Shapira NOT a Forgery

Discussion about the Hebrew Bible, Septuagint, pseudepigrapha, Philo, Josephus, Talmud, Dead Sea Scrolls, archaeology, etc.
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StephenGoranson
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Re: Shapira NOT a Forgery

Post by StephenGoranson » Thu Mar 11, 2021 12:51 am

I have not yet read the Idan Dershowitz article, ZAW 33.1 (2021) 1-22 mentioned in New York Times yesterday
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/10/arts ... Position=1

(Shlomo Guil in PEQ 149 (2017) 6-27 also made a case—unpersuasive imo—for authenticity.)

But Christopher Rollston has responded already, correctly, imo, arguing that Shapira forged this ms.
http://www.rollstonepigraphy.com/

StephenGoranson
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Re: Shapira NOT a Forgery

Post by StephenGoranson » Thu Mar 11, 2021 3:55 am


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Peter Kirby
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Re: Shapira NOT a Forgery

Post by Peter Kirby » Tue Apr 06, 2021 4:04 pm

http://www.rollstonepigraphy.com/?p=896
It should also be emphasized that the Shapira Strips are no longer extant. After Shapira himself committed suicide in the Netherlands (after the Shapira Strips were declared to be modern forgeries), the Shapira Strips were later sold at auction and are often presumed to have later been burnt in a tragic house fire. At the very least, they have never surfaced again.
Let’s now frame this in a very pragmatic fashion. If the Shapira Fragments were to surface today, the leather would be subjected to carbon 14 tests; the ink would be subjected to chemical analyses (e.g., using a scanning electron microscope equipped with an EDS); there would be very careful analyses, using magnification, of the script itself, its morphology, the stance of the letters, and the ductus (i.e., the number of strokes forming a letter, the direction of those strokes, and the order of those strokes); the patina on the surface above the ink would be analyzed for modern contaminants in it and under it; there would be analyzes of the ways in which the ink had or had not flowed into the current cracks in the leather itself (much as was recently done with the Museum of the Bible’s Dead Sea Scrolls Forgeries). But the Shapira Fragments are lost to history. They were presumably destroyed. So there is no way to do these sorts of basic, benchmark, empirical analyses. And without these sorts of analyses today, no inscription would be declared ancient by a serious scholar trained in epigraphy.
It is a bit tragic that the initial declaration of forgery led to the disappearance of the fragments, making it impossible to do the tests requested that could falsify the hypothesis of their ancient origin.

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Secret Alias
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Re: Shapira NOT a Forgery

Post by Secret Alias » Tue Apr 06, 2021 11:40 pm

Isn't that the way it always is? How many of us would be bold enough to live out our dreams if it were not for the fear of ridicule? I watch my son play football alone or with people he knows, with players he trusts or feels superior to. It is another matter when he is playing with big kids, aggressive older players. It is hard to shine when you're afraid. That's one of the reasons why everyone in this world is so mean. It makes us feel powerful to hurt people. I've always said it is laughable that 'Judaism' is a tradition based around a forgery (the Pentateuch wasn't written by Moses). The gospels are forged. The letters of Paul etc. It's comical that there are 'levels' to forgery apparently.

StephenGoranson
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Re: Shapira NOT a Forgery

Post by StephenGoranson » Wed Apr 07, 2021 12:19 am

Though I agree with almost everything Christopher Rollston wrote, that the Shapira strips apparently burned in a particular house fire, as was once thought, turned out not to be the case. As Matthew Hamilton of Australia showed, the pieces were sold (for a small amount) to Philip Brookes Mason, who had a small museum (mostly natural history items) in Burton-on-Trent. They were displayed in 1899, and Dr Mason gave a lecture about them. (I have not found any copy of his lecture; probably it was not published.) After his death in 1903, his wife gradually sold his library, etc. It’s not yet known if she sold or donated the Shapira strips, but it is at least possible that they survive somewhere. Source: Chanan Tigay, The Lost Book of Moses: the Hunt for the World’s Oldest Bible (2016).
Two new (2021) books, independently written, propose that the text was probably ancient. (I am not persuaded by either, fwiw.) Idan Dershowitz, The Valediction of Moses and Ross K. Nichols, The Moses Scroll.

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Re: Shapira NOT a Forgery

Post by StephenGoranson » Thu Apr 15, 2021 12:26 am

Further discussion:

Benjamin D. Suchard. The "Valediction of Moses" is not a proto-Deuteronomy: evidence from the verbal system.
A five-page paper and then discussion at academia.edu
https://www.academia.edu/46783534/The_V ... bal_system

The Shapira Affair, Language Hat blog, March 18. Some comments are off-topic, but from April 13 ff largely on Suchard's paper.
http://languagehat.com/the-shapira-affair/

Ross K. Nichols, The Moses Scroll (book, 2021). Not sure whether he follows Allegro (Shapira Affair, 1965) et al. in thinking the text to be ancient but post-Deuteronomy.

Jonathan Klawans. The Shapira Fragments: an Artifact of 19th-Century Jewish-Christianity. BAR, March 18
https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/dai ... fragments/

Stephen Goranson
http://people.duke.edu/~goranson/

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Secret Alias
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Re: Shapira NOT a Forgery

Post by Secret Alias » Thu Apr 15, 2021 9:29 am

I only think that whether or not Shapira is a forgery we should recognize that this isn't the same as a 'fake Mona Lisa.' The Torah is not a 'pristine text.' It was not written by Moses. It is not what it pretends to be (= a first hand account of ancient events). So basically we're arguing over the potentiality of Shapira being a forgery of a forgery. Kind of like when a cheater gets cheated on. That doesn't detract from the importance of establishing whether or not someone 'cheated' but ultimately more like an episode of Jerry Springer or the People's Court than Biblical scholars pretend. It's a situation perfectly summed up by Celsus's comment - a fight over the shadow of an ass or in my paraphrase a controversy among lowlifes. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't.

StephenGoranson
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Re: Shapira NOT a Forgery

Post by StephenGoranson » Fri Apr 16, 2021 1:03 am

Secret, this thread was started by...you.

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Secret Alias
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Re: Shapira NOT a Forgery

Post by Secret Alias » Fri Apr 16, 2021 12:20 pm

I know. I am saying let's be clear - it would be a modern forgery of an ancient forgery. That's all I was saying.

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