Chanan Tigay

In 1883, a treasure hunter named Moses Wilhelm Shapira claimed he had found the world’s oldest Bible scroll. But then his nemesis accused him of forging it, and Shapira died humiliated. Over a century later, journalist and San Francisco State professor Chanan Tigay crossed five continents over five years to find out the truth. Tigay joins us to talk about “The Lost Book of Moses: The Hunt for the World’s Oldest Bible” and about the surprising discovery he made on the fifth floor of the SFSU library.

Guests:
Chanan Tigay,
journalist and professor of creative writing, San Francisco State University; author, “The Lost Book of Moses: The Hunt for the World’s Oldest Bible”

The Search for the World’s Oldest Bible 28 September,2017Michael Krasny

  • geraldfnord

    I just want to find (and sell) one of the early printings of the ‘King James’ version of the Bible (and New Testament) that commands ‘Thou shalt commit adultery.’.

  • EIDALM

    In 1856 Moses Shapira, a Polish born jew and recent convert to Christianity, arrived in Jerusalem and joined the Anglican community of Jewish converts at Christ Church, by 1866 he became Moses Wilhelm Shapira, he opened a bookstore that specialize in antiquity, the shop soon became a popular destination for scholars and tourists who visited Jerusalem, some years later he sold the British Museum several scrolls written in early Hebrew script for one million dollars claiming that that they were an early version Deuteronomy .allegedly from the time of Moses, bur after a thorough examination they were identified as forgeries , and in 1884 Shapira committed suicide, Michael Krasny guest Chanan Tigay after lots of research thinks the lost scrolls were NOT forgery after all…..Now I would like to hear why Chanan Tigay reached this conclusion.

    • Max Varázsló

      Modern Biblical scholarship links the Book of Deuteronomy with the reign of King Josiah in Judah, roughly 625 BCE. It’s difficult to imagine such a text being composed long before the Jewish monarchy came into existence with King Saul about four centuries earlier. Scholars are skeptical about Moses too. Would he have flourished during the 18th Dynasty in Egypt, as tradition maintains, or is he likely to have taken on Pharaoh Mer-ne-ptah in the 19th Dynasty to see his people freed from bondage? What about the King James Only movement in Christianity whose adherents believe that the English text of 1611, modernized somewhat in 1769, is just as Divinely inspired (and infallible) as the original manuscripts? They reject the findings of all contemporary Bible scholars.

  • geraldfnord

    Amusing that a version of Deuteronomy should be adjudged a forgery—one doesn’t have to be much of a cynic to wonder about the priests’ originally ‘finding’ another book of Moses’ that just happens to conform to their ideas and vouch for their rights.

    • Curious

      You need to keep better control of all of your various handles.

  • enzo sanchez

    Amusing that a version of Deuteronomy should be adjudged a forgery—one doesn’t have to be much of a cynic to wonder about the priests’ originally ‘finding’ another book of Moses’ that just happens to conform to their ideas and vouch for their rights.

  • jakeleone

    Wouldn’t it be just fitting, if we find the oldest bible, and it starts with “A Long Long Long Time Ago, in a Universe Far, Far Away…”

  • Robert Thomas

    Isn’t there a long history of their having been alternately a Time to Embrace, and a Time to Refrain from Embracing “Biblical Archaeology” as legitimate scholarship?

    In the modern era, a science like archaeology proceeds legitimately by investigating objects uncovered in the world and then attempting to explain their relationships with one another – as opposed to being directed in its investigation by texts of Revealed Truth.

    The theme of doctrinal overturn and potential upheaval has been explored many times in fiction, as it was in Irving Wallace’s thriller The Word (Simon & Schuster 1972). In that story, an ancient text purported to be a Gospel according to James the Just is reported found, the content of which is revisionist with respect to the early life of Jesus. Wallace used many historical instances to create the narrative.

  • Keith Charles Cannon

    The world’s oldest Torah was found at Qumran; it has been reliably dated and matches the KJV except that there is no BOOK OF ESTHER found at Qumran…. Which to me indicates that it was more of a Babylon invasion and not a Babylon Captivity at all. The main point here is that Devarim… aka Deuteronomy…. commands Jews to kill everything that breathes in the land now called Israel, to use usury to possess people’s land and to destroy other people’s religions and replace them with the G-d of Israel and the Torah. All of this and what has gone on is an attempt to hide Jewish hegemony and acts of genocide commited by Jews. Babylon is part of the area in which Jews are supposed to kill everything that breathes…
    To wit…

    And you shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and you shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place.

    Can you dig why this Book was buried and why King Josiah had to dig it up? Can you understand why Shapira would offer a version of Devarim missing these commandment? Are you aware that anyone that removes even on letter of the Torah is to be tortured and four generations of their children are to share in this fate?

    Meanwhile… Did anyone notice that Trump’s RUSSIAN CONNECTION, Felix Sater, was named “Man of the Year 2014” by his Rabbi?
    Let me know when Trump bombs Israel and steals their wall…. OK?

    • Max Varázsló

      The Book of Esther, of which there are two principal versions, was never part of the Torah. The Torah is not to be confused with the Tanakh. It is fairly well documented in a number of sources that thousands of Jews — citizens of Imperial Judah — were indeed deported to various parts of the Babylonian Empire during the 6th century BCE. Though deracinated and no longer politically independent, many of them prospered there. Probably the majority assimilated into the pluralistic Babylonian society. Only a handful chose to return and breathe new life into their ancient legends.

      • Keith Charles Cannon

        I didn’t say that the Book of Esther was part of the. Torah, I said that the Qumran scrolls match the KJV. except that there is no Book of Esther at Qumran….. Most likely because Jews actually invaded Babylon and killed 75,000 men, women and children there because the Torah…. Devarim…. Deuteronomy…. Commands Jews to KILL EVERYTHING THAT BREATHES…. show no mercy… utterly destroy…. Break down altars, cut down sacred groves and destroy sacred images with fire.
        I would appreciate it if comments would stick to this point instead of trying to draw attention elsewhere by nitpicking ridiculous details about how Qumran scrolls and the KJV are not EXACTLY alike when it is obvious they have the same message.

    • Max Varázsló

      Oh, and the Qumran texts don’t match the Textus Receptus used as the basis of the King James Version exactly. They are close but do exhibit variances.

  • EIDALM

    The Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaton was the creator and first man to advance the concept of Monotheism, he reigned from 1353 BC to 1336 BC, that may coincide with the timeline of Moses….Read Sigmund Freud essay about Moses and Monotheism, where he laim that Moses and Akhenaton are the same person. .

    • Max Varázsló

      Monotheism didn’t originate with Akhenaton. Atenism as documented, furthermore, was considerably different from any form of monotheism practiced by Hebrew-speaking peoples. Freud didn’t claim that Moses and Akhenaton were the same person, but instead that Moses was brought up in the pharaoh’s court. Archaeology was not Freud’s specialty, and he admits as much in his book, which was presented as speculation, not science. Modern Biblical scholarship has largely done away with the figure of Moses and the whole account of the Exodus recorded in the Hebrew Bible. The long discourses that make up most of the Book of Deuteronomy reflect a much later period in history. Moses served as a mythical mouthpiece for the short-lived reforms instituted by Josiah in the 7th century BCE that formed the core of later Jewish belief and practice.

      • EIDALM

        Totally disagree.

        • Max Varázsló

          It was Egyptian author Ahmed Osman, not Freud, who advanced the idea that Moses and Akhenaten were the same person, a theory uniformly rejected by qualified Egyptologists. Osman also theorized that Jesus was actually King Tut mythologized into an anachronistic messianic figure. That idea speaks for itself.

        • EIDALM

          Near all scholars agree that Akhenaton was the first to advance the concept of Monotheism, that is one god for all, as Abraham and others before him were limited to their Hebrew god.

          • Max Varázsló

            To which scholars, near or far, are you referring? Most don’t classify Atenism as a type of monotheism at all, though some do.

  • De Blo

    An excellent topic as we rapidly approach the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation that brought Christianity back to its Biblical roots.

  • Keith Charles Cannon

    What, if any, difference is there between this two thousand year oldDead Sea Scroll of Isaiah and the book of Isaiah in the Bible on your shelf?

    The answer to that is six words;

    and that difference is attributed to spelling. (Ancient Paleo-Hebrew and Modern Hebrew are extremely different.)

Host

Michael Krasny

Michael Krasny, PhD, has been in broadcast journalism since 1983. He was with ABC in both radio and television and migrated to public broadcasting in 1993. He has been Professor of English at San Francisco State University and also taught at Stanford, the University of San Francisco and the University of California, as well as in the Fulbright International Institutes. A veteran interviewer for the nationally broadcast City Arts and Lectures, he is the author of a number of books, including “Off Mike: A Memoir of Talk Radio and Literary Life” (Stanford University Press) “Spiritual Envy” (New World); “Sound Ideas” (with M.E. Sokolik/ McGraw-Hill); “Let There Be Laughter” (Harper-Collins) as well as the twenty-four lecture series in DVD, audio and book, “Short Story Masterpieces” (The Teaching Company). He has interviewed many of the world’s leading political, cultural, literary, science and technology figures, as well as major figures from the world of entertainment. He is the recipient of many awards and honors including the S.Y. Agnon Medal for Intellectual Achievement; The Eugene Block Award for Human Rights Journalism; the James Madison Freedom of Information Award; the Excellence in Journalism Award from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association; Career Achievement Award from the Society of Professional Journalists and an award from the Radio and Television News Directors Association. He holds a B.A. (cum laude) and M.A. from Ohio University and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin.

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