Could artefacts in remote Jordan cave reveal Jesus' last years?
London, Mar 21 (ANI): Biblical artefacts discovered in a remote cave in Jordan could reveal the last years of Jesus' life if they are found to be genuine.
The discovery of the scrolls and 70 lead codices, tiny credit-card-sized volumes containing ancient Hebrew script talking of the Messiah and the Resurrection, has left Biblical scholars excited.
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. Texts have been written on little sheets of lead bound together with wire.
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.
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' 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.
According to the Sunday Times, she revealed how the intrigue surrounding the artefacts was similar to the black market secrecy with the discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls.
"There have been lots of shenanigans. Vast sums of money have been mentioned with up to 250,000 pounds being suggested as the price for just one piece," the Daily Mail quoted Barker as saying.
"If they are a forgery, what are they are forgery of? Most fakes are drawn from existing material, but there is nothing like this that I have seen," she revealed.
The owner of the cache is a Bedouin named Hassan Saeda who lives in the village of Um-al-Ghanam in the north of Israel.
Peter Northover, head of the materials science-based archaeology group, examined two samples that were sent to a laboratory in England.
The verdict was inconclusive without more tests, but he said the composition was "consistent with a range of ancient lead".
Philip Davies, emeritus professor of biblical studies at Sheffield University, is convinced the codices are genuine after studying one, and has told colleagues privately that he believes the find is unlikely to have been forged. (ANI)
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