“The Lying Pen of Scribes” is the name of a new research project led by my Norwegian colleague Årstein Justnes.

The title comes from the biblical Book of Jeremiah, chapter 8 verse 8. The idea was born after I suspected the presence of modern forgeries in the Schøyen collection of Dead Sea Scrolls. Our international core team—Torleif Elgvin, Årstein Justnes, Kipp Davis, Ira Rabin and myself—conducted additional research, which confirmed my suspicions.

Yet, many questions remained unsolved. We realized that we did not know much about the production of parchment and ink for the Dead Sea Scrolls in Antiquity, which would be useful beyond the issue of forgery detection. Likewise, we lack a comprehensive assessment of Dead Sea scrolls palaeography, which would not only help identify forgeries but also connect genuine fragments to existing scrolls.

Finally, other approaches to modern Biblical forgeries must be investigated: sociology, psychology, ethics, journalism, and so on. This gave rise to “The Lying Pen of Scribes,” which just received funding from the Research Council of Norway and the University of Agder (25M NOK, that is, about 2.5M EUR).

I want to congratulate Årstein Justnes for this success, and I am very happy to be a part of this amazing team. I am looking forward to the wonderful research projects ahead of us!

For more information on the project, please visit its website.

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