Saturday, February 07, 2009


'Cypriot Bible Could Be from Jesus' Time' -- ??

Yeesh. As an alleged piece of newswriting, this is a p.o.s.

Y'all tear into what little content there is, why don'tcha, while I go learn how to be a deacon.


Could there be a little more bizarre and ironic statement than:

"Further investigations turned up a prayer statue and a stone carving of Jesus believed to be from a church in the Turkish held north, as well as dynamite.
The police have charged the detainees with smuggling antiquities, illegal excavations and the possession of explosives."

Hmmm, antiquities and dynamite.
Isn't more a case of a bad headline describing a not-quite routine police bust? The same story, without the speculation on the provenance of the manuscript in question, could have been written with the headline, "Police Arrest Smugglers, Thieves" - putting the antiquities theft in the context of general theft and mayhem (dynamite!) also going on.

I wonder how long it will be before someone somewhere starts shouting that this disproves the entire history of the development of the Biblical canon. "See? See? They had the Bible in Jesus' day! This PPPRROOOVVESS it!"

Not too long, I'm sure.
It is signed by Jesus?
DrL: In draft. By autopen.
Good, I thought It might have been in magic marker. That of course would mean it was a fake.

By the way have any of you ever wanted to kill a headline writer that screwed your story?
All the time. But this headline accurately reflects the story; see second sentence of second graf.
I'm all deaced now, by the way. Whew. I haven't served on any kind of organization board in a dozen years! As a Jaycees director, where the meetings at least went down easier with beer. :-)

It's all good, though. Very hands-on stuff, and I'm glad to do it.
"Turkish Cypriot police testified in a court hearing they believe the manuscript could be about 2,000 years old." OK, then I stand corrected. You are right - it is a p.o.s. story. Of course, burying the lede like that is kind of funny, but the whole story is kind of funny, really. Is it about the authenticity of this manuscript or some antiquities thieves? Is it about antiquities thieves who stole a forgery, or created one? All sorts of questions with no real answers, least of all whether the manuscript in question really is from two thousand years ago (I vote no, by the way, but I base that wholly and completely on nothing but a hunch).

I suggest sending ER to Cyprus and allowing him to get to the bottom of it and write a real story. Of course, I can't contribute to the trip, but it is a thought . . .
What the heck would Turkish police know about the provenance of any manuscript?? Of ocurse, I might be underestimating the capabilities of the Turkish police.

The whole dang story just reeks. We all know this, but it has to be said out loud: There was no "Bible," as we know it, in "Jesus' time." Arrgh.

I rarely see such multiple levels of garden-variety ignorance from Reuters.
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