Brown-Bag Seminars

The Lying Pen of Scribes arranges brown-bag seminars at the University of Agder, Campus Kristiansand, which is a good opportunity to engage in scholarly discussion. Dates, room number, and program are listed in the table below.

Autumn 2019

If nothing else is indicated, the seminars take place between 12:00 am and 12:45 pm.


Date Room Program
August 14 A7 001 The Holy Compromisers is a four part brown bag lunch series, lectures from Nina Burleigh, an American journalist and author, who has covered the American religious right for decades, followed by Q and A discussions, exploring various ways the white evangelical Christian political movement in America has compromised basic Christian principles of mercy charity and love, aligned itself with an anti-democratic, authoritarian political movement and often corrupt private individuals and political leaders in order to break down the wall between church and state and insert its regressive values into law and culture.

Nina Burleigh, “Fakes, Forgers, Con Men and Collectors” (The Holy Compromisers Part 1)

The first part of this series is a discussion about how the Hobby Lobby Green family collected, planned, built and then filled the National Bible Museum with fakes and illicit objects, lighting up the illicit Middle Eastern antiquities market along the way, all in the pursuit of sharing proof for faith — within a few blocks of the U.S. Capitol.

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August 28 A7 001 Anastasia Vatousiadi, International Hellenic University (Thessaloniki), “The case of removed Byzantine cultural objects from monasteries in North Greece during the 1st World War currently housed in Princeton University (Princeton’s Department of Rare Books and Special Collections)”

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September 11 A7 001 Nina Burleigh, “Unholy Business Revisited” (The Holy Compromisers Part 2)

An update on the close ties between antiquities dealers and scholars in the high-end Biblical antiquities world, from the James Ossuary and the Jehoash Inscription to new revelations regarding forged Dead Sea Scrolls fragments. The lecture will be streamed.

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September 25 A7 001 Nils H. Korsvoll, “A Summer with Art Crime and Illegal Antiquities”

Nils presents themes and highlights from a two months summer course arranged by ARCA – Association for Research Against Art Crime. The lecture will be streamed.

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October 16 A7 002 Nina Burleigh, “Money, Money, Money, Money!” (The Holy Compromisers Part 3)

An introduction to the principles in and expansion of “The Prosperity Gospel” and to the megachurch millionaire pastors and televangelists who advise the President and his evangelical cabinet members, and an exploration into how these men and women have inserted their creed directly into Congress, the White House, and Washington DC generally, embedded deep inside the power centers of the Capitol, dictating policy on social welfare, education, and even foreign policy.

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October 23 A7 002 Tommy Wasserman, Ansgar School of Theology, “Constantine Simonides’s ‘Codex Mayerianus’ and Its Model – extended version” (NB! The seminar ends at 1:00 pm.)

Constantine Simonides (1824–1890[?]) is known as one of the greatest manuscript forgers in history. During the 19th century, he travelled to many countries in Europe trying to sell forged as well as authentic Greek manuscripts to collectors, scholars, and curators of prominent libraries. This paper (co-written with Malcolm Choat) focuses on arguably the most spectacular of all his forgeries, “Codex Mayerianus,” an alleged first-century papyrus codex containing the autograph of Matthew alongside texts of James and Jude. I will discuss its purported provenance, external features, text, and accompanying critical edition. Furthermore, I will identify for the first time the model Simonides used for this famous forgery. Finally, I hope the seminar can discuss the implications in relation to modern forgeries of ancient manuscripts (and provenance stories).

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November 18 A7 002 Nina Burleigh, “Christian Zionism and American foreign policy” (The Holy Compromisers Part 4)

How and why did Iran become the next Iraq? A discussion of the long and strange alliance between Evangelical Christian Zionists (who believe Jews will all convert) and the Israeli ultra-right, culminating in finally seizing full power through Donald Trump, who, under the influence of his son in law, a long time Netanyahu ally, and other deep-pockets Israelis like Sheldon Adelson, moved the US embassy to Jerusalem, effectively ended American leadership on finding an equitable solution for Palestinians and secular Israelis, and are now agitating for war against Iran on behalf of Israel and its allies in the Middle East, the Gulf monarchies.

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November 26 A7 001 Josephine Munch Rasmussen and Årstein Justnes, “Critical Provenance Research: Towards a Definition”

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Spring 2019

If nothing else is indicated, the seminars take place between 11:30 am and 12:15 pm.

Date Room Program
January 8 A7 002 Rick Bonnie, University of Helsinki, “Finland in the Global Antiquities Trade: Problems and Prospects.” NB! The seminar ends at 1:00 pm.
January 23 A7 002 SBL International Meeting: getting the abstracts ready session
January 30 A7 001 Årstein Justnes, “New Projects”
February 13 A7 001 Årstein Justnes, “Update”
February 20 A7 001 Josephine Munch Rasmussen, “Regulating the import and export of cultural objects in Norway”
February 27 A7 002 Michael Press, “How Archaeology Is Conducted in the West Bank”
March 13 A7 001 Josephine Munch Rasmussen & Årstein Justnes: Update Kersel-visit and RCN application
March 20 A7 001 Morag Kersel, DePaul University, “The pathways of pots: The movement of Early Bronze Age vessels from the Dead Sea Plain, Jordan”.

NB! The seminar ends at 1:00 pm. Abstract: In order to go from the mound to the market to the mantelpiece or museum, Early Bronze Age (3600–2000 BCE) pots move: movement that can be positive or negative. While the ideal path of a pot may have been to remain as a grave good buried with ancient ancestors, an examination of ceramic vessels from sites along the Dead Sea Plain in Jordan has resulted in the recognition that these vessels have extensive itineraries. National and international legislative bodies, law, and policy facilitate, inhibit, and/or encourage the movement of these objects. Passing through many hands, crossing national and international borders, for eventual sale to individuals and institutions, the pathway of pots forms a three-part commodity chain where artifacts are transformed from illegal to legal. Situated in the debates over artifact agency, the social lives of things, and object itineraries, this talk is an examination of the pathways of pots.

March 27 A7 002 Josephine Munch Rasmussen & Daniel Harrouz, “Provenance Issues in the Schøyen Collection”
April 3 A7 001 Informal discussion
April 10 The seminar is cancelled in support of an arrangement about decolonialising academia (
April 24 A7 001 Barbara Holler, University of Zurich, “The Financing of Public Sacrifices in the Greek Polis: Talking About Money”
May 8 A7 001 Ludvik A. Kjeldsberg, “Protestant Relics? Exhibiting the Dead Sea Scrolls in the Twenty-First Century US”
May 15 A7 006 Adelheid Voskuhl, University of Pennsylvania, “Knowledge, selfhood, nature, built environments: What does the history of science and technology contribute to the humanities? A Conversation”

NB! The seminar ends at 1:00 pm.

May 22 A7 001 At this semester’s last seminar we will discuss plans for the summer and upcoming semester.

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