It sounds like something that you’d see in The DaVinci Code or National Treasure. Imagine discovering a hidden biblical message after more than 1500 years of it being hidden.
Scientists using ultraviolet photography have recently stumbled upon a remarkable discovery: they have uncovered an ancient manuscript containing a version of the Bible that was written more than 1,500 years ago and had been hidden underneath another text for centuries. The manuscript, which is known as a palimpsest, is held at the Vatican Library and was examined by historian Grigory Kessel of the Austrian Academy of Sciences.
Palimpsests were widely used in ancient times due to the scarcity of parchment, as writers would often write on top of existing words multiple times, gradually covering up the old text while still leaving behind traces of it. Through ultraviolet photography, Kessel was able to uncover an unseen version of Chapter 12 in the Book of Matthew that was originally part of Old Syriac translations from over a millennium ago.
Kessel’s work provides researchers with invaluable insight into the earliest phases of textual evolution and offers unique insights into how Bible translations differ from modern versions. For instance, while modern translations of Matthew 12:1 – which is taken from Greek – read “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”, Kessel’s discovery reveals that in Syriac it reads differently: “began to pick the heads of grain, rub them in their hands, and eat them”.
So, while the message that was discovered wasn’t exactly something that is extremely new and different like we all think would be really cool to see, but it is fascinating, nonetheless.
This video says that the document was older, closer to around 1750 years old. Either way, it’s old.