An important issue related to numismatics and the study of the New Testament is about integrity in the use of sources. There has been an ongoing discussion, often quite heated, between archaeologists and hobbyists related to numismatics. It ultimately revolves around the procuring of coins for hobbyists and how this can destroy the original provenance of the coins. The looting of sites and dispersion of coin hoards can cause the loss of valuable insights into social, cultural and historical backgrounds. It is a crime against history and knowledge to loot, whether looting personally or being the receiver of looted goods. Does one want to eat fruit from a rotting tree? On the other hand, what is one to do with all the millions of coins in private collectors’ hands today (coins that now have no original provenance)? The following blog post by Nathan Elkins is well written and provides many of the bones of contention: “Archaeologist Don’t Care about Ancient Coins?” There are also some other links within this blog that contribute to an ongoing discussion.
Numismatics and Looting1 02 2008