An ancient Torah, estimated to be worth at least $3 million, was recovered in an anti-smuggling drive in southern Turkey's Adana last week, the Interior Ministry announced Monday.Yes, yet another supposedly priceless biblical manuscript has turned up in Turkey. It's pretty hard to fathom how the Torah could be both "gold-plated" and "written on gazelle skin." My guess is that "gold plated" is a dodgy translation of some Turkish phrase that refers to gold leaf or gold lettering. If so, the manuscript is probably something like this one. But without a photo, it's hard to tell. Count me skeptical about the gold plating and the reported valuation.
Alongside the gold-plated Torah, which is written on gazelle skin, an ancient decree was also seized in the operation, the ministry said in a statement.
Authorities, however, did not elaborate on the details of the operation or whether they were questioning any of the suspects.
The Torah's place of origin could not be initially determined and it will now be examined by experts to find out when it was actually written.
I commend the Turkish police for keeping the pressure up on smugglers, but I wish that the Turkish media would hold back on these breathless announcements. They can at least wait until these supposedly priceless manuscripts are actually examined by the abovementioned experts.
Previously in 2012, police in Adana had confiscated a 1,900-year-old Torah, which was smuggled in from Syria.Yes, I noted this story here when it came out and there is more on it here. The accounts are very far-fetched and the manuscript has never been authenticated.
Another Torah, believed to be 600-years-old, was confiscated in Istanbul in April 2016, when a suspect tried to sell it to undercover police officers.I don't recall this story, but I may just have decided that it wasn't interesting enough to mention.
We regularly encounter reports of supposedly ancient and priceless biblical manuscripts being apprehended in Turkey. In addition to the above two stories, see here, here, and here. In each case follow the links for the full story. None of these manuscripts has so far lived up to the extravagant claims made in the announcements.