Monday, March 21, 2011

Are artefacts discovered in a remote cave the secret writings about the last years of Jesus? | Mail Online

Fragments of the Dead Sea scrolls on display a...Image via Wikipedia
Artefacts discovered in a remote cave in Jordan could hold a contemporary account of the last years of Jesus.
The find of scrolls and 70 lead codices - tiny credit-card-sized volumes containing ancient Hebrew script talking of the Messiah and the Resurrection - has excited biblical scholars.
Much of the writing is in code, but experts have deciphered images, symbols and a few words and the texts could be 2,000 years old.
BK546N Painting by Thomas Pot around 1563 of the Resurrection, Chapter House, Fontevraud Abbey, Fontevraud, Maine-et-Loire, France
A 16th century painting depicting Jesus's death. The texts found in Jordan, if genuine, would be among the earliest Christian writings. The 70 codices are said to contain passages in ancient Hebrew about Jesus and the Resurrection

margaret barker portrait
Margaret Barker, former president of the Society of Old Testament Study, is wary of confirming their authenticity but added that if genuine then the books could be 'vital and unique' evidence of the earliest Christians
Some academics are sceptical about the discovery because there have been numerous hoaxes and sophisticated fakes produced over the years.
Many of the codices are sealed which suggests that they could be secret writings referred to in the apocryphal Book of Ezra - an appendage to some versions of the Bible.
Texts have been written on little sheets of lead bound together with wire.
The treasure trove was found five years ago by an Israeli Bedouin and may have been around since the 1st century, around the time of Jesus's crucifixion and Resurrection.
A number of experts have examined the writings, including Margaret Barker, a former president of the Society for Old testament Study with a renowned knowledge of early Christian studies.
She told the Sunday Times how the intrigue surrounding the artefacts was similar to the black market secrecy with the discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls.
Jordan, Wadi Rum, natural arch in the desert
The artefacts were found in a remote cave in the north of Jordan. They are now in the possession of a Bedouin who lives in Israel
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