Destroying Egyptian Antiquities for Jesus

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by Tim Widowfield

In case you missed it, recently the web site “livescience” published an update on the mummy mask mutilation controversy.


For a little background on the matter, see Brice Jones’s blog post from last May.


I can’t deny that finding new and perhaps much older papyrus fragments of NT manuscripts sounds fascinating, but it’s a bit gut-wrenching to see apologists ripping apart archaeological items, destroying them forever. It doesn’t matter if they’re “low quality” masks or not. They’re priceless and irreplaceable. Furthermore, they’re part of the heritage of humanity; they shouldn’t be thought of as “owned” by private individuals who can do whatever they want with them.

Bart Ehrman has posted his thoughts about it on Facebook.


From his post:

This complete disregard for the sanctity of surviving antiquities is, for many, many of us not just puzzling but flat-out distressing. It appears that the people behind and the people doing this destruction of antiquities are all conservative evangelical Christians, who care nothing about the preservation of the past – they care only about getting their paws on a small fragment of a manuscript. Can there be any question that with them we are not dealing with historians but Christian apologists?

Nope.  No question about it.

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Tim Widowfield

Tim is a retired vagabond who lives with his wife and multiple cats in a 20-year-old motor home. To read more about Tim, see our About page.

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16 thoughts on “Destroying Egyptian Antiquities for Jesus”

  1. Well isn’t it just like a wannabe-totalitarian Christian! During the Christian revolution in the ancient and vast Roman Empire 325-415 CE, the early Christians were empowered and assisted by Roman authorities (and troops!) to destroy utterly any structure or artifact they pleased — and kill off or humiliate whole priesthoods — because they represented pagan “idol worship” and allowed “unnatural” sexual practices.

    I hole Eusebius’ breathless prose in praise of the criminal Constantine in Vita Constantini to be especially vile.

    And the Muslims aren’t blameless in desecration of ancient artifacts and historic sites, either. Recent examples include the actions of ISIS and the Saudi state’s actions in demolishing all the historical structures of Mecca, even those that date back to Muhammad’s time, in a misguided attempt to prevent Muslims from adoring and venerating sites associated with early Islam and Muhammad the prophet. Sure, they’ll prevent the adoration and veneration; but eventually someone will sift the lack of evidence at Mecca and come to the conclusion that Muhammad never existed.

  2. Lest we forget also that Eusebius and those other early Fathers of the ChurchClement , Jerome, John Chrysostom, were all adept at justifying deceit/lies for the good of the poor sinner.

    .”..For great is the value of deceit, provided it be not introduced with a mischievous intention. In fact action of this kind ought not to be called deceit, but rather a kind of good management, cleverness and skill, capable of finding out ways where resources fail, and making up for the defects of the mind …

    …And often it is necessary to deceive, and to do the greatest benefits by means of this device, whereas he who has gone by a straight course has done great mischief to the person whom he has not deceived…”
    Chrysostom, Treatise On The Priesthood, Book 1.

    They were the obvious forerunners of today’s Spin Doctors!

    1. “. . . apologists’ speeches are not only misinformed, but can even encourage more people to buy mummy masks on the antiquities market and dissolve them in Palmolive soap – a method suggested publicly by one of them . . .”

      Aw, crap.

  3. It seems like a case could be made for unpacking history here if preservation measures were taken before hand. Preserving as in photography, 3D printing, etc. It’s not like dynamiting stone images to get rid of them. And, regarding mcduff’s comments, it would be real nice to see Robert Spencer’s, “Did Muhammad Exist”, reviewed on Vridar. Such works should get greater exposure I think.

  4. My reading comprehension skills may be on holiday so …

    I found your ‘aw, crap’ ambiguous. What is crap, Mazza’s comment or the implications of it?

    I don’t see the connection between my comment [a re hash of Mazza’s] and your wish to see a review of Spencer’s book.

    Sorry to be so dense fellas.

    1. I was visualizing scores of idiot apologists busting up mummy masks in their bathtubs at home, possibly damaging the papyri, too. “Aw, crap.”

    2. Forgive me, mcduff. I should have said that it was Ed-M’s comments about the possible consequences of a Mohammad-never-existed outcome of destroying evidence, that I was alluding to. I was obviously confused.

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