update: jim barfield and the copper scroll project appear on travel channel

Jim Barfield and Michael Arbuthnot on the Travel Channel

Jim Barfield appears on the Travel Channel with Michael Arbuthnot

Jimmy D. Barfield and the Copper Scroll Project are back. After disappearing for nearly a year, Jimmy D. (and yes, he now refers to himself in the third-person now as ‘Jimmy D.’ – see the video) has made an appearance on a Travel Channel show hosted by marine archaeologist Michael Arbuthnot entitled: Secret Worlds with Michael Arbuthnot: The Mystery of the Copper Scroll. While little to no information appears on the Travel Channel’s Website about the show, Barfield’s ideological cohorts over at The JerUSAlem Connection are promoting Barfield’s appearance. (Be sure to read their related article on the same page entitled ‘Islam and the Left: two sides of the same coin.”)

The opening scene is an interview with Indy-branded tour guide Danny “the Digger” Herman, and it closes with an entire segment devoted to Jimmy Barfield and his theories about the Copper Scroll. In between, we learn how to smoke a hookah, go scuba diving in Caesarea Maritima, go mud bathing in the Dead Sea, and ride camels. The show did have a couple of scholars, namely Alison Schofield of the University of Denver and Shimon Gibson of the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, both of whom provided background information about the Dead Sea Scrolls and archaeology.

An organization called Biblical Productions commented extensively on the making of the project:

Morningstar Entertainment, a production company from Los Angeles, sent another crew in July this year to investigate the mysterious Copper Scroll of the Dead Sea Scrolls for their highly anticipated new show “Secret Worlds”. After having previously shot in Israel and Jordan for the “Knights Templar” and “Dead Sea Scrolls” episodes, their archaeologist and host Michael Arbuthnot now concentrated on solving the riddle of this fascinating inscription.

Biblical Productions was the local production manager for the entire shoot and took the crew to fascinating desert locations and fabulous experts. Why was the scroll written on copper? Is it a real treasure map? Who can help us understand the mysterious inscriptions and who wrote it? These were just a few questions the crew set out to answer in this quest, in which Biblical Productions took them from the impressive Hyrcania Tunnel in a desert military zone, to the Qumran Caves where the scrolls were found; to Acre and finally to Jerusalem. Along the way they interviewed and discussed ideas with several experts such as Shimon Gibson, Danny Herman, Steven Pfann and Jim Barfield; the latter an inspirational fire fighter from Texas who has made it his mission to solve the riddle of the scroll. The crew furthermore filmed one of Dr. Stephen Pfann’s researchers who traced the methods of the inscribing process by inscribing a copper scroll all on her own – with astonishing results.

Copper Scroll Project of Facebook

Copper Scroll Project uses Facebook to try and get people to call or write the Travel Channel and ask them to do more with Jimmy Barfield.

One comment: As I have stated in the past (see this post for a summary of the scholarly critiques against Barfield’s nonsense) listing Jimmy D. Barfield as an ‘expert’ in this show makes a mockery of archaeology, of the show, its producers (Morningstar Entertainment), and of the Travel Channel. I am all for the production of documentaries that discuss archaeology and the Bible (full disclosure: I have appeared in a number of them), but a production company creating documentaries about the Bible and archaeology has an obligation not to pass on nonsensical theories as credible, nor the theories’ peddlers as ‘experts.’ In this regard, Morningstar and the Travel Channel have failed miserably. They gave air time to Barfield, which he will now turn around and use to raise funds and promote his religious agenda. (Barfield is already taking ‘pre-orders’ on a self-published e-book on his Copper Scroll Project website. Likewise, Copper Scroll Project folks are encouraging people to contact the Travel Channel and tell them how much they liked the show on Facebook.) They have done a disservice to the public by equating Barfield’s admittedly amateur musings with real scholarship. And they have done a disservice to scholarship, setting back yet again many concerned scholars’ desire to provide quality, verifiable information to the public.

If you want to see and hear the archaeological ‘expert’ yourself, watch his video.

I do have one final question about the brief reconstruction of Qumran shown during the episode. Specifically, where did the producers get it? It appears to be a mutilated modified version of some otherwise pretty good research, although I can’t quite place where I’ve seen those film clips before. I recognize those camera angles from somewhere… that color palette… the interpretation and building layout… that background… I can’t quite place it.

how not to be a christian

i agree with jim and scott: there is something fundamentally wrong with what is happening to christianity today. there is a way to educate the public about christianity, but this is not it. lost is any critical understanding, lost is any theological depth, and lost is any real knowledge of the core message. christianity is being packaged, branded, marketed, and sold as the latest form of reality tv. gone is the commitment. gone is the authenticity. gone is any call to service. much of today’s christianinity and nearly all of christian broadcasting is just idiots trying to use what is popular to make christinos (christians in name only).

there are two problems with this form of christianity: it’s defunct and it sucks. it lacks any depth and meaning, and it’s a third-rate imitation of everything it is attempting to emulate.

the style of christianity portrayed below is the justin bieber of christianity: fake, fake, fake, studio-produced, cookie cutter, bubble gum and lifestyle christianity. it’s contrived, it’s for-profit, it’s shallow, and it’s designed to target a fickle audience that will quickly turn its attention toward the next pop trend as soon as something else becomes cool.

god help us all.

now busted, the cover-up begins: jimmy barfield and the copper scroll project

Jim Barfield, leader of the 'Copper Scroll Project' testing a metal detector in preparation for his search for the treasures of the Copper Scroll

Jim Barfield, leader of the 'Copper Scroll Project,' testing a metal detector in preparation for his search for the treasures of the Copper Scroll.

jimmy barfield and his copper scroll project disciples have been hard at work responding to a barrage of charges of false claims, pseudoscience, and manipulative marketing. the most recent example comes from their facebook page. this blog revealed on august 27, 2009 that jimmy barfield publicly encouraged his followers to go to their jerusalem post article by supporter shelly neese and pad the ratings by attaching positive feedback (click here to see image of copper scroll project facebook page as of aug. 23, 2009 :

One last request….could you all go to the end of the article at the link below and please rate it…..the higher we get on the ratings the better the chance will be that they do the next article. Shelly Neese has another article just waiting in the JPost office if can get enough of you guys to help out…so…if you would please give it a high rating…we need support from Israel. Thank you, Jim. (August 23)

i also noted that barfield placed a picture of the ark of the covenant on their page.

well, after exposing this not-so-subtle marketing scheme, barfield and his disciples removed the request by barfield to pad the jpost article with positive feedback and the picture of the ark of the covenant. the screen capture below shows the page as of august 23, 2009 (with my annotations in red).

The Copper Scroll Project Facebook Page. Note the red arrows pointing to a picture of the Ark of the Covenant and to a paragraph encouraging supporters to navigate to the linked Jerusalem Post article and provide positive comments on it.

The Copper Scroll Project Facebook Page (as of Aug 23, 2009). Note the red arrows pointing to a picture of the Ark of the Covenant and to a paragraph encouraging supporters to navigate to the linked Jerusalem Post article and provide positive comments on it.

the screen capture below shows the copper scroll project facebook page on august 31, 2009, after i posted the exposé of their marketing scheme (my annotations in red).

The Copper Scroll Project Facebook Page (as of Aug 31, 2009)

The Copper Scroll Project Facebook Page (as of Aug 31, 2009). Note that the picture of the Ark of the Covenant has been replaced with a pic of the Shrine of the Book, and that the post encouraging followers to pad Shelly Neese's Jerusalem Post article has been deleted.

it seems someone doesn’t want the rest of the world to see how the behind-the-scenes media manipulation works in jimmy barfield’s world. so, after reading this post on aug 27, it appears that barfield attempted to remove the evidence of his fluff marketing scheme. he deleted the post encouraging his supporters to rush to the jpost article and praise it, and he reposted the link to the tamar yonah interview, but only after removing the pic of the ark of the covenant and replacing it with an image of a scroll and the shrine of the book.

it’s a good thing that everything ever published on the internet is cached (and that i screen capture things when i see them ;-).

i shake my head.

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