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.


2 responses to “Robert Cargill on the Jordan Codices and An Invitation

  • Jordan Lead Codices: Exposing the Fakes [Updated] « The Musings of Thomas Verenna

    […] Dan McClellan also adds a few more comments on his blog, like this gem: […]

  • Kerry

    “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.”

    I’m just an observer amongst all this, but what about everyone who isn’t Christian? The admin of the Jordan Codices is excluding the idea that people aren’t Christian/aspire to “Christian” ideals. He’s also confusing giving an opinion and saying it versus stopping any discussion by forcing it upon others. If anyone is forcing an opinion on others, it’s the admin because he’s removing comments that are perfectly reasonable. It just doesn’t like them.

    One of my favorite professors would actually require us to think about the view that we don’t like. To evaluate it and analyze it and give logical reasons as to what we saw as the positive pieces and the flaws.

    I like that the bloggers just put up all sorts of info that can be sifted and sorted because while persuasive, y’all are allowing every reader to make their own decision. No matter what the people on the “Jordan Codices” group says, I think you guys are doing a good job trying to evaluate.

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