It turns out the Museum of the Bible’s Dead Sea Scrolls are fake
By Bianca Smith
March 16, 2020
It turns out that there is some news
outside of the coronavirus as word surfaces that the Museum of the Bible’s
scrolls are all fake.
In a highly embarrassing situation for the group, reportedly majority funded by Hobby Lobby’s Green family, the museum has been forced to speak out after reviews show that the museum has been conned.
In a statement, the Museum of the Bible
noted that, “After an exhaustive review of all the imaging and scientific
analysis results, it is evident that none of the textual fragments in Museum of
the Bible’s Dead Sea Scroll collection are authentic.”
The review was overseen by Colette Loll, founder and director of Art Fraud Insights. In a detailed report about the findings, she stated: “Moreover, each exhibits characteristics that suggest they are deliberate forgeries created in the twentieth century with the intent to mimic authentic Dead Sea Scroll fragments.”
In 2016,13 of the museum’s fragments were
published by a team of scholars in Dead Sea Scrolls Fragments in the Museum
Collection. Since publication, scholars have expressed growing concern about
the authenticity of some of these fragments — especially since all were
purchased after 2002 when suspected forgeries entered the market.
Extensive appraisals of the scribal
features revealed inconsistencies with authentic DSS. Pending further analysis,
Museum of the Bible displayed, upon opening in November 2017, five of its DSS
fragments with exhibit labels indicating that authenticity had not yet been
“Notwithstanding the less than favorable results, we have done what no other institution with post-2002 DSS fragments has done,” Museum of the Bible Chief Curatorial Officer Dr. Jeffrey Kloha said. “The sophisticated and costly methods employed to discover the truth about our collection could be used to shed light on other suspicious fragments and perhaps even be effective in uncovering who is responsible for these forgeries.”
Museum of the Bible CEO Harry Hargrave said: “The Museum of the Bible is trying to be as transparent as possible.
“We’re victims, we’re victims of misrepresentation, we’re victims of fraud.”
However, back in 2018, German scholars reportedly
revealed five of the Bible Museum’s 16 Dead Sea Scrolls fragments were apparent
forgeries. The museum had been forced to admit a painful truth: technical
analysis by a team of German scholars has revealed that at least five of the
museum’s 16 scroll fragments were apparent forgeries.
When Washington DC’s $US500 million Museum
of the Bible held its grand opening in November 2017, attended by
Vice-President Mike Pence, there were questions even then about the
authenticity of its centerpiece collection of Dead Sea Scrolls.
The announcement has serious implications not only for the Bible museum, but for other evangelical Christian individuals and institutions who paid top dollar for what now seems to be a massive case of archaeological fraud.
The museum has released its report, which can be read here.