Fraudulent biblical artifacts come a dime a dozen, but reputable archaeologists are turning out to be far less common, Nina Burleigh writes in the Los Angeles Times. The latest example involves an Israeli collector who claimed to have relics from the time of Christ. Declaring the items forgeries, authorities prosecuted the man, but a judge’s doubt could undermine the case and threaten the integrity of the antiquities market.
One archaeologist said he felt the case put archaeology itself on trial. The case also shows that Israeli authorities are unable to spot fakes, writes Burleigh, and the Jewish state’s legal system shouldn’t have the final word on authenticity. Urging restraint, the author adds that "sober and serious biblical scholars need to take steps to shield the public from their more ruthless colleagues.”