Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Not a Forgery: Jehoash Inscription

Five geologists have written a new article in light of the judge’s acquittal of Oded Golan on charges that he forged the Jehoash Inscription. The geologists believe that the inscription is genuine and make their case in a 30-page document recently published by The Bible and Interpretation. The abstract:

The carbon particles in the patina yield a radiocarbon age of approximately 2250 years BP (third century BCE). The presence of micro-colonial fungi and associated pitting indicates slow growth over many years. No modern elements related to the use of modern tools were found. All evidence indicates that the production of the tablet and the carving of its inscription occurred at essentially the same time..... We would like to emphasize that we found nothing suspicious to indicate that the JI [Jehoash Inscription] is a forgery. We came to the conclusion that our analyses strongly support the antiquity of the patina, which, in turn, strengthens the contention that the inscription of the JI is authentic.....

It’s possible that these five experts have been fooled by someone more brilliant in geological matters, but it’s too much to ask me to believe that they are part of a conspiracy to conceal a forgery.

I do not recall hearing of the alleged provenance of the inscription (before it was sold on the antiquities market), but the article claims that it was found “near the southeastern corner of the wall of the Temple Mount complex where it was used as a secondary building stone in a tomb.” New tombs have been dug in this Muslim cemetery in the last decade, but whether or not this claim is true is impossible to know apart from some trustworthy witnesses. Some had speculated previously that it came from the Muslim construction of an exit for a mosque in “Solomon’s Stables.”

Temple Mount southeast corner from south, tb091306324

Southeastern corner of Temple Mount where the Jehoash Inscription was allegedly recovered (photo source)

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