Gen 31:23–25?, 32:3–6

Name or Description

Alleged Provenance

“Today James Charlesworth presented an image of a fragment (in two parts) that he acquired on 25 October 2006. He said it had been in Zurich since the 50’s and reportedly came from Kando. … JC believes it was found in the caves of the Dead Sea region. He wants scholars to report that he has tried to prove that it is a fake and he has been unable to so he asserts that it is authentic. He also announced that he has acquired another 30 DSS fragments” [Brady 2007].

“As long as 10 years ago I knew of more than 35 Dead Sea Scrolls that are still in private hands, purchased decades earlier. I published two of them in Discoveries in the Judaean Desert and will soon announce the recovery of a fragment of Genesis” [Charlesworth 2007, 62].

“[P]reviously … the property of the book dealer Michael Sharpe” [Davila 2011].

“Michael Sharpe, a book collector formerly based in Pasadena, California, sold one Dead Sea Scroll piece to Green in February 2010. In a Thursday interview with National Geographic, Sharpe expressed shock and disbelief that the piece he had sold—and that he had bought earlier for his own collection—was inauthentic. …
Sharpe acquired the piece, a fragment of Genesis, in a deal brokered by Tennessee-based physician and exhibit curator William Noah. According to Noah, the piece originally belonged to the late manuscript dealer Bruce Ferrini, who fell into bankruptcy after clients and business partners—including Noah—sued Ferrini over allegations that he had defrauded them.
In the fallout, Noah acquired Ferrini’s pieces and notified the Kando family, who agreed to sell the fragments at a discount to Noah and Sharpe.
Noah and Sharpe both say that leading scholars threw their support behind the fragments. Records provided by Nat Des Marais, Sharpe’s former business partner, say that Dead Sea Scrolls scholar James Charlesworth, who retired from the Princeton Theological Seminary in 2019, helped validate the Genesis fragment’s authenticity.”

“In an email, Charlesworth noted that when he described the fragment to other scholars in the past, he reported that it was probably authentic but not from the same time and place as the Dead Sea Scrolls found in Qumran. But after another look at a picture of the fragment, Charlesworth voiced fresh skepticism. ‘I am bothered by the handwriting; it now seems to be suspicious,’ he says. Charlesworth also says he has seen pieces of blank, ancient leather in circulation. ‘In the past, when I told the Bedouin that a piece was worthless because it had no writing, I inadvertently suggested how to make it valuable,’ he says” [Greshko 2020].


Listed by Emanuel Tov in his Revised Lists of the Texts from the Judaean Desert

Listed by Accordance


Acquired by James Charlesworth 25 Oct 2006(?) Michael Sharpe ➤ Steve Green (Feb 2010) → Museum of the Bible

Asking price

Purchase Price Dealer/Seller ➤ Collector/Buyer



Measurements in cm

(2 cols) a. 5.1 x 7.4 b. 1.95 x 2.1 c. 1.95 x 1.75


Bernius et al. 2016

Frg. Part of a Ms Edition


Bernius, Elaine with Cody Ingle and Emily Lumpkin Hines. 2012. “Genesis 31:23–25?, 32:3–6 (Inv. MOTB.SCR.000124).” Pages 73–89 in Dead Sea Scrolls Fragments in the Museum Collection. Edited by Emanuel Tov, Kipp Davis and Robert Duke. Leiden: Boston: Brill.

Brady, Christian. 2007, 17 July. “New Genesis Text from the Judaean Desert.” Targuman.

Carroll, Scott. 2012. Passages: 400th Anniversary of the King James Bible. Oklahoma, OH: Passages.

Charlesworth, James H. 2007. “35 Scrolls Still in Private Hands.” BAR 33.5: 60–63, see 62.

Davila, Jim. 2011, 19 July. “OKC ‘Passages’ exhibition Dead Sea Scroll.” PaleoJudaica.

Greshko, Michael. 2020, 13 March. “Exclusive: ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’ at the Museum of the Bible Are All Forgeries.” National Geographic.

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