Philip Davies on Lead Codices

[editorial note: Philip had identified modern images prior to the great online debates]

For Philip’s latest comments (including responses to the latest blog debates), see Jim West’s Biblical Studies e-list.

The following is a general introductory summary by Sheffield Prof. Emeritus Philip Davies on the now famous lead codices (some images are available here):

Having long been involved in the Dead Sea Scrolls (and in the campaign
to force the publication of many of them) I was approached by a
British scholar who had been given access to some finds in a
Jordanian cave (just like the Scrolls!). Most of them are lead books,
some sealed, covered with letters in the archaic Hebrew script, and
ancient Jewish symbols – menorahs (7-branched candlestick),
date-palms, stars,  bunches of grapes. But there is also a portrait
of Alexander the Great, of a crocodile, and possibly a depiction of
the crucifixion outside the walls of Jerusalem. I have now looked at
about a hundred images, some of which I have shared with colleagues
around the world, and I am certainly hoping to make sense of them. I
have handled one. They are probably not a hoax or a forgery, but
their exact origin remains mysterious. As well as decorative
lettering, there is also some writing that looks as if it ought to
mean something. So far it can’t be deciphered, but it may be in code.

The urgent problem at the moment is to ensure that the originals
remain accessible. Scientific tests need to be done on these to try
and establish date and origin, but the present possessor (who may or
may not be legal owner) is considering selling them privately for as
much money as he can. My colleagues and I are helping the Jordanian
Department of Antiquities to recover them and enable them to be
properly examined, conserved and displayed.

It is an exciting and mystifyng collection, but I think the time is
too early to speculate about what they mean. The only scientific
tests so far conducted suggest they are not of recent manufacture.
Obviously I hope they are very old, but whatever their origin they
should be able to tell us things we did not know before. I plan to
continue studying these with my academic colleagues around the world,
in the hope that we can begin to make some sense of these curious

Philip Davies


13 responses to “Philip Davies on Lead Codices

  1. Pingback: Philip Davies on Lead Codices | Unsettled Christianity

  2. Pingback: Philip Davies on Lead Codices | Sheffield Biblical Studies « The Musings of Thomas Verenna

  3. I was curious about this comment: ‘So far it can’t be deciphered, but it may be in code.’ I wondered if Prof Davies was aware of the work of Peter Thonemann, whom David Elkington approach last September, and who believed he *had* deciphered them. The details can be found here

  4. Pingback: Philip Davies on Lead Codices: ‘probably not a hoax or a forgery’ | Fr Stephen's Blog

  5. Pingback: The Lead Codices and

  6. I’m glad Philip is aware. But Thonemann’s work shows quite conclusively these are fake. Someone on my blog has posted:

    ‘The comments beneath the latest article pretty much determine this man as a fake. He’s a dead-beat father who dis-inherited his son at 3 months.
    He uses an alias – as does his partner who is actually American, and more.

    But undoubtedly the reason he’s pushing all this mysetry now is because his the rights to his book (and film) will be up for auction at a book fair next month.

    he’s been shown as a con-man who is hoping to make a big wad of cash, Dan Brown ‘The Da Vinci Code’ style.”

    I wouldn’t like to see Philip caught up in all this unwittingly.

  7. I have sent Philip an email with important additional information on this. I know he is away during April, but he ought to read it as soon as he can.

    Many thanks

  8. Pingback: Latest Discovery: Lead Codices NOT Forged! Definitive Proof | Remnant of Giants

  9. Pingback: Philip Davies on the Lead Plates | Hamblin of Jerusalem

  10. I am of course aware of the considerable testimony concerning the character of David Elkington and Jennifer Solignac, ad I have two comments to make. One is that I am not going to get involved in this, but if the allegations are true I cannot see why they have not been made more public and the couple found and confronted. Claims that people are scared to do so sound a bit hollow. This is not to say I am dismissing these claims at all, but there is no way to evaluate them unless we get some definitive confrontation or some tangible proof. Let’s see it! My second comment is that I do not see a necessary connection between the possible fraudulence of the codices and the possible fraudulence of this couple. There may be a connection, if both are fraudulent, but one cannot infer one from the other. I am concentrating on the artifacts, a few of which are surely modern fakes, but the lead codices themselves quite probably not. Until they are available for the whole range of scientific testing we just won’t know. I just wish this would move on a bit quicker!

  11. Pingback: The Lead Codices and leaden minds « Archaeology of the Historical Jesus

  12. Pingback: The Lead Codices and leaden minds « History Hunters InternationalHistory Hunters International

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