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an intriguing and wide-ranging tale. . . . A work of broad appeal, for the history buff and mystery lover alike.--Kirkus (starred review)"
A dynamic and satisfying account of a strange, remarkable man whose discovery could turn the world of biblical scholarship on its head. --Publishers Weekly"
Chanan Tigay has written a delight of a booka mysterious treasure, an ossuary of Abrahamic secrets that surfaced once and disappeared. Tigay takes us on a gripping personal quest and plunges into the uncertainties of ancient scripture and a tour of the murky underworld of artifact thieves, forgers, and traders. --T. J. Stiles, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, and author of Custer's Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America"
Tigay s narration, juxtaposed against Shapira s life and times, is as much a personal journey as it is a quest for an artifact; getting to know him is almost as interesting as learning about Shapira. Readers captivated by the romance of biblical archaeology will find much fascinating material here. --Booklist"
A rollicking tale all its own, "The Lost Book of Moses" is a page-turning adventure that will engross proof-seeking readers everywhere. --"San Francisco Chroncile""
The heart of Tigay s book is a gripping account of his quest This admirably researched book offers a fine occasion to understand Shapira as a product of a modern fetish for authenticity and a rivalry between European nation-states obsessed not just with colonial expansion but with their own origins. --Haaretz"
Tigay s fascination with this obscure mystery is infectious, and his writing is crisp and lively. Tigay keeps the reader in suspense until the very end Indeed, John Le Carr? would be hard pressed to devise such a tantalizing mystery or a more complex leading man. --Christian Science Monitor"
Not only does [Tigay] solve the mystery of the scrolls, he also develops a deeper acquaintance with Shapira, who turns out to have been a remarkable character. It is fair to say that Shapira left a complicated legacy, and that the indefatigable Tigay gives it its due. --The Forward"
Extremely enjoyable. . . . It will delight anyone who finds religion or its history even remotely arresting. At once a mystery and a historical yarn, Mr. Tigay s book is also a reminder that humor and a real sense of fun can enliven a serious piece of work. --Wall Street Journal"
A rollicking tale all its own, The Lost Book of Moses is a page-turning adventure that will engross proof-seeking readers everywhere. --San Francisco Chroncile"
One man’s quest to find the oldest Bible scrolls in the world and uncover the story of the brilliant, doomed antiquarian accused of forging them.
In the summer of 1883, Moses Wilhelm Shapira—archaeological treasure hunter and inveterate social climber—showed up unannounced in London claiming to have discovered the oldest copy of the Bible in the world.
But before the museum could pony up his £1 million asking price for the scrolls—which discovery called into question the divine authorship of the scriptures—Shapira’s nemesis, the French archaeologist Charles Clermont-Ganneau, denounced the manuscripts, turning the public against him. Distraught over this humiliating public rebuke, Shapira fled to the Netherlands and committed suicide.
Then, in 1947 the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. Noting the similarities between these and Shapira’s scrolls, scholars made efforts to re-examine Shapira’s case, but it was too late: the primary piece of evidence, the parchment scrolls themselves had mysteriously vanished.
Tigay, journalist and son of a renowned Biblical scholar, was galvanized by this peculiar story and this indecipherable man, and became determined to find the scrolls. He sets out on a quest that takes him to Australia, England, Holland, Germany where he meets Shapira’s still aggrieved descendants and Jerusalem where Shapira is still referred to in the present tense as a “Naughty boy”. He wades into museum storerooms, musty English attics, and even the Jordanian gorge where the scrolls were said to have been found all in a tireless effort to uncover the truth about the scrolls and about Shapira, himself.
At once historical drama and modern-day mystery, The Lost Book of Moses explores the nineteenth-century disappearance of Shapira’s scrolls and Tigay's globetrotting hunt for the ancient manuscript. As it follows Tigay’s trail to the truth, the book brings to light a flamboyant, romantic, devious, and ultimately tragic personality in a story that vibrates with the suspense of a classic detective tale.
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