Austrian researchers discover 1,500-year-old Bible… slightly different interpretation

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A researcher found and deciphered a new Bible page that had been hidden under the text for more than 1,500 years.

According to the US Business Insider on the 24th (local time), Gregory Kessel, a medieval researcher from the Austrian Academy of Sciences, used ultraviolet light to identify old Bible manuscripts written below the text.

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He said that he obtained this result through ultraviolet imaging of the ancient manuscript Palimpsest. A palimpsest is a document manufacturing format that has been used since ancient Greece. At that time, the price of parchment, which was mainly used for records, was expensive, so it was used in such a way that previously recorded contents were erased leaving only traces, and new contents were written.

“Until recently, copies of the Bible written in ancient Syriac existed in only two places: the British Library in London and Saint Catherine’s Monastery on Mount Sinai in Egypt. The Syriac translation is believed to have been written at least a century before the surviving Greek manuscripts, such as the Codex Sinaiticus, the oldest New Testament manuscript.

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Kessel found this manuscript under a triple layer of text written on a palimpsest in the Vatican Library. He explained that it was one of the earliest Syriac translations that had been hidden under the text for more than 1,500 years, first created in the 3rd century and handed down to the 6th century.

In the Syriac Bible pages discovered this time, subtly different parts were found from previously known Bible passages. According to Kessel, the discovery is a “unique gateway” into the evolution of biblical texts.

Matthew 12:1 is often translated as “Then Jesus went on the Sabbath day through the wheat fields, and the disciples were hungry and plucked heads of grain and ate.” However, according to Kessel, 1500 years ago, in Syriac, the last part reads, “They picked ears of grain, rubbed them with their hands, and began to eat them.”

Claudia Rapp, director of the Center for Medieval Studies at the Austrian Academy of Sciences, said, “Kessel made a great discovery thanks to his extensive knowledge of ancient Syrian texts and the characteristics of their writing.” “This discovery demonstrates how productive and important the interaction between modern digital technologies and basic humanities research can be when dealing with medieval sources,” he added.

Source: Donga

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