Researchers discover a hidden chapter of the Bible written 1,500 years ago using ultraviolet light
A lost chapter of the Bible from more than 1,500 years ago has been rediscovered under three layers of text using ultraviolet light – one of the oldest translations of the Bibles.
The manuscript is chapters 11 through 12 in Matthew and is one of only four manuscripts written in Old Syrian manuscripts to be found.
While it describes scenes written in Greek in the chapter on Matthew, the text translates more detail that experts say “provides a unique gateway into the very early stage of the history of the transmission of the texts of the Gospels.”
Scientists from the Austrian Academy of Sciences have found a manuscript in the Vatican Library that, when exposed to ultraviolet light, illuminates hidden text erased by a writer in ancient Palestine.
This process has become popular among scholars hoping to uncover classified documents, as the hidden text absorbs light and glows a blue colour.
The team believes the parchment was repurposed for Apophthegmata patrum in Greek, translated as “Sayings of the Fathers.”
The Desert Fathers were early Christian hermits who practiced asceticism in the Egyptian desert.
They did so around the third century and eventually formed the basis of Christian monasticism.
The Apophthegmata patrum is a collection of more than 1,000 of their stories and sayings dating from the late fifth and early sixth centuries.
The hidden chapter of the Bible was revealed by the so-called diamond Gregory Kessel, who said it was one of the earliest translations of the Gospels, made in the third century and transcribed in the sixth century, on the individual pages left of this manuscript.
Kessel said in his book: “Syriac Christianity knows several translations of the Old and New Testaments.” statement.
Until recently, only two manuscripts were known to contain the Old Syriac translation of the Gospels.
While the researchers haven’t revealed a complete translation of the newly found chapter, they did share some of their findings.
Scientists from the Austrian Academy of Sciences found the manuscript in the Vatican Library (pictured)
While the original Greek in Matthew 12, verse 1 says, “At that time Jesus was passing through the grain fields on the Sabbath; His disciples became hungry and began to pick the heads of the grain and eat them, as the Syriac translation says, (…) they began to pick the heads of the grain and rub them in their hands and eat them,” the team shared in a statement.
The Syriac translation was written at least a century earlier than the oldest surviving Greek manuscripts, including Codex Sinaiticus—the fourth-century Christian manuscript of the Greek Bible.
‘The oldest surviving manuscripts with this Syriac translation date back to the sixth century and were preserved in the wiped layers, called newly written parchment sheets,’ said the researchers.