How a new chapter of the Bible, hidden for 1,500 years, was discovered

Scientists have made a historic discovery in the Vatican Library. A chapter of the Bible, 1,500 years old and still unknown, is hidden under three layers of text.

No, this is not the beginning of a new part of the saga The Da Vinci Code. According to a study published in the journal New Testament Studies and picked up by the Independent, scientists have discovered the text hidden in a manuscript in the Vatican Library, the seat of the Catholic Church.

This still-unknown chapter of the Bible, 1,500 years old, was covered in three layers of text. A common practice at the time when parchment was a rare commodity. Scientists have used ultraviolet light to unravel the mysteries of this document. “This discovery demonstrates how useful the connection between modern digital technologies and medieval manuscripts can be for basic research,” said Claudia Rapp, director of the Institute for Medieval Research at the Austrian Academy of Sciences.

A rare text

In detail, this text would be the 12th chapter of the Gospel according to St. Matthew. A very rare work: “Until recently, only two manuscripts were known to contain a translation of the Gospels in Old Syriac (note: an old version of Aramaic)”, explains Austrian researcher Gregory Gesell.

In comparison with other texts of the period, this chapter was dated by scientists: “Despite the small number of manuscripts dated from this period, comparisons with manuscripts in the Syriac language make it possible to determine a “probable” date. The writing was written in the first half of the 6th century”, the researcher adds. A piece of history that only technology can bring to light.

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