Syriac Bible Found In Cyprus Causing Debate Over Age

February 6, 2009

Cyprus (ChattahBox) – A raid on a den of antique smugglers has brought to light what appears to be a bible written in Syriac, the native language thought to have been spoken by Jesus of Nazareth.

The Cypriot courts heard testimony this week that the bible may have been as old as 2,000 years, containing Syriac text, golden lettering, and engraved pictures on vellum, all bound together. However, experts say that it is unlikely to be so old, especially considering the gold lettering.

“I’d suspect that it is most likely to be less than 1,000 years old,” Peter Williams, a leading expert on ancient antiquities, said Friday.

Syriac, a dialect of Aramaic, is still used in some rituals and services, and so the find is not guarenteed to be as ancient as some suspect. But it’s still an incredible discovery.

“One very likely source (of the manuscript) could be the Tur-Abdin area of Turkey, where there is still a Syriac speaking community,” King’s College professor Charlotte Roueche told reporters.


2 Responses to “Syriac Bible Found In Cyprus Causing Debate Over Age”

  1. cinnamonape on February 7th, 2009 2:25 am

    One critical element is whether it, like many later Syriac Bibles, are actually re-translated versions of Greek texts that incorporate the changes from the later Councils about 3-400 A.D.

    If it is distinctive in that regard it might be earlier, and very important. Certainly they should undertake some variety of studies of both the parchment used and the leather binding, and perhaps the ink. Radiocarbon dating is now available that can use very small quantities of sample for fairly accurate dating. Many fakes use old paper or bindings and then add in modern writing after “bleaching out” older text. That gives an air of authenticity. But that said, ancient writers also used these “palimpsest” techniques.

    Hopefully an object like this will not be denied scientific scrutiny.

  2. Bill on February 7th, 2009 5:47 am

    Even if the book itself is proven to be only a 1,000 years old (written about the time of the High Middle Ages), the content could be far older. I look forward to what scholars find in this text. Keep in mind that the oldest sayings of Jesus are in Greek. If this manuscript and/or its content dates back to the time Jesus was still alive, then this could be the original gospel (what scholars call Gospel Q) that we’ve been waiting for.

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