first error in this paragraph is the notion that Aramaic is a constituent of the Syriac language. This is backwards. Syriac is a constituent of the Aramaic languages. It is a dialect of Aramaic. Next, the modern Syriac language is neither confined to, nor mostly concentrated in, Syria. Continuing, paleo-Hebrew was used not infrequently in the Dead Sea Scrolls and elsewhere, and does not indicate restoration or any kind of connection to an “older theology.” It has nothing to do, as far as I know, with any Hebrew-Christian communities. It’s just an archaizing script meant to indicate antiquity and thus particular authority or sacrality. The Tetragrammaton, for instance, is written in paleo-Hebrew in some Dead Sea Scroll texts otherwise composed in the square Aramaic script. Finally, the script Elkington illustrates and points to as quite different from the script of the codices is not an Aramaic script, it’s a Syriac script, and particularly the Estrangelo script. Estrangelo is not a “cursive form” of Aramaic, nor are any other Syriac scripts. It is its own script used primarily for the Syriac language. No one, to my knowledge, has ever suggested that the script on the codices is Syriac. Elkington’s claim is a strawman. Steve Caruso’s chart here is the best illustration of what kind of scripts may appear on the codices, as well as the eclectic and amateur nature of the hand:

In sum, Elkington’s comments demonstrably do not come from someone at all informed in Semitic epigraphy. They come directly from Elkington himself. All his claims do. He tries to prop them up with comments from a group of scholars represented entirely and exclusively by Elkington, but he has yet to make a single statement relative to the nature or function of Aramaic or Hebrew that has not been demonstrably false. His group of scholars appears to be a figment of his imagination, concocted only to imbue his claims with an air of authority.


Lead Codices Update

Not too surprising, but David Elkington has popped up again on Facebook to briefly attempt to stoke the fires of interest in his codices. He posted a series of articles about political unrest in Jordan. Someone asked how the situation would affect the codices and he responded with this:

The Team is indeed concerned by the series of delays that have prevented a formal announcement thus far, due to political turmoil within Jordan and the Middle East; however, we would like to reassure our supporters that there has been considerable work on behalf of the codices behind the scenes that understandably must remain confidential for the moment. Some of the codices are currently undergoing a further series of sophisticated and detailed tests, the results of which will be announced in due course. In the meantime, we will continue to keep our followers informed on any new developments.


In Response to David Elkington

On his Facebook page, which he continues to pretend he does not author, David Elkington has responded directly to the comments I posted the other day in response to his radio interview and subsequent clarification regarding my concern. Someone found my blog and thought my concerns merited sharing on the Facebook page, so they posted them. Here are David’s comments in full:

Dear Daniel, The question you have raised has already been responded to by David both on the show and posted on this site (before the Dr. Barker posting). It is the academic and linguistic assessment of the Jordan Codices team (including expert Jordanian epigraphers). This is very much a work in progress and more will be revealed in the coming months, but we would be very interested to know who has performed this ‘analysis’ particularly in view of the fact that very few people have had physical access to the Codices as well as all of the images of the large collection of artefacts. One of the world’s foremost professors was also challenged on this point and he was very firm on his view. As for a ‘mish mash’, this simply proves the point that the caller does not know what he is talking about, as our professor can read the codices like a newspaper and much has been translated already. As has already been mentioned, paleo-Hebrew came out of the Sinaitic languages, both proto and western. What question must be asked is why it was used in this form in the first century period – not that this is an attempt at ‘archaizing’ something that is supposedly gibberish to a non-expert eye? The answer to this question resides in the very form the Codices take and in this sense there are certain elements shared with the Dead Sea Scrolls. In this the use of language is specific and offers us a further clue – a reference is being made to the language that emerged from Sinai in the second millennium BC however, it is contemporary in form to the languages used in Jesus’ day: the question to be asked is why it is being used in this form? It is all very well to offer up a google search but the answers to these important questions will only be found in obscure academic journals, not on amateur blog sites, which might be good for initial research but not for the more specific and rarer elements needed for detailed answers to historical and linguistic enigmas. The caller claims not to know of Western Sinaitic, therefore we can recommend him to the Palestine Exploration Quarterly – an excellent journal on this very specific question. We will find him a good reference in due course, as his passion for the subject is to be encouraged. More evidence and analysis will be revealed shortly, though Dr Barker’s work offers a good insight into this. The caller makes some good points; however, he is going around the essential points of ‘why’ and ‘how’ instead of ‘where’ and ‘when’ – as he well knows first century Judea was a mish mash of different opinions, languages and Judaisms. And here it is interesting that he has taken a brief posting and confused it in such a way as to create an argument from out of nothing. In essence these are opinions and naturally he is welcome to them, but as stated on the radio show by David, the caller in this instance will be going against the grain of the world’s leading experts on this particular issue. Bon Courage!

I would first note that David continues with his condescending tone. He refuses to acknowledge that I’m well aware of what I’m talking about, but prefers to presume to speak down to me. This is obviously for the sake of appearance. He can’t have his readers believing that he’s been shaken, when anyone with even a modicum of training cannot possibly be fooled by the ruse. I find this to be the second surest sign that these leading experts don’t exist outside of David’s mind. The surest sign is the fact that nothing he says at all aligns with the relevant scholarship.

Now, David did not respond to my concerns from the show or the subsequent post. On the show he just insisted that I was wrong because the greatest scholars ever said it was the square script and it was paleo-Hebrew, and thus I need to return to the textbooks. When he commented on Facebook, he tried to make the argument  that paleo-Hebrew had by the first century CE developed qualities that turned it into the square script, which is demonstrably false. David has not responded in a substantive manner to either of my concerns; he has simply dodged them and hidden behind the invented experts.

If David and his cohorts are not aware of the analyses that have been performed, then they can search my blog, as well as those of Thomas VerennaSteve Caruso, and others. There are numerous analyses out there that show conclusively that the codices are modern forgeries. We do not need physical access to the codices to be able to read the texts that are visible in the photos. I’ve gathered a rather large collection of those photos, and many of them have visible text on them. Elkington has tried to hedge his bets by insisting some of the codices out there are fake, but of those that have text on them, not a one has a single authentic text. They are all utter gibberish, and between the orthography, the iconography, and the other designs on the codices, they can pretty much all be connected to each other. They were all produced by the same group, if not the same person. The most damning evidence is the fact that the small credit card-sized codex that Elkington showed off on his BBC interview (which he has claimed is genuine) is easily analyzed (see the photo below) and is absolute gibberish, just like the others. His explanation of the item as an identification card of sorts is completely fabricated. In fact, the text comprises the meaningless repetition of a series of letters carved into a stamp and then twice impressed into whatever mold was used to create the codex. Following is the codex and Steve Caruso’s helpful charting of the repetitions:

Several things can be noted about this text. First, the text is absolutely and utterly meaningless. It is a meaningless jumble of a limited number of letters, and the stamp that made this pattern is used on multiple other codices, as Steve Caruso was so kind to point out:

It should also be pointed out that the date palm iconography and the other patterns on several of these plates are absolutely identical to the iconography of the copper codices that were shown conclusively to be modern forgeries by Peter Thonemann (see here and here, and here for good measure). They all came from the same forger. Additionally, ever since Thonemann’s analysis has been widely regarded as perfectly accurate, Elkington has claimed he was suspicious of the copper codices to begin with (initially he accused Thonemann of being the wrong kind of expert). You wouldn’t know that from reading his email or his initial responses to Thonemann, though, and he continues to attempt to pawn off their brothers and sisters as genuine. Two conclusions are possible. First, these are all fake and Elkington knew it. Second, these are all fake and Elkington did not know it, but does now. Whichever conclusion you draw, Elkington very obviously knows he is dealing with fake codices, and his “experts” are very obviously not real. There is not an epigraphist or Hebraist alive that would insist these are genuine.

Next, the script is neither paleo-Hebrew nor the square script. Now, some of the letters do appear closely related to the script from the Bar Kokhba coins. For instance, the shin, mem, aleph, and lamed on the following coin appears similar to those of the codices:

There are problems with this, though. The text on the codices is still distinct enough that the scrips cannot be linked. The closest match is the shin, but that’s a simple enough shape to not provide much evidence. The mem is similar, but the superior strokes are much larger on the codices than on the coins. The biggest difference between the letters that do seem similar is found in the aleph and lamed, which are reversed on the codices, a bizarre idiosyncrasy of the codices script (see here). Additionally, the inferior strokes on both letters have exaggerated curvatures that are not characteristic of paleo-Hebrew. One of the main reasons the scripts cannot be identified, however, is the complete absence of several of the Bar Kokhba letters from the codices. The script of the codices is limited to about a dozen characters (far too few for a coherent text). The vav is common on these coins, but it appears nowhere on the codices. The he and the het are also common, but they only appear once on the codices, and that’s in a sequence of letters clearly ripped out of context from another text:

Those are the only real legitimate “Hasmonean paleo-Hebrew” letters in all of the codices, and they’re clearly ripped from another text. They do not at all fit into the context of the code on which they appear. To continue, a completely different style of vav is found on the codices, although in the one reading that Elkington offered from the codices, he identifies the vav as a kaph, which it’s very clearly not (see my discussion here).

These analyses are quite conclusive, and do not require physical access to the codices. If Elkington intends to insist the codices discussed above are really fake ones, then we haven’t seen any of the genuine ones, and he needs to give the public some kind of indication that he has anything at all that is actually genuine. To briefly conclude this section of my response: there is not a single codex that has been revealed publicly that shows indications of anything other than modern forgery. If Elkington has authentic codices, he’s never shown them anywhere.

Regarding Elkington’s claim that his professor has been very firm and is so erudite he can read these texts like a newspaper, one need only point out that he is leaning on the authority of anonymous figures he has repeatedly refused to identify for reasons that have nothing to do with standard academic decorum. That can hardly serve as a legitimate response, and it would be no different if I simply said that I am in touch with an authority who knows far more than any of Elkington’s authorities, and she has confirmed that there is not a single word of actual Hebrew anywhere on any of the codices. You don’t need a leading authority to acknowledge the absence of anything even remotely resembling an actual text, here. That is just a fallacious appeal to authority meant to convince a lay audience that those who are criticizing the codices just aren’t informed enough.

Next Elkington states, “As has already been mentioned, paleo-Hebrew came out of the Sinaitic languages, both proto and western.” This is false, though. There are not two scripts, much less languages, in the background here. Also, Elkington has never before mentioned proto-Sinaitic. He only claimed that “Western Sinaitic” was a “proto-language”:

The most egregious error here is his confusion of the proto-Sinaitic script with an actual language. I stated in a recent comment to an interested party that every time Elkington claims to pass on conclusions from his experts, they turn out to be completely riddled with amateurish logical and factual errors. This is one of them. We’re talking about scripts, not about languages. A commenter from Israel stated the same earlier today. No expert, and certainly not the world’s leading experts, would confuse the two. We’re dealing with scripts, which are comparatively basic. This is one of the more ridiculous aspects of his claim that paleo-Hebrew is only understood by four or five people. It’s simply a matter of memorizing less than 30 graphemes. Any idiot can learn the paleo-Hebrew script, and only a decent grasp of Biblical Hebrew and Aramaic is needed to work through a text putatively written in the first century CE in paleo-Hebrew. Next, Elkington obviously retreated to Google to try to figure out what to say, which is why he came back with the suddenly accurate notion of a proto-Sinaitic script (although he called it a language). He previously only referenced “Western Sinaitic,” which he called a “proto-language.” The story changes with every opportunity Elkington has to check up on his comments on the internet.

Next Elkington confuses Old Hebrew with paleo-Hebrew in his attempt to speak down to me about my assessment. He states, “a reference is being made to the language that emerged from Sinai in the second millennium BC however, it is contemporary in form to the languages used in Jesus’ day.” No, it’s not. The paleo-Hebrew of the turn of the era is vastly different from the Old Hebrew of the second millennium BCE. The former is an archaizing script. It is intended to look really old in a time period when a different script had become commonplace. It would be like me using “ʃ”today  in place of “s,” only using a slightly different version of it.

Next, we find more condescension in his attempt to flippantly dismiss my claims:

the answers to these important questions will only be found in obscure academic journals, not on amateur blog sites, which might be good for initial research but not for the more specific and rarer elements needed for detailed answers to historical and linguistic enigmas. The caller claims not to know of Western Sinaitic, therefore we can recommend him to the Palestine Exploration Quarterly – an excellent journal on this very specific question.

Notice the warning to the lay audience: the answers are in obscure places to which you don’t have access, so you have to listen to me. Don’t listen to “amateur blog sites.” Note that the “amateur blog sites” that have commented critically are managed by a Harvard-trained scholar of Second Temple Judaism and Old Testament pseudepigrapha, a UCLA-trained archaeologist of Second Temple Judaism, an Oxford-trained professor of New Testament, a Durham-trained professor of New Testamentand many other professionals and students (including me).

Next, PEQ is hardly an obscure academic journal, but the journal in general does not deal unilaterally with “this very specific question” (“Western Sinaitic” as a language?). It deals with Syro-Palestinian archaeology in general. Such a broad reference is hardly helpful. It seems an evasive attempt to allay suspicion and nothing more. Additionally, I have direct access to the last ten years of the journal, and I find no occurrence of the phrase “Western Sinaitic” in any article. I also performed a search of the journal’s entire history on another database and found no occurrences of the phrase. Perhaps instead of speaking in broad generalities, Mr. Elkington can point me directly to an article wherein “Western Sinaitic” is discussed as a language. He says he will find me a reference “in due course,” but why the delay? Now, I would not be particularly surprised to see someone using the phrase “Western Sinaitic” 75 years ago (although I’ve been unable to locate such a usage), but it certainly never became a standard designation, which would only further corroborate, in my mind, that much of this information is being drawn from an uninformed perusal of the internet, and not from actual experts who are aware of the modern academic vernacular. Mr. Elkington is certainly welcome to prove me wrong.

Elkington concludes with some confusing statements about ideological pluriformity in first century Judaism, or something along those lines, and then insists I am confused and am going against the world’s leading experts. I don’t believe I am, but as I just said, Elkington is more than welcome to prove me wrong. He can name one or two of these experts. He can have them email me (my email address is on the About Me page). He can produce a discussion of the script that is not riddled with uninformed misunderstandings. He can do any of these things to prove me wrong. I think he will do none of them. He will only continue to try to drum up excitement prior to the publication of his book. This is offensive to me as an academic and a consumer, and because I know there are lots of people out there who feel very strongly about this and are having their emotions manipulated quite callously by Mr. Elkington, I will continue to point out the fraudulent nature of his claims. I suggest anyone else out there with the skills and resources does the same.


David Elkington Again on the Jordan Codices

Somehow my blog completely erased my post. It’s 1:30 am and I’m not going to repeat it all. Long story short: Elkington was on Coast to Coast am for two hours tonight. I called in and was the last caller they took before the show ended. I challenged Elkington on his explanation of the Codices’ script (see here). He told me I would be disagreeing with the world’s leading experts and to go back to my textbooks. I got a little bit of a rebuttal out before they ran out of time. I’m sure the show will be up on the show’s archives and on YouTube within a few days.

ETA: As Joel has mentioned on his blog, David Elkington quickly updated his Facebook page with the following:

Following his Coast to Coast broadcast, David Elkington did not have the chance to finish addressing the final questioner due to time constraints. He would just like to clarify that the questioner was correct in one point: paleo-Hebrew was initially not a square script. In the 800 years before Christ, Hebrew was a language very much in development coming as it did from an obscure proto-language called Western Sinaitic. However, by the 1st century BC the Hasmonean form of paleo-Hebrew had indeed been made to fit in with the uniform requirements with the Hebrew of the day, thus it was reasonably square. David would like to send his best wishes to the questioner and his thanks for raising this important point.
I appreciate David’s kindness, but this is completely false. The script had not been made to fit with any “uniform requirements with the Hebrew of the day.” “Square script” and “paleo-Hebrew” are two separate categories. Those categories are meant to distinguish one from the other. To say the script had changed enough to qualify as a square script would be to say it was no longer paleo-Hebrew. If David means that the letters appear squarish enough in shape to be called a “square script” then he simply has no idea what the categories actually mean.
Every other one of his statements is also false. I have never once seen the phrase “Western Sinaitic” used in reference to a script. Google it. All that pops up are regional designations. There is a script called proto-Sinaitic, and it is a script developed in the Sinai that is an early alphabetic script, but it is not a “proto-language.” Proto-Sinaitic dates to the second millennium BCE, though, not 800 years before Christ. While the Hebrew script itself changes quite a bit in the first millennium BCE (see this book, for instance), the square script was a borrowing, not an internal development. Paleo-Hebrew is also a retroversion of proto-Semitic. It is not more ancient than the square script. It is an attempt to archaize the script, or make it appear really ancient. The paleo-Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls (which is where he gets the term “Hasmonean”) has absolutely nothing to do with the script on the codices. Several analyses have shown the script on the codices is a stylizing of a mishmash of different and often chronologically disparate ancient scripts. That this was done in modernity is not only evidenced by the unquestionable relationships to modern texts and iconography (see here and here), but also by the fact that the scribe reverses the directions of the letters and even uses several different stroke patterns to execute the same letters (see here).
ETA: You can find the entire show last night here. My call begins at the 1:57:15 mark:

Robert Cargill on the Jordan Codices and An Invitation

Bob Cargill has some thoughts up in a new post that directs readers to Tom Verenna’s recent video on the Jordan Codices. As an archaeologist who deals regularly with questions of authenticity, Cargill provides some insight into patterns common to amateur archaeologists/scholars trying to promote artifacts for their own monetary or ideological profiteering:

Like most unprovenanced “discoveries,” the Jordan Lead Codices are continuing to be exposed for what they are: a book-selling, documentary-pitching, money making, religious profiteering scheme, which uses a hungry media to prey on the faithful and the public, and employs the tried-and-true formula of 1) a sensational press release (without academic peer-review or scholarly evaluation), followed by 2) a pseudoscientific data dump that attempts to dilute and drown out the logic and actual science put forth by scholars responding to and debunking the claim (at least until the book gets released).

As the manipulative nature of this kind of campaign is exposed, “archaeological hucksters” tend to react by appealing to argumentum ad hominem and a sense among laypersons of distrust for putative academic elitism and bias:

(Keep in mind, the archaeological hucksters often get a little bent out of shape when scholars call them on their nonsense and criticize their claims, and the hucksters’ responses can often take the form of personal attacks coupled with unwarranted claims of religious/ethnic persecution (i.e., anti-Semitic, anti-Christian, anti-whatever).

This is exactly the case with the comments from observers and from the admin on the Jordan Codices Facebook page. The admin recently made the following claim:

Note: We have had many requests for more photographs; however, we have been prevented from fulfilling this requests by those who have chosen to abuse the copyright of the photographs by lifting them for their own personal and commercial websites, in certain instances, misrepresenting and misinterpreting the photographs. Unfortunately the actions of a few has affected the enjoyment of many.

When it was pointed out multiple times in comments that the law prevents any kind of copyright claims on said photos, the admin simply deleted the comments:

The only post of the above two that remains is the one calling bibliobloggers “bastards.” Elkington responded to that post thanking the poster for his “sentiment.” The fact is, there is nothing in the promulgation of the photos on the internet that at all complicates sharing more photos, unless, of course, you just don’t want the actual contents of the codices to be further analyzed. This is obviously the reason the most recent photos Elkington released had pieces of paper obscuring the pages of the codices.

The only post of the above that remains is the one calling bibliobloggers “bastards.” Elkington responded to that post thanking the poster for his “sentiment” and stating the following:

Unfortunately there are those out there who are not satisfied with just keeping to their own opinions but must seek to go one step further and force them upon others. It is most unchristian: an irony really given that Christ preached love and tolerance. It makes you wonder why if they do believe that the codices are fake why they are investing so much emotion and persistence in trying to demonstrate their view, whilst ignoring the hard science of the metal reports. As we have requested, in the introduction to this page, we are seeking reasoned and responsible, well mannered debate – not the ill-mannered personal attacks that these misguided fellows have sought. They have our sympathy – as the first century Rabbi Hillel once stated: The ignorant man sins with a clear conscience.

This is part of the personal attack concomitant with this kind of fraud, but notice Elkington asserts that the “hard science of the metal reports” vindicates him, even though the comments he continues to delete show conclusively that Elkington has altered the relevant report to bring it in line with his claims where it originally falsified them. Other comments are equally pejorative:

They’re cockey, unfair, narrow-minded, accusatory, impatient, hot under the collar, and seem to delight in hastily jumping to conclusions before all the facts are on the table. For the sake of inflated pride, they put a higher priority on wanting to be “proven” right, rather than on dispassionately and evenhandedly weighing all the unfolding pros and cons of a given controversy.

The original source message is a strong powerful force of love and peace, of grace and dignity, and to attack that is strangely symptomatic of the crucifiction, so think about that before you write your abuse and post abusive videos – you are no better than Judas and Pontius Pilate – you are history repeating itself in a destructive way.

The first group of challengers is comprised of those scholarly types who early on in this process jumped to the conclusion that the Jordan Codices are fakes, based on very limited information: Now, as a result of “jumping the gun,” their reputations and egos are in jeopardy if it turns out the codices actually are authentic ancient artifacts. These persons must continually “fire away” as they attempt to reconvince themselves and their followers that they “got it right” the first time.

I agree about your evaluation of people who are so desperate to prove these are forgeries. You’d think professional and academic people or those involved in theology would have an open and inquisitive mind about these artifacts before judging.

Why are these people putting so much effort in when they are absolutely convinced they are fakes. That You Tube posting must have taken some time and effort to put together. Why???

Some of these comments ask about motivations, but they can expect no answer when the administration has barred critics from comment. The posts show nothing more than assumptions about what must be driving those who are trying to set the record straight. They all do not appear the least bit concerned that the Elkington has already shown himself phenomenally ignorant of Greek as well as Hebrew in the conclusions he asserts are coming from the world’s leading experts. They do not appear concerned that the Jordan Codices admin has been shown conclusively to have misrepresented scientific data in favor of the authenticity of the codices. Since that falsified information is the only evidence that has ever existed to support the antiquity of the codices’ images and texts, what is compelling them to assert a need to suspend of judgment, or to assert that we’re the ones jumping to conclusions?

I cannot respond to request for motivations or other answers on Facebook, but I invite any and all who think there is a possibility the codices are authentic to comment here. Your comments will not be deleted, edited, or ignored. I’m not a fundamentalist by a long shot and I have absolutely nothing to lose or gain by the falsification or authentication of these codices. I am perfectly willing to fully and honestly respond to any inquiries. If David or any others are honestly looking for sincere and dispassionate dialogue (or photos of the codices!), you can find it here. You cannot find it on Facebook.


Short Video on Jordan Codices

Tom Verenna has a video up on the Jordan Codices that explains a few of the more critical problems with the claims being made by Elkington through Facebook:

Here is a more detailed explanation of the manipulation that has taken place with the Oxford materials report. This is a claim that Elkington made on the Facebook page regarding the Oxford materials report (it is a response to a post that has been deleted):

The metal was re-melted in antiquity. If you read the report carefully, it states this fact. It then concludes that the metal is of ancient provenance and that the corrosion is uniform across the entire surface.

Does the report support this claim? This is the scan of one of the pages from that report that Elkington has placed on the Jordan Codices Facebook page:

Here is his transcription of this page:

The third sentence under the Corrosion section would seem to support Elkington’s claim that analysis suggest an ancient provenance:

Most of the other leaves show a surface which flakes off quite easily and can expose a very clean and just slightly oxidized surface with the characteristic of lead that has been buried where it would be expected that the surface crust would be thicker and that there would be greater penetration of the metal leaving, at least, a pitted surface.

If the syntax of this sentence seems off to you, you’re not alone. The second half of the sentence seems to be describing a situation that is expected but not observed, rather than a situation that has been observed. According to the sentence above the “where” is to be understood locatively, but it seems to be operating as a subordinating conjunction. A closer look at the scan, which has been intentionally made virtually illegible by Elkington, solves the problem:

The highlighted sentence reads:

In the present writer’s view this is not characteristic of lead that has been buried where it would be expected that the surface crust would be thicker and that there would be greater penetration of the metal leaving, at least, a pitted surface.

Elkington’s transcription removes the last portion of the sentence prior to the highlighted text and combines the resulting fragment with the second half of the highlighted sentence. Basically, the word “characteristic” in the highlighted sentence is moved back and replaces the word “characters” in the previous sentence, removing the portion of the report that conflicts with an ancient provenance for the codices. Will Elkington argue for haplography as a result of homoioarcton? Possibly, but it can be no coincidence that the edited text supports a fundamental claim that Elkington highlights and emphasizes elsewhere. Elkington has demonstrably altered the report to support his assertions. This is flagrant and egregious deception, and it shows quite conclusively that Elkington is willing to lie and to openly and transparently manipulate scientific data to make his codices appear ancient. They simply are not. Elkington is a demonstrable fraud and a dilettant (he is monstrously ignorant of basic principles of Greek and Hebrew). His deception needs to be exposed. Too many innocent people have been taken in by this man’s baseless claims, and they will soon begin to line his pockets with book royalties.

PS – A link to the video above was posted on the Jordan Codices page a few minutes ago by Mark Goodacre, associate professor of New Testament at Duke University:

It has already been removed by Elkington, along with the other comment (which Elkington does not seem to understand):

PPS – Since Dr. Goodacre’s post, two more professors, Jim West of Quartz Hill School of Theology and James Davila of St. Andrews University have posted the link, only to have it unceremoniously removed. Dorothy Lobel King, an actual archaeologist, pointed out that Elkington cannot, by law, claim copyrights on photos of the artifacts. That comment was also removed:

 

 


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