Thonemann Speaks about the Lead Codices

Traditional Bedouin in Southern Jordan
Image via Wikipedia

I am fortunate enough to be privy to a listserve dedicated to these issues. Daniel McClellan alerted us to this just a bit ago.

I’m working with Prof. Philip Davies of Sheffield University and Dr. Margaret Barker on a discovery that I made a few years back of a cache of ancient metal codices. They are comprised of lead and of copper – it is one of the copper codices that brings me to you. We think that it has a possible origin in Alexandria at the beginning of the 1st millennium ad (the Bedouin who brought them to me said that his father found them in northern Egypt). It has an inscription in Greek along the top . . . we are seeking to find an expert who might help in determining what it says. Would you have the time and the knowledge to be able to help?

Who could resist? Photographs of a mysterious-looking copper notebook duly arrived. Strange sequences of Greek letters curled around depictions of a palm tree, a walled city, a crocodile and, oddly, Alexander the Great. Curiouser and curiouser! The three lines of Greek all turned out to be variants on the same two puzzling phrases: “. . . without grief, farewell! Abgar, also known as Eision . . .”. The name Abgar is pretty unusual; might he be attested elsewhere? Half an hour’s work in the library turned up the two phrases in their original context: a perfectly ordinary Roman tombstone from Madaba in Jordan, datable to ad 108/9, and currently on display in the Archaeological Museum in Amman. “For Selaman, excellent man, without grief, farewell! Abgar, also known as Eision, son of Monoath, built this tomb for his excellent son, in the third year of the province.” (here)

You can read Thonemann’s letter to Elkington here and a list of what the silliness of the media here.

Elkington is a conman and the media is complying with this.

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Joel L. Watts
Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

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