History and fraud

History and fraud

How much does the need to be right influence the truth of history?

Browsing through the latest archaeological finds (as I am wont to do), I sought to find out what the explorers of history had stumbled across this week. Instead, I came across an interesting and somewhat disturbing story that revolves around a man by the name of Simcha Jacobovici. Apparently, this individual is a Biblical historian who has been many times famous and many times condemned for the sometimes controversial finds he’s made with regards to the history of Christianity. Several have accused him of being false with his finds and one man even went so far as to declare him a fraud outright.  This, in turn, prompted Jacobovici to sue him.

Though the lawsuit itself is ultimately unimportant, the questions it raises are.  Being that Jacobovici’s finds had mostly to do with Christian history, I have to wonder how much of the resistance is legitimate archaeological debate and how much of it is instead nothing more than a group of Christian history-seekers who desire to keep their version of events as the legitimate one.  Is it the religion itself that is causing such resistance?

I also have to wonder at the lawsuit.  Jacobovici claims that the words spoken against him were libelous and that they resulted in him losing funding for a television project.  But isn’t the reward in archaeology in the discovery of the truth?  Or is it more geared toward making cash from some media project?

Too often archaeologists feud simply for the sake of being right.  Findings and theories are refuted because a particular group has a vested interest in being right, for religious reasons or otherwise.  Religion is certainly the biggest one, though cries of fraud have also been heard when one archaeologist is trying to defend his own theories.

In my opinion, these sorts of things do nothing more than work against the finding of truth.  If Jacobovici is indeed a fraud, then he won’t be able to hide for long.  His findings will be refuted (through scientific examination) and his name brought down in time.  But if he is right, then even those who disagree with him need to open themselves to the possibility of a new history for the Bible. It is the speculation and creativity of these scientists that forms theories and eventually leads to understanding and screaming senselessly back and forth at each other is not helping humanity understand the truth of its past.