(COURTHOUSE NEWS) -- Craft chain Hobby Lobby is going to court again, this time to recover some $7 million it paid a former Oxford University classics professor for ancient fragments of the Christian gospels and other artifacts that turned out to be stolen.
Hobby Lobby says it had looked to professor Dirk Obbink while curating artifacts for its planned Museum of the Bible in Washington. Owned by a billionaire evangelical named Steve Green, the store has made Christianity a pillar of its business, perhaps most famously when it sued to be exempt from providing employees with free contraception under the federal health care law.
Since its 2017 opening, however, Hobby Lobby’s museum has been plagued by scandal over its acquisitions, resulting in the returns of manuscripts that were smuggled out of Egypt and cuneiform tablets looted from Iraq. Last year, experts concluded that “ancient” Dead Sea Scrolls that served as the museum’s centerpiece were in fact counterfeit.
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