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Unholy Business: A True Tale of Faith, Greed and Forgery in the Holy Land

by

Unholy Business: A True Tale of Faith, Greed and Forgery in the Holy Land Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In 2002, an ancient limestone box called the James Ossuary was trumpeted on the world's front pages as the first material evidence of the existence of Jesus Christ. Today it is exhibit number one in a forgery trial involving millions of dollars worth of high-end, Biblical era relics, some of which literally re-wrote Near Eastern history and which could lead to the incarceration of some very wealthy men and embarrass major international institutions, including the British Museum and Sotheby's.

Set in Israel, with its 30,000 archaeological digs crammed with biblical-era artifacts, and full of colorful characters — scholars, evangelicals, detectives, and millionaire collectors — Unholy Business tells the incredibly story of what the Israeli authorities have called "the fraud of the century." It takes readers into the murky world of Holy Land relic dealing, from the back alleys of Jerusalem's Old City to New York's Fifth Avenue, and reveals biblical archaeology as it is pulled apart by religious believers on one side and scientists on the other.

Review:

"In November 2002, the public display of an ossuary (an ancient burial vessel) inscribed 'James, the brother of Jesus,' sent ripples of excitement, doubt and consternation through both the religious and scholarly worlds. But when scholars took a close look, they declared the inscription a forgery based on the lack of provenance and a tremendous disparity between the physical writing of the word 'James' and the rest of the inscription. In her captivating chronicle, veteran journalist Burleigh (Mirage) enters a dark world full of shady dealings, illicit collectors and monomaniacal archeologists. Along the way we meet an improbable cast of characters, including Oded Golan, the ossuary's owner; Andr Lemaire, an epigraphist who early on testified to the authenticity of the ossuary's inscription; Shlomo Moussaieff, a billionaire collector with a warehouse full of artifacts of uncertain value; and Israel Finkelstein, a maverick Israeli archeologist who questions the historicity of many biblical events. Burleigh draws readers in from page one and brilliantly captures the compelling debates about archeology's relationship to narratives of faith." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

Early this year, officials at the Metropolitan Museum of Art trussed up one of the prizes of its collection, an ancient vase known as the Euphronios krater, and sent it back to Italy. Italian authorities had presented evidence that the piece had been looted from a tomb near Rome less than a year before the Met paid $1 million for it in 1972. Faced with the prospect of a lawsuit and a ban on receiving... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"[A] provocative inquiry into the age-old pairing of faith and folly." Booklist

Review:

"Whether or not readers believe the ossuary is authentic, they will thoroughly enjoy this book. Highly recommended." Library Journal

Book News Annotation:

A veteran journalist based in New York, Burleigh takes the 2002 James Ossuary fraud as a case study to illuminate the trafficking of fake relics and texts in the Middle East and across to New York. Her account reads like a novel. Annotation ©2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

About the Author

Nina Burleigh is the author of four books. She is a noted journalist whose articles have appeared in Time, the Washington Post, New York magazine, Elle, and many other publications. She lives in New York City.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780061458453
Subtitle:
A True Tale of Faith, Greed and Forgery in the Holy Land
Author:
Burleigh, Nina
Author:
by Nina Burleigh
Author:
by Nina Burleigh
Publisher:
Smithsonian
Subject:
General
Subject:
Antiquities
Subject:
Archaeology
Subject:
Ancient - General
Subject:
Other Miscellaneous Crimes
Subject:
Middle East - Israel
Subject:
Israel Antiquities.
Subject:
Forgery of antiquities - Israel
Subject:
General History
Subject:
Crime - True Crime
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20081021
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 0.97 in 17.36 oz

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Archaeology » General
History and Social Science » Archaeology » Near East
History and Social Science » Crime » True Crime
History and Social Science » Middle East » General History
History and Social Science » World History » Middle East
Religion » Christianity » Bibles » Biblical Archaeology

Unholy Business: A True Tale of Faith, Greed and Forgery in the Holy Land Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.50 In Stock
Product details 288 pages Collins - English 9780061458453 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In November 2002, the public display of an ossuary (an ancient burial vessel) inscribed 'James, the brother of Jesus,' sent ripples of excitement, doubt and consternation through both the religious and scholarly worlds. But when scholars took a close look, they declared the inscription a forgery based on the lack of provenance and a tremendous disparity between the physical writing of the word 'James' and the rest of the inscription. In her captivating chronicle, veteran journalist Burleigh (Mirage) enters a dark world full of shady dealings, illicit collectors and monomaniacal archeologists. Along the way we meet an improbable cast of characters, including Oded Golan, the ossuary's owner; Andr Lemaire, an epigraphist who early on testified to the authenticity of the ossuary's inscription; Shlomo Moussaieff, a billionaire collector with a warehouse full of artifacts of uncertain value; and Israel Finkelstein, a maverick Israeli archeologist who questions the historicity of many biblical events. Burleigh draws readers in from page one and brilliantly captures the compelling debates about archeology's relationship to narratives of faith." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "[A] provocative inquiry into the age-old pairing of faith and folly."
"Review" by , "Whether or not readers believe the ossuary is authentic, they will thoroughly enjoy this book. Highly recommended."
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