Would you like to see plenty of “Biblical” antiquities of unknown provenance including some forgeries too? Then download the two pdf brochures that a Mr Brandon Witt is circulating to institutions and individuals for sale (the second version seems to imply that some items have been indeed sold).
Many of the pieces seem related with Scott Carroll and other evangelical dealers/collectors/morons. Cuneiform tablets, the usual Ptolemaic papyrus from cartonnage, a post-2002 Dead Sea scroll fragment and late antique parchments. Real, forgeries or replicas? Who knows? Only Torah scrolls seem missing from the cabinet of curiosities, probably none has been left after Hobby Lobby and later Ken and Barbara Larson swept the market.
I sent an email to Mr Witt to fix a call and listen at the story of how he came in the possession of this remarkable assortment, but he says he has “a couple other big deals” which are taking up a lot of his time – frightening, as I can’t imagine what else he is trying to sell.
To me it is a mystery why American evangelicals seem entitled to sell their unprovenanced and forged Biblical trinkets without any consequences.
I had thought to speak about the past at next week conference on The Market for Biblical Antiquities (1852-2022), but then the present is so remarkable I will have to discuss it, too…
Details on how to participate here:
In 2017 I saw several of these pieces (the Ptolemaic document, Aesop, Two Covenants Papyrus, II Corinthians 7) in the collection of Andy Stimer. Among the things I examined were papyri that turned out to belong to the Egypt Exploration Society. I was given assurances that the materials were legitimately acquired and was supplied with provenances that turned out to be false. It may be that Stimer himself had been deceived by false information he was given. In any case, of course I regret ever seeing any of the items and I strongly condemn the trading of illicitly acquired antiquities.
Thank you Jeff for the help and I know all this certainly belongs to the past. Still, one wonders how these things are still moving around despite all what has happened. It seems Mr Stimer and others are just free to do business. Amazing.
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