Napoleon Bonaparte once famously observed "history is a set of lies agreed upon." For those who look for the truth, it is often far too easy to believe in fraudulent history and science when they tell us what we want to hear.
A couple of recent books illustrate our fascination with the arcane world of art forgery. Perhaps, in this Internet age, when so little seems to be truly original, the subject of how to produce a master forgery that will fool all the experts seems particularly relevant.
"The works are of a five-star quality. Maybe a few are four-star, but mostly five-star, which is why they've stirred such attention," Ann Freedman, former director of the Knoedler gallery, tells contributing editor Michael Shnayerson of the recent David Herbert collection.
The Shroud of Turin is only the most famous product of a thriving trade in alleged Biblical relics in the Holy Land, which today is a million-dollar business "verified" through the scientific lens of archaeology.