A Sham of Biblical Proportions

I really don’t want to talk about politics. It all sucks. So instead let’s have fun laughing at the noobs who poured so much money into the Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC.

The Museum of the Bible announced Monday that at least five of its Dead Sea Scrolls — among the most valuable and historically significant items in its collection — are fakes. …

…The five scrolls represent a major proportion of the museum’s 16-piece collection of Dead Sea Scrolls, acquired as part of the 40,000-piece Green family collection over the past decade. Doubts about their authenticity were first raised two years ago by scholars in the academic journal Brill. Since then, scholar Kipp Davis of Trinity Western University has argued that at least seven of the scrolls were fake, based on the language used in the fragments and other textual evidence.

The announcement of the forgery comes after years of controversy and criticism over the museum’s approach to scholarship, which is heavily rooted in its evangelical Christian ethos. The 430,000-square-foot, $500 million museum, which opened in November 2017, is the brainchild of the Green family, the evangelical Christian owners and founders of the craft store chain Hobby Lobby. Last year, the museum sent five of the disputed fragments to a German laboratory for testing. The results, which were publicly released this week, cast serious doubt on the authenticity of all five.

Inside the Museum of the Bible, which apparently is a 430,000-square-foot cheese fest.

The controversy over the Dead Sea Scrolls is about more than just the Green family’s academic rigor, or lack thereof. It’s also about the very particular way that many evangelical Christians see the Bible — a perspective that has made the evangelical market particularly susceptible to forgeries.

Basically, evangelicals try to argue that the Dead Sea Scrolls prove that the current Bible has been unchanged through the centuries, while scholars say the Dead Sea Scrolls prove just the opposite.

Charles Pierce:

This fills me with a flood tide of entirely un-Christian glee. The Green family, the sex-obsessed theocrats behind Hobby Lobby, have done quite enough damage to the country to have earned being played for suckers like this. And, as is customary for all modern Christian evangelicals in politics, the Greens ignored the warnings of experts in Biblical archaeology who told them they likely were buying fakes. …

… Blessed are the theocrats, for they shall be called marks and rubes.

The Greens had broken laws importing the stuff they bought on the antiquities black market, so I can’t feel too sorry for them. I wonder if the thing is making them a return on their investment. Maybe it will be as big a money loser as Ark Encounter.

13 thoughts on “A Sham of Biblical Proportions

  1. Yesh, it's a sham.

    And a scam by the Green(backs) family.

    With all of the things to see and do in DC, who, outside of the usual American "Christian" circle of jerks is going to haul his/her family to see this, this, this…  ABOMINATION!?!?!?

    This museum full of hokum.

    All for a profit (maybe – but I'm sure they'll use OUR TAX DOLLARS to prop these loons up as soon as they lose a penny.).


    Our American "Chtistians" have ANOTHER god besides you:




  2. Well, we have the Holy Land Experience theme park down here in Orlando, Florida. And the guy who plays Jesus looks just like him.


    To each his own? The best one that I ever saw was a bunch of Guatemalan women venerating a baked on grease splatter of Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe on the window of a vintage Hotpoint oven. "According to your faith be it unto you?"

    There's money in them thar rubes.

  3. That place better be Cecil B. DeMille.  Since God, Satan and the whole gang quit showing up we need more miracle action around here.  And in fashionable robes no less (leave it to the ladies to discuss what might be underneath).  If I was a retired prankster I'd get a job as entry cashier at one of those places and do my best Ayn Rand impersonation complete with bad haircut, accent, and cigarette holder.

  4. "the Greens ignored the warnings of experts in Biblical archaeology who told them they likely were buying fakes"

    Are these the same schmeds what got caught buying stolen sky-wizard stuff from some Iraqi's accused of funding ISIS? SAD!

  5. uncledad,

    Iggy Pop!


    I saw him live at some dingy NY City dive back in the late 70's.  The Misfits opened the show.

    Great, sometimes frightening, R&R!

  6. Maybe they should have tried to secure an original manuscript of Aesop's fables for their museum. That would have satisfied their approach to attain at least some degree of scholarship.

    In the picture above of the inside of the museum where it shows Sampson collapsing a building by pushing out two central pillars, the bible verse says (Judges16:27) that on the roof of that building there were "about three thousand people". I hate to be a doubting Thomas, but having spent my career in the construction industry I seriously doubt that the roof of any building ever built in biblical time could support a weight load of that magnitude. That bible story sounds a little too like Trumpian  hyperbole to be believable. And I'm sure the infallible word of God wouldn't be mucked up with a bunch of hyperbole.


  7. Resurgence of regressive FundaMentalist religion is a world-wide phenomenon which baffles me.  Just a few decades ago, it was obvious to any thinking person that we (humanity) were on a path away from reliance on imaginary Gods. 

    In this country, Old Money made it's Deal With the Devil (Jerry Falwell) to revive the GOP from it's near-death after Watergate.  They (GOP Money wing) figured they could harvest reliable votes harmlessly by buying off the leaders and promising to save all those innocent zygotes.  It worked pretty well for a while (for the GOP MoneyBags), but recently, the inmates have taken over the asylum.

    In Israel and USA (and other places?) Orthodox & Conservative strains of Judaism seem to have gained dominance, partly by procreating faster, but also by drawing back in children of "secular" Jews.  The Kibbutz movement in Israel has collapsed; Israel has hardened into an apartheid State expanding into neighboring territory based on the claim that the Torah contains a Real Estate contract signed by God.

    In the world's largest democracy (India), the Congress Party of Gandhi & Nehru which once campaigned to eliminate the Caste System  has lost power to the BJP, an explicitly Hindu political party.

    Worst (maybe) is the explosion of virulent Jihadi Islam, attempting to drag the world back to medieval days.  The US had a hand in this, when the CIA cut it's deals with Saudi Arabia to supply money & crazy violent young men to make Afghanistan into the USSR's Vietnam.  (I hope) the architects of that "brilliant" chess-move didn't realize how that would play out.  The KSA used it's/our oil money to set up Madrassas around the world, preaching their nasty Wahabi version of Islam and recruiting for Al Qaida and other jihadi movements.

    Why has this happened to 4 of the world's largest religions in the space of my lifetime?

  8. I am appalled, who would sell fake dead sea scrolls?  Fortunately all my artifacts are authentic.  That left handed monkey wrench from Noah's ark is the pride of my collection.  

  9. elkern: "Why has this happened to 4 of the world's largest religions in the space of my lifetime? "

    My guess is any large religion is always going to revert back to fundamentalism at some point. I would think as religions get progressive or liberal they just sort of lose their grasp on the faithful (needs more fear) and the old collection baskets start to dry up? Just a theory, but I'm a godless hack so what do I know?

    Gulag: that must of been some show! I saw Iggy in the 90’s he was still quite crazy, cut himself on stage and pulled out his unit!

  10. elkern, 

    Fin de siecle.

    As the old century recedes in the rearview mirror, the new one brings with it a few old fears and many new ones.  And with those fears, people look back to what seemed like simpler times (which really weren't).

    And religion is a salve that many turn to.  And they want to rub it on all wounds.  The problem is that they don't want to put it on just their own wounds, but also on those of others.   

    And if those others don't accept the recommended religion, well, there's a solution for that:  FORCE THEM TO ACCEPT YOUR RELIGION!!!!!

    Look at what happened in the last few century changes.  The 20th brought Fascism.

    It looks like for this one, it's a combination of good old 20th Century Fascism, and THEOCRACY.


  11. Neoliberalism exacerbated the level of worldwide uncertainty/angst which was already burdened with issues like overpopulation, global warming, and superpowers meddling in their own internal affairs.  Needing some kind of cognitive closure, many common folk coalesce around religious organizations to feel more empowered.

    The way I try to embrace profound negative changes is to watch videos of those insanely overcrowded Bangladeshi trains.  Those folks riding the roofs sure do seem happy, all singing and waving at the camera.  But then I found out they’re coming home from religious festivals.  I may need to think about this some more.

  12. Perhaps religions start out with good intentions and nice stories but then they have to use fear to maintain power and keep the $$$$ coming in.  In any case, it is my belief that none of us know what is really going on.  The universe is a mystery and I'm okay with that.

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