Tracing & Facing Possible Forgeries
Included below is a draft and video recording of my paper “Ignoring, Engaging, or Incorporating Non-Provenanced Aramaic Fragments in Secondary Source Publications and Research Projects” presented in the Qumran session at the international meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in Berlin (August 8, 2017).
The session included a program of papers focused on the theme of “Tracing and Facing Possible Forgeries: Methodology, Ethics, and Policies.” My study considered the task of delineating authentic fragments from forgeries in the private collections of the Museum of the Bible and Martin Schøyen with a focus on items related to the book of Daniel.
The full program of the Qumran sessions were streamed in two parts via Facebook Live on the Dead Sea Scrolls Institute page (session 1; session 2). The excerpted video of my own presentation is included here.
Paper Abstract and Draft
A full PDF draft of the paper may be found here.
SBL’s recent adoption of ASOR’s policy attempts to ensure that SBL venues and publications are not the site of announcements or publication of non-provenanced texts and artefacts (i.e., delivery of primary sources). Regardless of one’s view of the appropriateness of SBL implementing such a policy, these “new” texts have become part of the discourse among scholars in the discipline of Qumran studies, generated important questions from peers in cognate fields, and captured the interest of those outside the guild in the public. In view of this, one implication that needs to be considered is the degree to which non-provenanced texts are handled—or if they should be handled at all—in the knowledge creation and dissemination of secondary resources for use in and beyond Dead Sea Scrolls studies. This paper will outline some considerations made in finding an ethical and responsible way forward and includes a sample of such an attempt from an in-process commentary on the Aramaic Dead Sea Scrolls that must to some degree acknowledge and encounter the issue of non-provenanced texts of Daniel, Tobit, and 1 Enoch in at least four known private or institutional collections. The case studies included here focus on the fragments of Daniel known in the Museum of the Bible and Schøyen collections and illustrate the spectrum of problems and prospects for ascertaining provenance and authenticity of such “new” fragments.