Dead Sea Scrolls Fragments of Dubious Authenticity - Larry Hurtado on the Kipp Davis studies of Museum of the Bible fragments

Steven Avery

Dead Sea Scrolls Fragments of Dubious Authenticity
Larry Hurtado
March 15, 2018

And I discussed with Kipp Davis these fragments a bit. In April, 2017 we discussed by Messenger his studies and paper and the Museum of the Bible. I was impressed with his scholarship and approach and forthrightness in the papers.

The last chat related to BAM (Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung, Berlin) and Dr. Ira Rabin involved in special materials testing of the pseudo-DSS fragments. BAM is the group that planned Sinaiticus testing in 2015, in coordination with the Leipzig University Library, and that testing was .. cancelled.




The Kipp Davis analysis is superb. Keep in mind that Kipp had full access to study the material (apparently the MOTB is supporting further study, even while their public presentation is not really communicative enough about the problem.)

And what about situations where there is no real access allowed?

With Codex Sinaiticus the only materials testing was planned for 2015 by Leipzig, with BAM (Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung, Berlin) and Dr. Ira Rabin involved. Those planned tests were quietly cancelled.

Yet anyone can look at the new information available since 2009 from the Codex Sinaiticus Project and see the incredible BEFORE and AFTER evidence.

The parts taken to Leipzig 1844, 86 pages, are white parchment, not stained. And the parts taken to St. Petersburg in 1859 are yellow and stained, streaked parchment.

And this distinction between the (5) sections exactly matches the stated claims in 1862-1864 that the manuscript had been artificially stained in the 1850s, using lemon juice and herbs, to give an appearance of age! Oops.

And much more has been discovered in the last decade. Historical forensics should examine such evidences. Even if, due to Library controls, you can not do materials testing.

Your thoughts welcome!


Here is were Larry Hurtado came close to discussing the historical aspects.

A Master Hoaxer: Constantine Simonides
Larry Hurtado - April 20, 2014

"Simonides really came to worldwide attention when (in 1862) he claimed to have written Codex Sinaiticus himself (in 1840)."

That was the public controversy, although Tischendorf was concerned about the Simonides claims even in 1859. And Hort wrote about the Simonides claims iin 1861 in correspondence. And others also verified that the Simonides claims were early (the Tischendorf facsimile edition was 1862.)

On Sinaiticus, Kipp Davis makes the common scholarly error of thinking that Tommy Wasserman must really understand the issues involved with Sinaiticus, and defers to his conclusions. Without personal consideration of the amazing evidences of non-authenticity. When there is "deeply entrenched scholarship" involved, the scholars are easily intimidated. :) Who wants to be accused of wearing a tin foil hat!

Now, there are other incredible evidences that also corroborate the evidences from the artificial colouring and the "phenomenally good condition" (Helen Shenton, British Library) of the manuscript. However, all those fascinating elements are not the purpose of the current post.

The Lying Pen of Scribes

Larry Hurtado's praise of two important Dead Sea Discoveries articles from last year: Kipp Davis et al., “Nine Dubious ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’ Fragments From the Twenty-First Century,” DSD 24.2 (2017): 189-228 and Kipp Davis, “Caves of Dispute: Patterns of Correspondence and Suspicion in the Post-2002 ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’ Fragments,” DSD 24.2 (2017): 229-70 (via
Morten K. Beckmann)
Facebook discussion
Oh, those poor Brit textual scholars and their Sinaiticus white elephant.

Steven Avery
Dutchess County, NY

Steven Avery

Torleif Elgvin about how scholars detected fake “Dead Sea Scrolls” fragments in the Schøyen Collection

Here I commented on a thread that similarly had a DSS forgery theme, referencing an article in Norwegian.

The Lying Pen of Scribes

A fresh popular article in Norwegian by prof. Torleif Elgvin about how scholars detected fake “Dead Sea Scrolls” fragments in the Schøyen Collection.

Hi Lying Pen group,

The provenance of the Museum of the Bible fragments was dicey. And those with ownership of the fragments have been willing to allow scientific tests. Even the famed BAM group (Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung,) with Dr. Ira Rabin is now able to do tests on some fragments. As shared by a super-reliable source.

Yet with Codex Sinaiticus the BAM group had material tests planned for 2015, for the white parchment, unstained, 1844 Leipzig portion of Sinaticus. A manuscript with similarly dicey provenance issues and rather glaring authenticity concerns.

The result ?
Nothing, the tests were cancelled.

So what do our experts do when the libraries (British Library and Leipzig University Library) stonewall on testing?

Apparently, they simply clam up in a clique of silence. The Sinaiticus scholarship is now "deeply entrenched" into the academic milieu. Ignoring or at best hand-waving the evidences is the modus operandi. Let's suppress even the discussion!

Like the colouring and staining of the 1859 portion, which had already been rather amazingly pointed out in the early 1860s (able to be verified only after the 2009 Codex Sinaiticus Project placed all sections online, giving us the world's best evidence -- BEFORE and AFTER, right before our eyes today!)

Brit and German sections being in "phenomenally good condition" as reported by Helen Shenton of the British Library (for a supposed ancient manuscript,) There is even a wonderful must-see page-turner video online.

The scholars do not even check a source that was fingered as contributing to the production, In a manner similar to how the Buttmann 1861 edition was found to have been used to create the formerly "Category One" Archaic Mark (ms. 2427, now considered a forgery.)

And here, I have only scratched the surface, e.g. what about the Barnabas 1843 edition? Published by Simonides and referenced in an 1843 Smyrna periodical. Have the scholars checked the connections with Sinaiticus? What amazing "coincidences" everywhere.

And have they made any sensible analysis of the sense-line homoeoteleutons that match up perfectly with Claromontanus as source?

Simonides we know published the Sinaitic-connected Hermas before the 1859 Tischendorf red-cloth "discovery" (previously seen and written about by Porfiry Uspensky.) Which led to Tischendorf first accusing the Athos Hermas of late Latin influence, and then retracting his linguistic accusations. As pointed out by the learned Scottish scholar James Donaldson. Tischendorf is the same gentleman who fabricated a "saved-from-fire" scenario in 1859 to mask the 1844 brazen theft of 5+ quires out of the codex. Tischendorf led and pushed all the palaeographic speculations, and encouraged people to look at his smoothed facsimile edition rather than the actual main sections of the ms stashed far away from each other in Leipzig and St. Petersburg.


The scholars have various excuses. It can be a tad humorous. And I can go into that another day
. (One is .. not my expertise. The problem is that the evidences are so wide-ranging! And some are too clear, obvious, strong and simple.)

Who can do solid historical analysis when it comes to textual and authenticity issues?

Steven Avery
Dutchess County, NY USA
The Lying Pen of Scribes
Steven Avery{"tn":"R"}

Steven Avery

deeply entrenched scholarship and the various excuses

The Sinaiticus scholarship is now "deeply entrenched" into the academic milieu. ... The scholars have various excuses. It can be a tad humorous..... (One is .. not my expertise. The problem is that the evidences are so wide-ranging! And some are too clear, obvious, strong and simple.)
Dozens of scholars have written articles that try to show special insight, on a wide variety of textual and historical and scribal issues, that are 100% based on the presumption of full Sinaiticus authenticity as an antiquity 4th century document.

A whole discipline is concerned about looking foolish is they would have to say something like:

"oops. We have based our theories, our papers, our scholarship, our titles and degrees, our commissions, our reputations, on a base and crass textual lie that was peddled in the 1860s."
One of their favorite themes is the genetic fallacy.

"oops. The people who found and pointed out the non-authentic nature of Sinaiticus are not members of our club. In fact, they accept the Reformation Bible, from the Received Text, as the pure word of God. Oh, no! And some we reject as King James Bible only nuts. How could these types of know-nothings put together historical and textual and manuscript condition forensics that we missed? Impossible!

So how could their research and discoveries be sound? "
Another approach is simplyto cry "conspiracy theory".

This one is especially ironic when you realize that the term was basically invented to mask actual historical conspiracies. Are you concerned that there is strong evidence that Lee Harvey Oswald was not a lone nut gunman who shot President John Fitzgerald Kennedy out of a personal whim in Dallas in 1964? Zap, you are a "conspiracy theorist". It does not matter if the evidence is overwhelming, the public is supposed to simply accept this humorous phrase as a successful dismissal of evidences.

We showed how this mentality took over the textual clique in regards to Sinaiticus. Tommy Wasserman was given a tin foil hat at the SBL meeting in 2017 in honor of his "defense" of Sinaiticus authenticity. A "defense" that repeatedly ignored the basic evidences.

A major censorship effort has taken place to keep the information away from the textual criticism cliques. This has been done by simply banning any references to Sinaiticus authenticity on forums like the Evangelical Textual Criticism forum. Or only allow rather weird one-sided harangues on forums like New Testament Textual Criticism on Facebook. Sometimes a forum will allow a limited discussion, like Textual Criticism on Yahoogroups, but then will censor the discussion at a critical point.


Now, there have been some venues (like the Lying Pen group above, on Facebook) who have, to date, resisted the suppression attempts of Tommy Wasserman and the Brit clique of scholars. To their credit, even if the discussions have been limited.

One gentleman, James Snapp, at least tried to defend Sinaiticus authenticity in blog posts. However he basically had no answer to the real issues of non-authenticity (e.g. he simply said the colour disparity was bad photography, a fiat claim that is simply ridiculous and is contradicted by scientific numbers and the British Library.) And James Snapp instead wrote up a multiplication of nothings, mostly piddle arguments, as his basic argument. Which have been easily answered. At least James has the urls to the answers in the comments section to his article.

Another gentleman, Elijah Hixson, has expressed, in sensible public and private discussions, various concerns about some of the proposed historical reconstruction if Sinaiticus is non-authentic. e.g. Elijah does not see how the blank parchment could have been available at Mt. Athos for this project. Such arguments are fair enough, but are by their own nature quite conjectural, since Mt. Athos is a large group of monasteries where manuscripts are everywhere and there had been very little scholarship access. Thus, such arguments are of far less import than the actual facts on the ground showing non-authenticity.


Another group, the Bible Version Discussion Board, in the midst of a sick vulgarity, has posted various "aha!" threads. Which invariably are factually incompetent. And most of the time their points have been pre-answered on this forum! However, they suppress any responses to their errors through a tawdry censorship, making their stuff irrelevant. Similarly, they simply ignore my friendly invitations (one major one was on PureBible on Facebook) that these issues should be discussed in real (non-vulgar) dialog, iron sharpeneth.

My sincere apologies for even mentioning them in the midst of discussions by James Snapp and Elijah Hixson, which at least represent sincere attempts, with integrity. I am not trying to taint their efforts by bring up a vulgar rant crew, I am simply trying to be complete in discussing what have been the attempts at Sinaiticus authenticity defense.