Friday, 24 June 2016

Britain Says No

The hope of Europe.
This Greek newspaper headline of some days ago reads 'Europe now hopes for a miracle'.  I am not sure what miracle they wanted.  But the news from the United Kingdom is OXI; the BBC has just announced that the Referendum has gone in favour of leaving the EU.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Karen King and Her Fake Gospel of Jesus' Wife

Harvard professor Karen King has now conceded that the papyrus she named The Gospel of Jesus' Wife is probably a fake.

Actually it is a fake, and people have been saying so for years, and providing good evidence for saying so, yet even now professor King will say no more than it is 'probably' a fake, adding that she cannot say for certain until she is presented with scientific proof - which is exactly what she did not bother to obtain before declaring the fragment genuine and ensuring that it became a worldwide sensation by gratuitously calling it The Gospel of Jesus' Wife

King's face-saving version of admitting that she was taken in by a fake came after The Atlantic magazine's website published an article that investigated the background of Walter Fritz, the man who placed the fragment in Karen King's hands.

'It appears now that all the material Fritz gave to me concerning the provenance of the papyrus were fabrications', she said. 

Professor King with her fake.
That a fraud might also be accompanied by fraudulent supporting documents would be the first thing a person of scholarship and discernment would check. Yet such is the state of scholarship in this case that it was left to a journalist to expose the truth.
Before King's admission that the fragment is a fake, I had written in The Quest for Mary Magdalene:
Faced with the charge that the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife is a forgery, both King and Harvard went mute. Professor King failed to come forward with everything she knows about the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife, including the full circumstances under which it was bought and sold several times before it came into her possession, and its shady history in Communist East Germany. Quite possibly Professor King knows nothing, for the papyrus fragment was apparently put into her hands without any proof of its provenance, and she never seemed to think that mattered.
That is the amazing and damning thing: She never seemed to think that proof of provenance mattered.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Zahar to Publish The Quest for Mary Magdalene in Brazil

Zahar publishers of Rio de Janeiro have acquired the exclusive Portuguese rights in Brazil to The Quest for Mary Magdalene.

‘We very much liked the book and we consider that this fits very well in our catalogue. Besides all our history list which is strong, we have published in the past with success Zealot by Reza Aslan. This one about Mary Magdalene would be just perfect then!’

Sunday, 5 June 2016

An Alexandria Anthology: Travel Writing through the Centuries

I have only just come upon this mention of An Alexandria Anthology in Aramco World magazine.  You can read the original by clicking here.

An Alexandria Anthology: Travel Writing through the Centuries  
By Michael Haag, ed.
2014, AUC Press, 978-77416-672-3, $18.95 hb.

Reviewed by Robert W. Lebling

'Alexandria. At last. Alexandria, Lady of the Dew. Bloom of white nimbus. Bosom of radiance, wet with sky-water. Core of nostalgia steeped in honey and tears…. Alexandria, I am here.'

This collection of short writings by travelers from Plutarch to Naguib Mahfouz depicts Alexandria from its founding on Egypt’s Mediterranean coast by Alexander the Great, to its Hellenistic golden age, to Roman rule, to the Arab conquest, Alexandria’s rebirth under the pasha Muhammad Ali and its move toward modernity amid the world wars and into today’s era. Some of the works are impressionistic, some starkly realistic, others humorous, melancholy, informative or poetic. Ibn Battuta writes of his 1326 visit, when he viewed the remnants of the legendary Pharos lighthouse. Florence Nightingale (1849) surprises the reader with adventure, as she luxuriates in Pompeian baths, wages war against mosquitos and describes riding one of Alexandria’s sturdy little donkeys, which “runs like a velocipede.” Rich portraits of early 20th-century Alexandria are furnished by the likes of E.M. Forster, Constantine Cavafy and Lawrence Durrell. Durrell’s friend Gwyn Williams describes a chilling descent into the little-known catacombs at Kom el-Shogafa. Amid all this, we are constantly reminded of Durrell’s reference to Alexandria as a “dream city,” where the glorious past hovers over the reality of a sometimes drab but ever genteel (and essentially Levantine) seaside metropolis.