What have scientists found? It is something hidden in a fragment of the Gospel of Matthew. It was only found through ultraviolet rays. Thus was discovered a hidden text in the Bible.
The page found contains sections 11-12 of Matthew. But they have more details than are found in the standard Gospel text. Historian Grigory Kessel works at the Austrian Academy of Sciences. He announced the discovery in an article published in the magazine New Testament Studies.
Kessel specified that he used ultraviolet photography. He was able to see the oldest text underneath three layers of words written on a palimpsest. This is a type of ancient manuscript that people used to write over other words. It often left traces of the original writing.
“We have discovered a hidden text in the Bible. Hidden in the sense that in the early sixth century a parchment copy of the Gospel was reused twice. There are three layers of script (Syriac, Greek and Georgian) on the same page.” Palimpsests were used in ancient times because of the scarcity of parchment. Words were written repeatedly on the material. Several layers covered the words hidden underneath.
The text described in the find is an unpublished version of the 12th chapter of the Book of Matthew. It was originally included in an ancient Syriac translation of the Bible more than 1,500 years ago, Kessel noted. It is a manuscript preserved in the Vatican Library.
According to the study, it is “unique opportunity” to understand the early stages of the textual evolution of the Bible. It demonstrates some differences with modern translations of the text.
The original Greek version of Matthew 12:1 reads, “At that time Jesus was passing through the fields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry, so they began to pluck some ears of wheat and eat them.” The recently discovered Syriac translation is slightly different. It reads, “They began to gather ears of wheat, ground them in their hands and ate them.”
Ultraviolet light has become popular among scientists. They hope to discover secret documents because hidden text absorbs light and glows blue. You can pick up hidden text because the parchment is impregnated with ink. And no matter how much it is reused, the original notes remain on the paper.