A couple weeks ago I received a text from one of my Jordanian friends “I was wondering if you would be interested in looking at a really old Bible looking book my uncle came across.” I was intrigued and told him I would be happy to take a look. He emailed me a picture and I recognized the object immediately:
The tablets in this picture look remarkably similar to the “lead codices” made public a few months ago. Those tablets are largely considered by the scholarly world to be forgeries. However there is still some debate being carried out on their authenticity. So, despite my first assumption that these were fake as well, I thought it prudent to do some investigating. I was invited over to the home of the uncle who lets say “dabbles” in antiquities. I went hoping to look at the tablets, take pictures, and attempt to find out more information about their origin. My friend took me to his uncle’s house and we had a very nice visit with good food and homemade wine (which was quite tasty).
Unfortunately the tablets were no longer there. The person who was trying to sell them (9 tablets for 85,000 JD!) had taken them back to show to another potential customer. Apparently this customer was not willing to give two of the tablets back and had somehow been shot in the leg and was now in jail. Now I might have some of the details in that previous sentence wrong, but the uncle was speaking a combination of English and Arabic (and the more wine and scotch we had the worse his English got). I think the meeting went quite well and before we were ready to leave the uncle admitted he had a disc with pictures of all of the tablets. But with a twinkle in his eye he said those were for next time. As we were driving back to Amman my friend apologized and said he would try to get the pictures for me, but also said that his uncle really liked me and would tell me more about the man trying to sell them next time.
Hopefully I will have more to say on this subject in the near future. And hopefully I will have a complete set of pictures of the tablets as well.
If anyone has insights as to the inscription on the tablet pictured above please let me know.