I groaned silently: wall-to-wall cars. Scarce taxis. Noise, pollution, crowded subways.
A day spent either inside rooms or traveling between them, the sun a distant memory. Sure, I replied, knowing that my friend would never have made such a request unless it was important. Suddenly he had my attention. What was up? My friend was a member of a small and discreet group of international dealers, middlemen, and purchasers of high-value antiquities—not all of which carried the required paperwork permitting them to be traded on the open market.
I put a camera and some lenses in a standard-looking briefcase, threw in plenty of film, and jumped in my car for the drive to the station. I met my friend outside a restaurant in a famous London street. He was an American, and with him were two Palestinians, a Jordanian, a Saudi, and an English expert from a major auction house.
They were all expecting me, and after brief introductions the expert from the auction house departed, apparently not wishing to be involved in what was to happen. The rest of us walked to a nearby bank, where we were quickly led through the banking hall, along a short corridor, and into a small private room with frosted windows. As we all stood around a table placed in the middle of the room, making desultory small talk, the bank officials carried in two wooden trunks and laid them down before us. Each trunk bore three padlocks. The Jordanian made a telephone call to Amman.
From the little conversation that ensued which was in Arabic , I gathered that permission had been requested and obtained. The Jordanian then produced a set of keys and unlocked the trunks. They were stuffed full of exact-fitting sheets of cardboard. And on each sheet, I was horrified to note, there were hundreds of pieces of papyrus text roughly fixed to the cardboard by small strips of clear adhesive tape. The texts were written in Aramaic or Hebrew. Accompanying them were Egyptian mummy wrappings inscribed in demotic—the written form of Egyptian hieroglyphics.
I knew that it was common for such wrappings to bear sacred texts, and so the owners of this hoard must have unwrapped at least a mummy or two. The Aramaic or Hebrew texts looked, at first sight, like the Dead Sea Scrolls, which I had seen before, although they were mostly written on parchment. This collection was a treasure trove of ancient documents. I was very intrigued and increasingly desperate to let some scholars know about their existence, perhaps to secure access for them. As the cardboard sheets were removed from the trunks, I was told that the owners were trying to sell the documents to an unspecified European government.
Those present wanted me to take a representative selection of photographs that could be shown to the prospective buyer in order to move the sale one stage further toward a successful conclusion. I then realized which government was the most likely to be interested. But I kept my thoughts to myself. Over the next hour or so, as the trunks were emptied, certain pages were pointed out to me, and standing on a chair, by the soft light filtering through the frosted windows, I took black-and-white photographs.
In all, I shot six rolls of thirty-five-millimeter film—over two hundred photographs. But I was becoming increasingly anxious that these documents might simply vanish into the limbo from which they had emerged. That they might be bought by some purchaser who would sit on them for many years, as had happened with the Nag Hammadi texts and the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Or worse, I feared that without a purchaser, they might simply disappear back into the deepest, darkest recesses of the bank, joining the many other valuable documents known to be locked away in safe-deposit boxes and trunks around the world. It seemed likely that since I had taken a lot of photographs, and since no one would be counting, I would be able to hide at least one of the rolls of film so that there might be at least some proof that this collection even existed.
I successfully slipped one into a pocket. When the photography was finished and the cardboard sheets were being placed back into the trunks, I gave a handful of exposed film rolls to one of the owners. He looked down at them. Other film? I said lamely, trying to present an image of abstracted innocence while ostentatiously patting my pockets. Here it is. I produced the film I was hoping to keep. I was irritated and rather depressed. I really wanted to have some proof of what I had seen. Look, Michael was a professional photographer, and he could do all the developing and print you off as many sets as you need.
That way there is no risk.tywahikeje.cf
Book Review of: The Jesus Papers
Naturally I printed a full set of photographs for myself. Later I arranged to meet the Jordanian—who seemed to be in charge—for lunch, where I was to give him the prints and negatives. During lunch I argued that if some scholars could look at the texts and identify what they saw, then perhaps their insight would be helpful in raising the value of the collection.
I asked the Jordanian if he would give me permission to speak to a few experts on the matter—very discreetly, of course. After some thought, he agreed that this was probably a good idea, but he made it very clear that neither I nor the experts could talk about this collection to anyone else.
I had dealt with the department before during the course of researching one of my books, From the Omens of Babylon , and I trusted the scholars there not only to give me an honest opinion but to maintain confidentiality as well. The expert I had dealt with before was not there, and one of his colleagues came into the small anteroom and spoke with me instead. I briefly told him the story about the trunks of documents and about my photographs.
I stressed that this was a commercial exercise for the owners and that I would be very grateful for his discretion, since large sums of money sometimes cause equally large problems. I requested that he find someone competent in the field to take a look at these photos to see if they were of any importance.
If so, I would do my best to get the interested scholar access to the entire collection. I then passed over my set of prints. Weeks passed. I heard nothing from the British Museum. I became concerned. Finally, after a month, I returned to the museum and made my way up to the Western Asiatic Department. I met with another expert there. I brought a set of photographs in a month ago, which I had taken of a large number of papyrus texts.
I have not heard anything back from you. I wonder if anyone has had a chance to take a look at them? I went through the story again for his benefit. He seemed distracted, unconcerned.
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They were most likely given to another specialist who was working there for a time and who had now left. I never heard any more about them. Without a written receipt for them, there was nothing I could do. Luckily I had a few reject prints still at home so I could prove that the collection did in fact exist, but not nearly enough to give anyone an idea of the range of subjects that might have been in it. An expert, looking at my few remaining prints, identified most of the texts as records of commercial transactions. Ten or twelve years later I was walking down a street lined with expensive shops in a large Western city when I saw one of the Palestinians who had been present in the bank that day.
I went up to him and asked if he remembered me. Of course, he replied. You were the colleague of… and he gave the name of my friend. You know, I began, I have always wondered what happened to those ancient texts I photographed that day in the bank.
Were they ever sold? I cannot say that I was surprised, for I have spent many years living in a world where potentially crucial keys to the mysteries of our past are simultaneously available and elusive.
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As we will see, these trunks of documents are not the only such examples of important evidence remaining, tantalizingly, just out of reach. This letter certainly did. The document was exchanged for a very large sum and concealed or destroyed. It came from a respected and highly educated Church of England vicar, the Rev. Douglas William Guest Bartlett.
His annual income was approximately ten dollars. He gained a notoriety that has lasted to the present day by obtaining, in the early s, from mysterious sources, for equally mysterious reasons, considerable wealth. But the treasure he found, according to Bartlett, was not the glittering deposit we had at first supposed perhaps the lost treasure of the Temple in Jerusalem , but something far more extraordinary—some documents concerning Jesus and therefore the very basis of Christianity.
At the time this seemed too wild for us to even consider and so we left it on file. We had certainly suspected that something odd was going on in the dark corridors of history, but while working on Holy Blood, Holy Grail we were discovering all manner of unexpected and highly controversial data that would take us far away from the concerns of this letter, so we tabled it for future scrutiny. Yet, intrigued by this bland, outrageous, but confident letter, we kept returning to it. What, in fact, we thought, racking our brains, would constitute incontrovertible evidence of anything in history?
Documents, we supposed, but what sort of documents would be beyond doubt? The most believable documents, we thought, would be the most apparently mundane, those with no agenda to serve, no argument to support—an inventory perhaps, a historical equivalent of a shopping list. Something like a Roman legal document stating in a matter-of-fact manner: Item: Alexandria, Fourth year of Claudius A.
After Holy Blood, Holy Grail appeared and the dust had settled, out of personal curiosity more than anything else, we decided to visit the author of the letter and see what we could make of him. We needed to know whether he was believable or not. He lived in Leafield, Oxfordshire, a rural county of England comprising idyllic villages with stone houses centered upon the ancient university town of Oxford. The Rev. Bartlett lived in one of the small villages set in the higher country to the northwest of the county.
We talked to him one afternoon in his garden, sitting on a wooden bench. It was the normality of the setting that made the topic of our conversation all the more remarkable. In the s, I was living in Oxford, reported the Rev. I saw him every day. He was an expert in medieval French and for that reason was often consulted on difficult translation work.
During their daily talks, Lilley and Bartlett became closer, and Lilley eventually trusted Bartlett sufficiently to tell him an extraordinary story. In the early s, Lilley reported, he had been asked by a young man, a former student of his, to travel to Paris to the Seminary of Saint Sulpice to advise on the translation of a strange document or perhaps documents—Bartlett could no longer remember exactly that had appeared from a source that was never divulged.
At Saint Sulpice there was a group of scholars whose task it was to comb through all the documents that came in—a task performed, Lilley suspected, at the request of a Vatican cardinal. Perhaps it seemed so outrageous to them that they thought they were misunderstanding it in some manner.
It was a very delicate matter. Lilley laughed over what was going to happen when the French priests told anyone about it. In fact, Lilley thought that the Church would ultimately destroy these documents. Lilley was quite certain that these documents were authentic. They were extraordinary and upset many of our ideas about the Church. Contact with the material, he said, led to an unorthodoxy.
Lilley did not know for certain where the documents had come from but believed that they had once been in the possession of the heretical Cathars in the south of France during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, even though they were much older. He was also sure that following the demise of the Cathars the documents had been held in Switzerland until the wars of the fourteenth century, when they were taken to France. By the end of his life, Bartlett explained, Lilley had come to the conclusion that there was nothing in the Gospels that one could be certain about.
He had lost all conviction of truth. Henry and I were stunned. Bartlett was no fool. To call him highly educated was something of an understatement.
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He clearly admired Canon Lilley and greatly respected his learning and had no doubt whatsoever that Lilley had been accurately describing the document, or documents, he had seen during that trip to Paris. We needed to study Lilley and see if we could glean any further information about the material concerning Jesus and determine who at the Seminary of Saint Sulpice and the Vatican might have had an interest in it.
The Modernists wished to revise the dogmatic assertions of church teachings in the light of the discoveries made by science, archaeology, and critical scholarship. Many theologians were realizing that their confidence in the historical validity of New Testament stories was misplaced. For example, William Inge, Dean of St.
He declined, saying that there was not nearly enough solid evidence to write anything at all about him. Josephus was born in 37 A. He was the son of a priest named Matthias and at the age of 19 he became a Pharisee in Jerusalem. Later in his life he was appointed a commander in Galilee during the Jewish revolt against Rome. After surrendering to the Romans, he was taken before the Roman Commander Vespasian and prophesied that God had shown him in a dream that Vespasian and his son Titus would soon become Emperor's of Rome. Shortly afterwards the dream became reality and Josephus became a member of Vespasian's household.
During his stay in Rome he wrote two works dealing with Jewish history. In his work entitled Jewish Antiquities, which was written between 70 and A. Harper Collins Here is a quote from the editors at Barnes and Noble Bookstore How can you call something "irrefutable proof" that you haven't even seen? And that's exactly what the Fox News reporter said to him, and I quote I love what the reporter said to him next For once I agree with Fox News. Baigent's The Jesus Papers is just another a hoax!
These Bible critics and skeptics crawl out of the sewer, desperately looking for any new con angle to sell a book. And the heathen world sucks it in. John tells us why, " For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. In these last days, many false prophets are walking among us Michael Baigent is a false prophet!
According to 1st John , Baigent is a liar and an antichrist, " Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. The Apostle Paul makes it very clear in Acts that the life and work of the Lord Jesus Christ was in the open, for all to see, not done in some private corner King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest. Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.