In an incredible discovery, scientists have used ultraviolet photography to uncover a long-lost version of a chapter in the Bible that has been hidden for over 1,500 years. Historian Grigory Kessel of the Austrian Academy of Sciences announced the discovery earlier this year in the peer-reviewed academic journal New Testament Studies.
Kessel uncovered the text under three layers of words written on a palimpsest, an ancient manuscript that people used to write over other words but often left traces of the original writing behind. The text described in Kessel's discovery is a long unseen version of Chapter 12 in the Book of Matthew that was originally part of the Old Syriac translations of the Bible some 1,500 years ago. The discovery was made in the manuscript held at the Vatican Library.
This incredible manuscript offers a "unique gateway" for researchers to understand the earliest phases of the Bible's textual evolution and shows some differences from modern translations of the text. For instance, the newly discovered Syriac translation of Matthew 12:1 is slightly different from the commonly used Greek version. It says, "began to pick the heads of grain, rub them in their hands, and eat them," instead of simply saying "and his disciples became hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat." The discovery of this ancient version of the chapter reveals new insights into the Bible's textual history and offers a glimpse into the way it has evolved over time. The use of ultraviolet photography to uncover these hidden words is truly remarkable, and it's amazing to think that we are still making discoveries like this about the Bible after all these years.
As we continue to explore the secrets of the Bible and its rich history, it's fascinating to think about what other discoveries might be waiting for us in the future. The uncovering of this long-hidden text is a reminder that there is always more to learn, and that the past can still hold many surprises for us today.