APU is considering testing their five Dead Sea Scroll fragments
The authenticity of APU’s Dead Sea Scroll fragments came under question last Tuesday after the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., announced that five of its most valuable artifacts ––which were once considered to be original Dead Sea Scroll fragments–– are forgeries. The museum’s fragments have since been removed from display, CNN reported.
Robert Duke, dean of the School of Theology, told CNN that APU is considering testing their fragments.
The original Dead Sea Scrolls––which were discovered between 1946 and 1956 by shepherds and a team of archeologists on the western shore of the Dead Sea in the Qumran caves––are considered to be physical proof to the reliability of the Bible’s truths.
The Israeli Antiquities Authority are in possession of most of the Dead Sea Scrolls. While the scrolls used to be impossible for private collectors to obtain, new fragments began appearing on the market in 2002. Scholars estimate that since then, as many as 70 forged fragments have been circulating the market, according to CNN.
APU acquired four of its five fragments from Lee Biondi, a private dealer located in Santa Barbara. The fifth fragment was obtained from Legacy Ministries International, a nonprofit organization in Phoenix, Ariz. At the time, President Jon R. Wallace called the purchase “a milestone for APU,” according to a press release by the university.
With the acquisition of the Dead Sea Scroll fragments, APU joined the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago and the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas as the only institutions of higher education in the United States that own fragments.
This is a developing story and will be followed by updates.