Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lead Tablets? Come on.

I was so hoping that I could avoid posting on the Jordanian Lead Tablet discovery. But, I keep getting people sending me links and asking me about what I think. So here it goes.

Sensationalism? It is the right time of year. It is nearing Easter, so what else should we expect from the media?

The minute I saw the first posts about it, my eyebrows raised. Lead tablets? We have examples of copper tablets, bronze tablets, and gold tablets from the period of early Christianity, but I don't know about lead tablets. This seems fishy to me.

"70 or so" books? That also is fishy, especially when I discovered through a little internet research that the original news release said 20. Is it 70 or 20? How many books are in this horde?

What else am I skeptical about? Where do they come from? The original news release says these books were in the family for 100 years. "The objects belong to Hassan Saeda, a Bedouin farmer in Galilee who says they have been in his family's possession since his great-grandfather found them in a cave in Jordan, a century ago." The latest news story claims that they were found five years ago. I might note that this five-year window was simultaneous with the James ossuary trial. Coincidence? Or not?

They were written in a code? This is feeling more and more like popular fiction (or forgery?).

The lead scholar is David Elkington? Check out this website for his book In the Name of the Gods: "Everything that exists does so because of vibration." Is this really a summary of his book? And what is this about a book he published last year called The Lead Codices? Then I discovered that he has a literary agent and a book on these lead tablets already in production. Read all about it HERE. These are Elkington's credentials that I found on the website announcing his book In the Name of the Gods:

David Elkington was born in England in 1962 but spent his formative years travelling and exploring the Southern Hemisphere with his parents. His childhood in Australia was supplemented by sojourns in Polynesia, New Zealand and Indonesia. It was in these places that he first developed an interest in Sacred Sites and ancient traditions.

He trained as an artist at the Bath Academy of Art where an interest in the relationship between Christian myth and sacred sites was fuelled. Research for 'In the Name of the Gods' began in earnest in the early 1980s when he walked through Europe and the Middle East on a quest to understand and appreciate the mind of Ancient Man and his relationship with particular sites upon the Earth. For 20 years David has been led on a revelatory trail through world mythology, linguistics and philology into geophysics, architecture, acoustics, music, neuro-physiology, theology and still further into the all-encompassing, resonant atmosphere of the planet. As his research continued, surprising results emerged. For several years, David has been working with Dr Keith Hearne, the 'father of lucid dream research', on a new area of psychology - Geolinguistics - which sees the development of language as a direct result of the Earth's physical environment.

David began to introduce his work to the public in 1996 when he presented a major lecture on 'Acoustic Resonance, Life and Consciousness' at the Quest for Knowledge Conference in London. He lectures in England and Europe, has co-hosted a tour of the major ancient sites of Egypt and is a member of the Egypt Exploration Society and Palestine Exploration Fund. He has been a consultant to the government of Sierra Leone, to the BBC, ITV, and to NASA.

These are all red flags for me. There is a lot of explaining that needs to be done before we can determine what these books are. At this point in the analysis we certainly shouldn't be claiming that they are going to revolutionize our understanding of early Christianity. Come on. No one has even been able to read them yet!

Other posts and opinions on the subject:

http://paleojudaica.blogspot.com/2011_03_27_archive.html#8929466330980520973

http://cscoedinburgh.wordpress.com/2011/03/23/lead-tablets-news-story/

http://larryhurtado.wordpress.com/2011/03/29/more-on-the-lead-codices/

http://rogueclassicism.com/2011/03/30/lead-codices-silliness/

http://zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com/2011/03/21/secret-writings-about-the-last-years-of-jesus/

http://zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com/2011/03/22/philip-davies-on-the-newly-discovered-jesus-plates-scrolls-whatever/

http://www.patheos.com/community/bibleandculture/2011/03/29/lead-codices-about-jesus-the-latter-years/

http://exploringourmatrix.blogspot.com/2011/03/latest-on-lead-books-from-bbc-and.html?showComment=1301442142419#comment-c5159507401733979034

http://www.postost.net/2011/03/strange-true-sealed-christian-books-found-bedouin

http://daralqibt.blogspot.com/2011/03/jordan-battles-to-regain-priceless.html

http://www.gentlewisdom.org.uk/3130/new-discovery-as-important-as-dead-sea-scrolls/

http://theconnexion.net/wp/?p=10063#axzz1HzgDbZiR

Photo from BBC release HERE.

UPDATE: Jim Davila has posted an excellent analysis of one of the Tablets, figured out by Peter Throneman. This is very strong evidence that these are forgeries and we need to be very cautious. http://paleojudaica.blogspot.com/2011_03_27_archive.html#7454369078247746754

11 comments:

Ken said...

The metal "lead" does not "corrode." They traditionally had used it as sink drain pipes in chemistry labs because of that property. Lead does however oxidize. Lead oxide is a very bright white in color. It was used in white paint until it was deemed a health hazard if eaten.

rameumptom said...

While it would be nice to find more ancient writings for us to learn from, these aren't them. Obviously it is a fraud seeking to gain some notoriety and make money from the idiots who will purchase his books now that he's famous.

J. K. Gayle said...

At this point in the analysis we certainly shouldn't be claiming that they are going to revolutionize our understanding of early Christianity. Come on. No one has even been able to read them yet!

LOL. It's as if the promoters / questioners were paying attention to the web-viral Rob Bell book brouhaha.

Geoff Hudson said...

A few days ago I watched a reporter chap from BBC televison come on the News to announce this finding. Seemingly he was sincere. But on reflection, I recall a smile written all over his face. And what day is it tomorrow?

Robert said...

Curse tablets were often made of lead and sometimes "sealed." But they look nothing like these new tablets.

James said...

Lead oxide occurs in white, red, or yellow. The formula is PbO whatever the color.

James said...

Lead oxide (PbO) occurs in red, yellow, or white. The formula is PbO no matter what the color.
Jim

mr.scrivener said...

Lead Oxide can also lead to memory loss, resulting in duplicate posts.

Celia said...

Jane said...... I met David Elkington at a party last summer. He was indeed passionate about his subject and seemed genuinely excited about the contents of the tablets. This was the second time I have met David and I had the same reaction last time. Whether these are fakes or not, I believe he does believe they are genuine. I will be interested to follow this through and will keep an open mind.

gurucarcar said...

Did you catch Saturday nite's Coast to Coast AM? Great show! I wish I found the tablets. Carbon dating is in the mix. I guess we will see.

Helen said...

I've written an article about the technical requirements for manufacturing the codices on the Primitive Method blog. You can read it here: http://bit.ly/grsl8o

On the subject of colour - lead doesn't just react with oxygen, and it may not be pure lead anyway, so colour won't tell us much without pinning down a few of the variables.

It's possible that some of the codices aren't lead, but there are serious technical difficulties with doing that kind of work in other metals.

Jamie Hall (on his wife's Google username)
@primitivemethod