Scientists are saying they have discovered a passage from the Bible that was hidden for over 1,500 years beneath a previously uncovered section, through the use of ultraviolet lights. Sometimes, science can be really cool.
According to a report from Fox News, Grigory Kessel, a historian with the Austrian Academy of Sciences, revealed the amazing new discovery in an article published in March of 2023 in the New Testament Studies journal, which is put out by Cambridge University Press.
“Kissel said that they found an ancient version of Chapter 12 in the book of Matthew in the Bible that had been hidden beneath a section of text for over 1,500 years. His discovering is one of the earliest translations of the Gospels, first created in the 3rd century and copied in the 6th century,” the article said.
“This discovery proves how productive and important the interplay between modern digital technologies and basic research can be when dealing with medieval manuscripts,” Claudia Rapp, who currently serves as the director of the Institute for Medieval Research at the Austrian Academy of Sciences (OeAW) wrote in a press release.
Kessel said that he found the hidden text by using ultraviolet photography, which revealed the passage beneath three layers of words that were inscribed on a palimpsest. Never heard of one of those before? Well, a palimpsest is ancient document that people wrote on, scraped off, and reused several times.
In the press release about the discovery, Kessel explained that the document gave a “unique gateway” for research scientists to uncover ancient Syriac translations.
“The manuscript offers a ‘unique gateway’ for researchers to understand the earliest phases of the Bible’s textual evolution,” Kissel commented. “It shows some differences from modern translations of the text.”
Kessel then provided an example from the book of Matthew. Chapter 12 verse 1 of the Greek text reads, “At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath; and his disciples became hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat,” however, the new Syriac translation adds a little more information, saying, “[…] began to pick the heads of grain, rub them in their hands, and eat them.”
What a totally fascinating find!
Featured image: Screenshot captured from the embedded video.
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