Friday, June 17, 2016

HT Jim West, a longform piece at Atlantic Monthy about the Jesus' wife fraudulent manuscript Prof. King got behind

https://zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com/2016/06/15/the-jesus-wife-fraud-king-was-looking-for/

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/07/the-unbelievable-tale-of-jesus-wife/485573/

for the TL:DR scene, if it seems too good to be true ... or, rather, we could say that the quest for novelty in America is so toxic now that American academics (for want of a better word) can embody it now as much as a tabloid.

https://facesandvoices.wordpress.com/2016/06/17/the-jesus-wife-fragment-end-of-story/
...
To sum up: are simple statements of academics, dealers and collectors, eventually accompanied by unchecked and/or not publicly available documents, sufficient to prove provenance in scientific publications of recently emerged texts? Personally, I do not think so, especially after what we have been seeing in recent years and in the wider context of a market inundated by an increasing stream of objects coming from Egypt (You want number and graphs? Then read e.g. D.W. Gill, ‘Egyptian Antiquities on the Market’, in: The Management of Egypt’s Cultural Heritage, edited by F. A. Hassan, and al., vol. 2: 67-77. London 2015).

This story invites all of us – members of editorial boards in particular – to reflect very carefully on documenting provenance. Imagine a different, and more sinister scenario, one involving someone who smuggles a papyrus, or buys it illegally, and then offers it to an academic so desperate to publish to avoid checking provenance in depth: in this case, if the academic is based in the United Kingdom, he can risk to be charged with an offence under section 328 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 connected with money laundering, because his publication or opinion facilitates exchanges of criminal property. (You don’t believe me? Then read J. Ulph and al., The Illicit Trade in Art and Antiquities. International Recovery and Criminal and Civil Liability, Oxford 2012, esp. pp. 110-111).
Now, my fellow academics, ask yourself once again: would you publish a papyrus without solid, documented provenance for a flashy appearance on the media and one more article out?

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