Tag Archives: Paleo-Hebrew

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:

Jordan Codices Photos

Following are all of the photos I have found of the Jordan Codices. They are of varying size and quality. Elkington has claimed the two longer and thinner codices are forgeries, but you can see clear relationships between some of the iconography on one of the two codices and on others. The rest, as far as I know, are claimed to be genuine by Elkington. Some are likely new to you, and some you’ll have seen many times. This adds up to around 38 over 40 distinct codices, which provides a pretty representative portion of the original hoard. I haven’t been able to look closely at all of them, either, so any observations you think are noteworthy are welcome. If anyone knows of any that I’ve left out, please let me know.


More Dishonesty from Jordan Codices

The admin in charge of the Jordan Codices Facebook group has posted four pictures from what it claims are forensic tests of the codices. He states:

This set of photographs are some examples we took during our forensic work on the codices.

It’s my contention that the photos show no such thing. These are publicity photos taken by Elkington himself (or associates) and passed off as scientific. He claims each codex was “numbered and measured for record,” but look at how the numbering takes place in the following two photos:

In the first photo, the vast majority of the codex has been obscured by the portion of torn-off loose leaf notebook paper. What value does this photo have for a researcher? Absolutely none. In the lower picture a smaller piece of loose leaf notebook paper has been torn off to allow for the visibility of the tree image (and the numbering system is different). This is simply not how artifacts are photographed by professionals. Elkington is obscuring those parts of the codices that have text on them so that people who have the ability to analyze the texts for themselves cannot do so. He wants you to see the tree, though, since it’s pretty and it cannot be shown to be unintelligible.

On that Facebook page you can also find an email exchange between Elkington (posing as one of the professors involved, in my opinion) and the BBC complaints department as well as the following comment, which misrepresents and marginalizes the work of Steve Caruso:

 

 

EDIT: It should also be noted that one of the photos the Jordan Codices page suggests was taken during “forensic work” is not new to this story (it is the only one without a crudely made number plate):

It also happens to have been a photo David Elkington has been offering for license since this whole story began back in March:

Note how the rings used to bind the plates were cropped out of the Facebook photo, perhaps to avoid showing that this “forensic work” included destroying the original binding of the codex. Including the bowl of pistachio shells (ubiquitous in forensic laboratories the world over, you know) was a bit of a boneheaded move, but it helped bring what appear to be Q-tips partially into the photo. How scientific! In addition to throwing even more doubt on the claims being made, I think this also leaves little doubt that David Elkington himself is behind the Facebook group.

 

 

 


A Preliminary Translation of the Jordan Codices is Offered

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:

אלך בתם

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.


David Elkington’s Take on Paleo-Hebrew

I have been asking some pointed questions of the admin for a new Facebook group called Jordan Codices, but my comments were all recently deleted (so were Steve Caruso’s). I am suspicious David Elkington himself is the one in charge of the group, and I decided to check on the radio interview posted on the page. It’s an interview of Elkington, and in it Elkington makes a number of assertions that I just find utterly ludicrous. For those familiar with Hebrew and the Dead Sea Scrolls, this short excerpt will require a strong constitution. It runs from the 13:51 to the 15:31 marks on this video (the topic of the codices begins at the 7:39 mark):

–       Elkington: Um, we, we’re–we’re–we’re performing more analysis now on the translation and the decipherment of the language. 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.

–       Interviewer: Wow.

–       Elkington: Some of it’s translatable, but a lot of it is still yet to be, uh, deciphered.

–       Interviewer: Ok, but paleo-Hebrew would date to a specific time that would, at least in my understanding, would come a long time before–before Christ and the Hebrew of the–of the first century as we­–as we know it. Is that not true?

–       Elkington: Yeah, that’s very true. That’s a very astute observation, if I may say so. Um, the use of paleo-Hebrew is extraordinary. It would be rather like you and I using Latin today.

–       Interviewer: Right, exactly.

–       Elkington: It would really make no sense to the large majority of people, but what, actually, it shows, is paleo-Hebrew may well have been the language of Moses, um, Moses on the mountain collecting the ten commandments. So, therefore, the use of it states that it really is like an official temple language, and that they’re using the original words of God, which makes this all the more extraordinary.

First, scholars have been pointing out it seems to be a meaningless mixture and adaptation of scripts, not just that it is “a very odd form of Aramaic.” Next, a “square script” does not indicate Hebrew, and his claim that the script is paleo-Hebrew actually precludes it being a “square script.” Next, there are far, far more than four or five people in the world who are familiar with paleo-Hebrew. This is the most stunning and flagrant lie of the entire interview. Further, though, the use of paleo-Hebrew actually does not indicate great antiquity, since paleo-Hebrew is actually a comparatively modern adaptation of the Old Hebrew script used specifically in texts considered particularly sacred or important. Multiple manuscripts from the Dead Sea Scrolls were written entirely in paleo-Hebrew, and the Tetragrammaton appears in several regular manuscripts in paleo-Hebrew. The Bar Kokhba coins, struck during the revolt of 132–136 use a paleo-Hebrew script that is very similar to that of the codices (except the codices reverse several letters, confuse others, and are missing others). The Samaritan Pentateuch preserves a heavily adapted version of the paleo-Hebrew script. The use of paleo-Hebrew is not particularly unusual. Lastly, the notion that paleo-Hebrew indicates anything at all about Moses is utterly asinine. Even if these texts were from the turn of the era (and they demonstrably are not), that would not bear in the least on the language of Moses.

Feel free to log whatever other observations you want to about this excerpt or the rest of the interview (which I could not finish), and feel free to spread this information as far and wide as possible. This dishonesty, dilettantism, and manipulation should not be allowed to be perpetuated any further, especially in light of Elkington’s quite obvious avarice (how much do you want to bet the release of the translations, etc., will always be dated to just the other side of the publication of his book?).