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

Hardcover | October 21, 2008

byNina Burleigh

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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.

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From the Publisher

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 histor...

Nina Burleigh is the author of four books. She is a noted journalist whose articles have appeared inTime, theWashington Post,New Yorkmagazine,Elle, and many other publications. She lives in New York City.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:288 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.97 inPublished:October 21, 2008Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0061458457

ISBN - 13:9780061458453

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

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Thoroughly Enjoyable! Despite, the less-than-positive customer reviews already posted for this book, I decided to buy it anyway because of my interest in the subject matter. I was not disappointed. In my view, the author has done an excellent job in providing an overview of the antiquities business in the Holy Land. I believe that she was quite successful in conveying to the reader the nature of the conflicts involved; most prominently, on the one hand, the passionate desire of believers to find physical evidence (e.g., unearthed antiquities) that prove the historical correctness of the Bible, and on the other hand, the existence of very convincing forgeries that are manufactured (playing on this desire) for the very profitable sale to collectors and museums. It is shown that in some cases even scientific scrutiny can be biased, depending on the faith of the investigators. The writing style is clear, very friendly, often quite engaging and accessible to a broad readership. On the down side, the only comment that I would care to make is that a few pictures should have been included of some of the artifacts discussed as well as of some of the main characters. But this minor quibble does not detract from the fact that this book can be enjoyed by anyone – especially those interested in the antiquities market in the Holy Land.
Date published: 2009-01-20

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