The Unbelievable Past Conference, 14–16 September, 2016

Fragments of an Unbelievable Past?

Constructions of Provenance, Narratives of Forgery

University of Agder


Open lecture at Myren Gård:

18:00– Nina Burleigh (Newsweek), “Unholy Business: A True Tale of Faith, Greed and Forgery in the Holy Land”

20:00 Dinner


Thursday (A7–006)

9:00 – 9:15 Årstein Justnes (University of Agder), “[An Unbelievable] Introduction”


Session I, chair: Årstein Justnes (University of Agder)

9:15 – 10:15 Nina Burleigh (Newsweek), “The Post-Factual Museum: Curating Ancient History to Influence Politics 101”

10:15 – 10:30 Coffee break

10:30 – 11:30 Roberta Mazza (University of Manchester), “Papyrology and Ethics: The Problem of Provenance”

11:30 – 12:30 Nils Hallvard Korsvoll (MF Norwegian School of Theology), “See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil: How Is Authenticity Dealt with When Provenance Is Not an Issue?”

12:30 – 13:15 Lunch (meeting room A)


Session II, chair: Tor Vegge (University of Agder)

13:15 – 14:15 Nicola Denzey Lewis (Brown University), “Rethinking the Origins of the Nag Hammadi Library”

14:15 – 15:15 Eva Mroczek (University of California, Davis), “The Secret Lives of Texts: The Discovery Narrative as a Literary and Theological Tradition”

15:15 – 15:45 Coffee break

15:45 – 16:30 Torleif Elgvin (NLA University College), “Nine Suspicious Fragments with Problematic Material Features”

16:30 – 17:30 Kipp Davis (Trinity Western University), “Gleanings from the Cave of Wonders? Patterns of Correspondence in the Post-2002 DSS Fragments”

17:30 – Prosecco and a light meal

19:30 Dinner


Friday (A7-001)

Session III, chair: Torleif Elgvin (NLA University College)

9:00 – 10:00 Liv Ingeborg Lied (MF Norwegian School of Theology), “Media Dynamics and Academic Knowledge Production: Tracing the Role of the Media in the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife Saga”

10:00 – 11:00 Tommy Wasserman (Örebro School of Theology & Ansgar School of Theology), “Simonides’ New Testament Papyri: Their Production and Purported Provenance”


University Library, 2nd floor

11:30 – 13:00 “The Unbelievable Tale of Jesus’s Wife”: A conversation between journalist Ariel Sabar and professor Liv Ingeborg Lied about his Atlantic Magazine investigation into the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife

13:00 – Lunch (meeting room A)

8 thoughts on “The Unbelievable Past Conference, 14–16 September, 2016

  1. David Meadows made some interesting comments (June 24, 2016) about the “Jesus Wife” ms case. For example, the photo of a Greek papyrus posted by the Walter Fritz Nefer Art company that looks like a modern fake may include drawing of a “fascinum” near a woman’s pudenda. If so, it apparently would be the winged variety. (scroll down for the post and comments)

    The research and reporting by Ariel Sabar in The Atlantic is indeed fine. Yet I wonder how he regards his earlier contract with The Smithsonian that may have imposed not only an embargo but also, reportedly, a stipulation not to consult with “outside” scholars. Also, to what extent did online contributions questioning the provenance claims spur him (or you, if you read this) to further research?


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