fake Christian manuscript, possibly from Syria, in Turkey, seized from Syrian and Turkish traffickers

Hürriyet Daily News reported an ancient book, stolen in Syria, seized in Turkey, by Gendarmerie in Bursa, where a Syrian-and-Turkish team of traffickers intended to sell it over the internet.

Unfortunately, right now, I’m limited to stealing worthless mobile wifi, so I’ll be brief and poorly linked. However, as @AKulhan and @malfy_c have pointed out, the supposedly Syrian Christian manuscript (or “17-page book”) appears to be a fake, a forgery.

There has long been a cottage industry of forged bibles and other such texts from south-eastern Turkey and elsewhere in the region, which are fed into an illicit market that is too large to be sated with the supply of stolen cultural property.

Since the outbreak of the conflict(s) in Syria and Iraq, that market has only grown, augmented by collectors who make the excuse that they are conducting “rescue-by-purchase”, as well as by collectors who specifically target crisis antiquities and conflict antiquities.

They target such loot because it demonstrates the rarity of the collection and the (both financial and sociopolitical) power of the collector… when the knowingly crisis-exploiting and/or conflict-financing collector is competent enough to buy the real thing, instead of a counterfeit copy.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about this everyday case is the everyday use of the internet. And that is only interesting insofar as it reaffirms just how boringly everyday online trafficking of both antiquities and forgeries is.

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