The San Francisco Chronicle reported about a week ago that the Israeli government’s case against alleged forger Oded Golan is near collapse. The Israeli judge was rather harsh with the prosecution.
After all the evidence we have heard, including the testimony of the prime defendant, is the picture still the same as the one you had when he was charged?” District Court Judge Aharon Farkash pointedly asked public prosecutor, Adi Damti. “Not every case ends in the way you think it will when it starts. Maybe we can save ourselves the rest.
The Daily Mail reported:
Jerusalem judge Aharon Farkash told prosecutors trying Israeli collector Oded Golan: ‘Have you really proved beyond a reasonable doubt that these artefacts are fakes as charged in the indictment?
The primary artifacts in question are the James Ossuary and the Jehoash Inscription. The Israel Antiquities Authority has maintained that the inscription, or part of the inscription, reading “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus,” was added to an ancient ossuary. These artifacts and others are alleged to have come out of the workshop of Oded Golan, or that of his Egyptian friend, Marco Samah Shoukri Ghatas.
I do not know if these two artifacts are ancient, though based on what experts have told me, I think they probably are genuine. If one or both are proven to be fraudulent, it won’t affect anyone’s beliefs in the accuracy or non-accuracy of the Bible.
What bothers me and others is the attempt by some professionals and some non-professionals to silence discussion on the issues. Because 60 Minutes did a report on the subject, the case must be closed. Because the Israel Antiquities Authority produced a report on the items, scholarly interaction on the matters is apparently inappropriate. Wrong!, says the judge.
If the judge isn’t convinced after hearing far more evidence than you or I or probably any other expert not at the trial, then I dare say that any conclusions claiming these artifacts were forged were based on less than all of the evidence. This makes it all the more disturbing that those who made those conclusions are the ones who would deny further discussion. Some lessons:
- Scholars have agendas. Very few are unbiased.
- The loudest ones usually have the most to lose. Discoveries tend to confirm the Bible (name the last one that provided clear evidence that the biblical record was inaccurate), and with each (authentic) discovery, the ground is eroding from underneath them
- Refuse to listen to those who say the case is closed. Patience is a virtue. There is no need to rush to judgment when important scholars dissent from the majority view.