The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Too good to be true

Meet Walter Fritz, forger. And meet his dupe, Karen King.

The good news (heh) for secular NT scholarship is that Fritz's pseudepigraphon "The gospel of Jesus's wife" didn't get anywhere. King announced it in a conference and only the popular media bothered with it thence. And as Roger Pearse points out the whole affair has served as a cautionary tale; I'd add, as a learning exercise for those involved in unmasking the fraud. It'll help those involved when they return to more ancient pseudepigrapha.

As a less happy example of forgery, defined as such as have wasted scholars' time, I give you Morton Smith's homosexualist fan-fiction "Secret Gospel of Mark"...

In my experience as interested amateur, when truly revolutionary documents are found, they're found in public spaces or in secure archaeological contexts (Sana 1 and Qumran, respectively). If fragmentary - like The Gospel Of Walter - they're also published as boring articles in reputable journals - unlike TGOW - which most people will gloss over (Egerton Papyrus 2).

The last point I'd discuss here is who in Islamic scholarship is most at risk of being a forger's target, his mark, his whale. This is a warning to those who are open to the discovery of saj'-style Quranic-Arabic compositions, and who have published work to that effect. That's pretty much the same as telling the world you're leaving your River Oaks home for vacation despite that your burglar alarm doesn't work.

posted by Zimri on 08:22 | link | 0 comments

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