Cultural Heritage and Modern Inscriptional Forgeries in the Marketplace
The Intersection of Law, Ethics, and Biblical Studies

Christopher A. Rollston

2388th Meeting Abstract
Friday, February 9, 2018 at 8:00 PM

About the Lecture:

Cultural heritage is progenitive aspect of human existence.  It has become a prominent subject of public discourse in the 21st century, and is increasingly a focus of national and international enforcement actions.  The US State Department, for instance, has become active across the globe in efforts for protect cultural heritage.  And the US Justice Department also has undertaken actions to enforce cultural heritage protections, recently levied a fine of three million dollars against one US business for crimes of this type  Nonetheless, problems abound.  There is a legal antiquities market in some countries and the sale of antiquities on underground antiquities markets is rampant.  The problems are so difficult that numerous honest auction houses and museums have found themselves in particularly precarious positions because of false provenances.  To make matter worse, modern forgers are making and selling forged artifacts of some quality.   Those with fraudulent inscriptions in Hebrew, Greek, and Coptic being among the most famous modern forgeries.  This lecture will discuss modern problems preserving cultural heritage and how cultural institutions and believers are affected by forgeries involving their heritage.

Cultural Heritage


About the Speaker

Christopher Rollston is Professor of Northwest Semitic Languages and Literatures in the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Languages and Civilization at the George Washington University.  Previously, he was a member of the faculty in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Johns Hopkins University, National Endowment Scholar at the Albright Institute for Archeological Research, Visiting Professor of Northwest Semitic Languages at Tel Aviv University, National Endowment Scholar at the American Center of Oriental Research, Amman, and Toyozo Nakarai Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Languages are the Emmanuel School of Religion.  He has made many invited lectures throughout the world and works in more than a dozen ancient and modern languages, including but remarkably not limited to ancient Hebrew, Phoenician, Aramaic, Palmyrene, Nabataean, Ammonite, Moabite, Edomite, Ugaritic, Akkadian, Hellenistic Greek, Classical Latin, Sahidic Coptic and modern German, French, Spanish, and Italian.

He has conducted research at museums and departments of antiquity in Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Syria, Europe and throughout North America and Europe, and he has undertaken excavations at Umm el-Marra in Syria and Megiddo in Israel.

Chris has published numerous scholarly articles and books, including articles in the Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, the Journal of Biblical LiteratureNear Eastern ArchaeologyAntiguo OrienteIsrael Exploration JournalTel Aviv, and MAARAV.   He has also published widely in the popular press and made numerous appearances in the media. 

Christopher earned his MA and PhD at The Johns Hopkins University in ancient Northwest Semitic Languages and Literatures.

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