According to a publication in the journal New Testament Studies, scientists found a “hidden chapter” of the Bible, written more than 1,500 years ago, which was discovered thanks to the ultraviolet light they applied to the manuscript; it is a palimpsest and was “hidden” behind two layers of writing. The use of ultraviolet light has become very common when examining these types of ancient documents, as it allows the discovery of messages, which at first glance are not visible, but remain printed on paper, no matter how many times it is reused by erasing and writing.
The page where the erased writing is seen is the one containing chapters 11 and 12 of the Gospel of Matthew, who was a disciple of Jesus, and has more details than the current Gospel text. So far, the scientists in charge of investigating the finding have not released the complete translation written in ancient Syriac.
Researchers from the Austrian Academy of Sciences have discovered a 1,750-year-old translation of the Bible thought to have been lost to history.
— RT (@RT_com) April 12, 2023
The “Hidden Chapter” Will Give Insight into Early Bible Translations
Senior lecturer in New Testament studies at the University of Glasgow, Garrick Allen, noted in an interview with the Daily Mail that the discovery gives an insight into the earliest translations of the Bible. “This discovery is very interesting, but it is not groundbreaking on its own, mainly because the newly identified text is only a fragmentary part of Matthew 11-12,” Garrick Allen said.
For his part, Grigory Kessel, a medievalist at the Austrian Academy of Sciences who participated in the find, points out that “the Syriac Christian translation knows several translations of the Old and New Testaments. Until recently only two manuscripts containing the Old Syriac translation of the Gospels were known.”
According to research, the initial text was written around the third century but was erased by a scribe in Palestine, a practice that was very common because the leaves used for writing were made of animal skin and were scarce, and then it was copied in the sixth century.
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The Manuscript Had Already Been Discovered
Although the manuscript had already been discovered by a group of researchers in 1953 and rediscovered in 2010, it was not until 2020 that it was digitized and included in the Vatican Library, but recently it became known of the existence of the “hidden chapter” with the use of ultraviolet light.
This discovery has been very important because it demonstrated how productive and important the use of modern digital technology can be in conjunction with basic research when dealing with ancient manuscripts. Using ultraviolet light has become popular with scientists hoping to discover secret documents, as the hidden text absorbs the light and glows blue.
Story written in Spanish by Lizbeth García in Cultura Colectiva News
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