Is this the first written mention of Jesus? 2,000-year-old lead tablets found in remote cave ARE genuine, claim researchers


****A Daily Mail article so PLEASE approach it with due skepticism. There was an article on this published in the Times back in early November, so there is truth to the claim that there has been further research conducted that have led to a revision of the original forgery claims but that could be all …

Is this the first written mention of Jesus? 2,000-year-old lead tablets found in remote cave ARE genuine, claim researchers

An ancient set of lead tablets showing the earliest portrait of Jesus Christ have proved to be around 2,000 years old, according to experts.

The metal ‘pages’, held together like a ring binder, were found in Jordan in around 2008 by an Jordanian Bedouin and make reference to Christ and his disciples.


I think I remember when this was first reported. I thought it was determined to be fake. It would be very exciting if it’s true.


Here is a thread on them from 2011


**Jordan Lead Codices not modern forgeries — British experts

AMMAN – Held as one of the most important discoveries in archaeological history, yet contested as “modern forgeries”, codices discovered in Jordan almost a decade ago have been proven authentic by British experts.

In a statement e-mailed to The Jordan Times, the Ion Beam Centre (IBC), based at the University of Surrey, UK, and supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, on November 30 published new evidence of the authenticity of the country’s Lead Codices.

Comprising upwards of 70 ring-bound books made entirely of lead, the codices were found in a remote valley in northern Jordan between 2005-2007, with evidence to suggest that they date back to the 1st or 2nd century AD. Linguistic analysts have claimed that they are the only Hebrew-Christian documents, challenging the significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls discovered mid-century in the caves of Jordan Valley.

A codex, forming part of the Lead Codices collection, was on official loan to the IBC for study from the Department of Antiquities. Director of the IBS, Prof. Roger Webb, and Senior Liaison Fellow, Prof. Chris Jeynes, have reported that the codex did not demonstrate the radioactivity arising from atmospheric polonium that is typical of modern lead samples, indicating that the lead of the codex was smelted over a century ago, and is not a product of modern-day manufacturing.

A further report by independent analyst Matthew Hood, an examiner of the erosion of the codices since 2009, has claimed that the “visible formation of mineral crystals as the metal reverts to organic compounds provides strong evidence of the great age of some of these artifacts”.

“The suspicion of forgery, sown by the bloggers and a rashly published note in the Times Literary Supplement in 2011, has been disproved by several independent scientific tests of the metal as well as yet unpublished expert study of the writing. No one of those actually involved with research on the codices has any doubt about their antiquity,” the statement said. **


And also:

**2000-year-old scrolls with believed first reference to Jesus Christ authenticated

An ancient set of scrolls, believed to be the first reference to Jesus Christ and his disciples, has been confirmed genuine by experts after years of speculation over their authenticity.

The 2000-year-old lead tablets, bound manuscripts known as the “Jordan codices”, were discovered in a Jordan cave in 2008 by an Israeli Bedouin.

Experts have authenticated the earliest portrait of Jesus Christ among the pages held together like a ring binder, along with words and symbols that reveal information about Christianity and Judaism…

The scrolls bear eight-pointed stars, believed to represent the coming of the messiah, and also refers to Jesus by name, and names apostles James, Peter and John.

According to UK authors David and Jennifer Elkington, who publicly announced the tablets’ existence in 2011, the books suggest Jesus was part of a Hebrew sect dating back to King David.

The tablets say the sect worshipped in the Temple of Solomon where the face of God was believed to have been seen.

Since the discovery of the codices five years ago a number of academics and Christian evangelicals have declared them probable fakes.

However, new tests have confirmed one of the books bears similarities to a sample of ancient Roman lead, found in the South West England county of Dorset…

Prof Roger Webb and Prof Chris Jeynes studied the scrolls at the University of Surrey’s Nodus Laboratory and validated their legitimacy.

If the books are genuine, they would offer new insights into the life of Jesus Christ, and fill in some gaps left from the Bible.

“While there may be variations in decay and corrosion that depend upon the environmental conditions in which the objects were stored or hidden, there is a strong underlying theme of decay from within the metal,” the researchers said in a press statement.

“It is oxidising and breaking down at atomic level to revert to its natural state.

“This is not witnessed in lead objects that are several centuries old and is not possible to produce by artificial acceleration (e.g. through heating).

“This provides very strong evidence that the objects are of great age, consistent with the studies of the text and designs that suggest an age of around 2000 years.”



Am I missing something here? The codex is supposedly made in the Levant, and they verified the lead looks similar to led found in Briton. And that supposedly validates that the thing was made in the Levant and is authentically talking about Jesus Christ?

come on…really…


As someone entirely lacking in knowledge of archaeology and metallurgical analysis, I honestly don’t know where they are heading with that particular piece of information.

The news reports are all pretty terse and thin on explicit detail.

I did find this:

"crystallisation analysis indicates that the codex is likely to be between 1800-2000 years old."

Read more:

Rowan Williams apparently wants them to be subjected to fresh scrutiny and investigation by experts, on the basis that a forger would likely have come up with something more “mainstream”:

**The former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has called for a fresh examination of the Jordanian Codices, a series of about 50 metal books variously described as a key find in Biblical archaeology and a crude fake, after tests showed they were not made from modern lead…

Williams, now master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, said: “The books are well worth a second glance. If I were a forger, I would frankly forge something more mainstream.”**

Whether forgeries or otherwise, the lead codices are very odd items with the most peculiar contents.

According to various sources, the codices are obsessed with the idea that Jesus restored a thousand year old Davidic tradition, belonged to a mystical Jewish sect that worshipped in the Temple of Solomon where Jesus found “the face of God” and seem to have envisioned God as possessing male and female attributes. :shrug:


The similar lead found in Briton was Roman in origin and apparently brought to Briton long ago.

The samples were then sent to the Swiss National Materials Laboratory at Dubendorf, Switzerland. The results show they were consistent with ancient (Roman) period lead production and that the metal was smelted from ore that originated in the Mediterranean. Dr Northover also said that corrosion on the books was unlikely to be modern.


Are there any other lead codices that date from this period? Or any other lead codices with Greek or Hebrew text at all?

According to various sources, the codices are obsessed with the idea that Jesus restored a thousand year old Davidic tradition, belonged to a mystical Jewish sect that worshipped in the Temple of Solomon where Jesus found “the face of God” and seem to have envisioned God as possessing male and female attributes. :shrug:

There were a lot of sects in the 1st century AD. It could be almost anyone if authentic, and of course a fraud is not out of the question.


Im not sure what they mean when they say Jesus was not attempting to form a new religion, or the part about God being both male and female…?


Shortly after Jesus’ death and resurrection a number of strange sects grew up in which Jesus was featured. But that does not mean these pages were mainstream, reflected the reality of Jesus life or teachings or the recollections of the apostles. Erroneous beliefs do not become believable just because they’re old. (if these truly are that old)


Very true.

St. Paul’s letters are chock-full of criticisms of the heretical beliefs of groups of Christians in his churches - and that was in the 50s AD!

So, you could have a very ancient document - theoretically, not saying this one is authentic - that is massively important as a witness to Early Christianity but isn’t mainstream.


Actually, we have documented proof of there being archaic sects or heterodox theological perspectives within Early Jewish Christianity, that described the Holy Spirit as the “mother” of Jesus, invoking the femininity of the hebraic shekhinah.

For instance, we have testimony from Church Fathers commenting upon the non-canonical Gospel of the Hebrews, which probably contained traditions dating from the first century:

The Gospel of the Hebrews (Greek: τὸ καθ’ Ἑβραίους εὐαγγέλιον), or Gospel according to the Hebrews, was a syncretic Jewish–Christian gospel, the text of which is lost; only fragments of it survive as brief quotations by the early Church Fathers and in apocryphal writings. The fragments contain traditions of Jesus’ pre-existence, incarnation, baptism, and probable temptation, along with some of his sayings.[2] Distinctive features include a Christology characterized by the belief that the Holy Spirit is Jesus’ Divine Mother and a first resurrection appearance to James, the brother of Jesus, showing a high regard for James as the leader of the Jewish Christian church in Jerusalem.[3] It was probably composed in Greek in the first decades of the 2nd century, and is believed to have been used by Greek-speaking Jewish Christians in Egypt during that century.[4]

“…Even so did my mother, the Holy Spirit, take me by one of my hairs and carry me away on to the great mountain Tabor…” (Origen, Commentary on John 2.12.87)

So if these codices really do come from a Jewish-Christian milieu in the 1st-2nd centuries - the faction St. Paul labelled the “circumcised” who disliked the opening of the nascent church to the gentiles without strict adherence to the Torah, we would expect to find God described as both male and female…which, we do oddly enough…

As such, this “hermaphrodite” understanding of God is one of the factors tending towards the possibility (again not suggesting this to be the case) that the codices really are authentic and do go back to the 1st or 2nd centuries.

If you were going to forge something about Jesus and pull it off successfully, chances are that you would want Christians to recognize it as something familiarly Christian. While these tablets do not directly conflict with the gospel narratives, these theological peculiarities are not “mainstream” and are actually quite bizarre to modern orthodox Christian minds.

But ancient people were often very bizarre if you consider them from our perspective and so a hermaphrodite Divinity might have been acceptable to them.

The text may be a forgery but this detail has given some scholars pause, since if the metallurgical analysis is correct and the lead has not been smelted in modern times, at least within the last 150 years, how likely would a forger from before then be to depict God in such a heterodox manner and expect it to be taken as a genuine artefact?


But that is not what these are. In fact, I have no idea what this is and it seems almost impossible to date it back to any sect.

And they are written in Phonetician… Phonetician, really?


That may be the case, we just don’t know until the academics in question publish their research in full.

Apparently, linguists have weighed in with an as-yet-unpublished thesis on the so-called “paeleo-Hebrew” script that verifies it as not being a forgery.

According to the information we have at hand, the script and symbols describe Jesus, alongside very evident depictions of eight-armed menorahs, Davidic imagery and Solomon’s Temple, as well as mentioning the names of three of the Apostles, so at the very least the codices - if not forgeries, which they may be - must have come from some sort of Jewish-Christian sect…that seems to be the presumption?

If the information we are being provided is correct.


This whole thing begs to be peer reviewed. All the secrecy while the owners sell books on them just smells bad to me.


I am sure it will be, given that there seems to be a groundswell of support from a number of aforementioned experts and scholars - including the former Archbishop of Canterbury - to give this another look.

It may still be a forgery but we now know that there are people studying the codices who believe them to be genuine ancient artefacts.

I suppose we just have to wait and see how this boils over.


Very few people have actually physically seen these codices. And an expert to me is someone who can read what is written on them, and understands the language’s history and the historical narrative of the Levant… and others who are metal experts.

So far one metal expert has viewed them and said the metal is similar to stuff smelted 2000 years ago from “Mediterranean” ore. And the metal shows decay that is consistent with old items. That hardly pin points anything.


Do a little research on the owners of said metal books and draw your own conclusions. I say if it walks like a duck… Seriously Google Jennifer and David Elkington and make up your mind.

…and the so called proof is that the metal is 100 years old. And? So no one smart enough, demented enough or with enough time on their hands lived more than 50 years back?

Finally, the text has been analyzed many times over and been found to be clearly fake.

Funny how this “new evidence” pops up just before Christmas.

Come on…

Finally, as other posters have posted, there were plenty of odd ideas floating around about our Lord when he walked the Earth. Plenty. St. Paul says so!

One more thing, if our Savior really worshiped a male/female God, and was reestablishing a old religion, you don’t think the Holy Spirit would have had the authors include that in the Gospels or NT?

No, no, God just wanted to mess with us because he is a mischievous God (insert eye roll that damages the nerves of the eyes permanently here).

God loves you, but he’s not interested in amusing you with a treasure hunt. That would be weird.

I have to take this further:

God: “Hey Gabriel”

Gabriel: “Hi”.

God: “Watch this, i’m going to throw in a whole male/female thing into the mix in 2016.”

Gabriel: “that’s like 2000 plus years after you gave them the truth, won’t that kind of be… weird?”

God: “Yeah, why not. I’m bored. Plus gender is a hot topic down there.”

Gabriel: “ooookkkkk… (backs up quietly.)”



The Fake Jordan Lead Codices
December 2, 2016 by James F. McGrath 7 Comments

It is distressing to see people blogging and “news” outlets reporting once again about the lead codices from Jordan as though they might conceivably be authentic ancient artifacts. It has been shown that they take text and images from known artifacts and reproduce them over and over again in an attempt to produce something that aims to give a false impression of antiquity, and significance, but making their authenticity less likely rather than more after closer inspection.

That the lead is ancient is as irrelevant as that the papyrus on which the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife is ancient. Modern forgers recycle ancient materials for precisely this purpose, to have the objects date as ancient. And so that is no longer something that provides a basis for the dating of what is written on a particular ossuary, papyrus, or piece of lead.

For the very latest on this, see Jim Davila’s blog post. For more information – available online for the past five years – see the pages, posts, and articles by Steve Caruso, Dan McClellan, David Meadows, Michael Heiser, Tom Verenna, and Jim West.

Dare I hope that Ariel Sabar might do for these objects what he did for the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife?

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