Forgery or oldest manuscript?
I enjoy casually following research on Biblical manuscripts, and so this piece in the New York Times immediately caught my eye this morning:
In 1883, a Jerusalem antiquities dealer named Moses Wilhelm Shapira announced the discovery of a remarkable artifact: 15 manuscript fragments, supposedly discovered in a cave near the Dead Sea. Blackened with a pitchlike substance, their paleo-Hebrew script nearly illegible, they contained what Shapira claimed was the “original” Book of Deuteronomy, perhaps even Moses’ own copy.
Then disaster struck.
What’s so nice about this piece of reporting, is that it reads somewhat like an adventure novel. Perhaps it’s because The Da Vinci Code (the movie) is one of my guilty pleasures, but I love a good story about mystery and old artefacts that, once we discover something new about them, change the world forever.
Bonus: researcher Idan Dershowitz has a wonderfully creative way of reading and speaking about the Bible. I’m still trying to wrap my head around his reading of the anti-queer clobber passage in Leviticus.
If you’d like to dive right in, here’s a link to his book.