* 2,000- year-old books/codices made of lead, each page no bigger than a credit card.
* Text is partially in code and contains early Christian symbols, including a depiction of Jerusalem with a cross outside the walls.
* Jordanian government using all its power to obtain them from the Bedouin who is hiding them.
*** Could be more important than the Dead Sea Scrolls. (Wow, that prediction came quickly!)
Hmph. Sounds too good to be true, especially since the lead codices haven’t yet been shown to any trained scholars. A British “team” of “archaeologists” has checked them out, apparently led by a Mr. David Elkington who may or may not hold a college degree in anything related to history or archaeology. (It mentions some training at an art academy but nothing else!) A psychic web site claimed in 2001 that Elkington was “studying for a doctorate” but doesn’t say what he was studying or where this may have been taking place. Does anyone have specific, verifiable information about Elkington’s graduate work and training, or if he in fact has any? With which institutions has he been affiliated? He is called an archaeologist in many news stories. What has he done to merit this title?
I noticed a summary of his book. Any cosmic-New Age synergy going on here? News outlets (led by the BBC) are getting their information on the lead books/codices from him, which should raise some red flags. Why so sloppy? Are news outlets primarily eyeing enhanced ad revenue from the extra web traffic this story generates? Perhaps I am being too cynical.
The BBC has an initial story on the objects. A second story says a credentialed New Testament scholar is examining photographs of the books. (Not the actual objects? How many conclusions can be reached only from photographs?)
My limited experience has taught me that the media rarely gets archaeology right. They are journalists who all-too-frequently restate what others (experts or not) tell them – if it seems interesting enough. Many brand-new, untested ideas have been reported as matter-of-fact conclusions, and early indications are this lead book story could be one of them.
Todd Bolen thinks the books may indeed be ancient but seriously questions the conclusions being reported. He has written an interesting history and analysis of this whole thing. You should check it out, especially before sharing exciting “lead book-Christian origins” stories through Facebook and Twitter.