New discovery "as important as Dead Sea Scrolls"?

The BBC Today Programme has a report In pictures: Biblical bounty?, an illustrated outline story that

Ancient sealed books, discovered in a Jordanian cave, may shed new light on the early years of Christianity.

Ancient sealed books, discovered in a Jordanian cave, may shed new light on the early years of ChristianityThe books have survived because the pages are made of lead. But all this seems rather speculative given that “the text in Ancient Hebrew” is mostly in code. The link with early Christianity seems to be in some of the images, but these can surely be interpreted in other ways.

The BBC reports some extravagant claims about this discovery:

the books may have been made by the followers of Jesus a few decades after his crucifixion. … “as important as the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls” … “the major discovery of Christian history”.

Well, we will have to see. If the text can be decoded and confirms the claims about who wrote these books and when, then indeed this could be a discovery of the first importance. But failing such confirmation the books will be no more than a historical oddity, worthy of a place in “a Jordanian museum” but not of worldwide attention.

UPDATE after half an hour: There is more on this story in another BBC report, which is largely about how these books have ended up in Israel and how the Jordanians want them back. The following may be of particular interest:

Philip Davies, Emeritus Professor of Old Testament Studies at Sheffield University, says the most powerful evidence for a Christian origin lies in plates cast into a picture map of the holy city of Jerusalem.

“As soon as I saw that, I was dumbstruck. That struck me as so obviously a Christian image,” he says.

“There is a cross in the foreground, and behind it is what has to be the tomb [of Jesus], a small building with an opening, and behind that the walls of the city. There are walls depicted on other pages of these books too and they almost certainly refer to Jerusalem.”

It is the cross that is the most telling feature, in the shape of a capital T, as the crosses used by Romans for crucifixion were.

“It is a Christian crucifixion taking place outside the city walls,” says Mr Davies.

13 thoughts on “New discovery "as important as Dead Sea Scrolls"?

  1. Thanks to someone who put a link to this post in an article in the Daily Mail on this matter – although the link now seems to have disappeared.

    This story is now all over the media, it seems, as well as the blogosphere. But I’m afraid its credibility is very much compromised by the news from Doug Chaplin of Clayboy about David Elkington, whom the BBC called “a scholar of ancient religious archaeology”, and who took the picture illustrating my post (a link to the BBC’s copy). It seems Elkington has no proper scholarly credentials. But he is the author of the In the Name of the Gods: The Mystery of Resonance and the Pre-historic Messiah. Read Doug’s post for more on this book, which is certainly not mainstream scholarship. It looks as if Elkington has duped the BBC, at least about his identity as an archaeologist, and so perhaps about rather more of this matter.

  2. Pingback: "The major discovery of Christian history": a forgery - Gentle Wisdom

  3. Pingback: Contents of the ancient lead books revealed! - Gentle Wisdom

  4. This seems a coincidence to me that on these led books just discovered it is talking about a TOMB STONE in Jordan
    Well I discovered a Great stone in Jordan only weeks ago that is most definitely the Great stone told in all 4 gospels Mark

    16:4 And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. The Great Missing Rolling Stone From The Garden Tomb which Joseph of Arimathaea Cut for his own New Tomb
    Has Now Been Discovered.

    And this stone I discovered is in Mount Nebo Now could this be the link. We know that this great rolling stone was found at a Byzantine Monastery in the old village of Faysaliyah seven kilometers west of Madaba, Mount Nebo. If you’re not familiar with mount Nebo, it is the very famous mountain the Lord led Moses to just before he died, to see the promised land. On a clear day you can see right across to Jerusalem. TO READ THIS ARTICLE CLICK HERE


  5. Dear Peter I am only saying what I read about what was said about the books However please believe me as I am not lying to you about my discovery on the Great stone have a look at my article and you will see This is the absolute TRUTH. and anyone can go to see my discovery is true. You don’t need to be a archaeologist to see this.

  6. Dear Peter I have also made a 42 minute documentary on my discovery. Please have a look as I understand this is hard to believe what I am saying. However absolutely no one can and have disputed my claims even the garden tomb Association in London as all the evidence can be seen. You see God uses nobody’s like me to prove his word is true.

  7. Simon, there were probably lots of tombs of this general design in and around Jerusalem at about the time of Jesus. They were very likely all made from the same stone, many of more or less the same size, and with similar tools. You have absolutely no proof that this is the stone from the Garden Tomb. And that is unlikely to have been the genuine tomb of Jesus, as Victor Jack seems to accept in the letter you quote. You are also being quite deceptive in claiming that the Garden Tomb Association supports your claim – the letter you quoted reads to me like a polite dismissal or your claims. I’m sorry, but I cannot take your claims seriously, and I think any reputable scholar would take the same position.

    On the other hand, the tabloid newspapers and even the BBC might take you seriously, as on such matters they seem to have a track record of publishing sensational stories without checking if they have even the slightest credibility.

  8. Kevin, if what you report is true, it would indeed be a discovery as important as the Dead Sea Scrolls. But in that case why was it not announced 30 years ago in news media and proper archaeological reports, but only now on your obscure blog?

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