The hidden chapter of the Bible

What lies in the hidden chapter of the Bible? For centuries it has been debated and discussed, yet never truly revealed. The hidden chapter has inspired and influenced many, no matter what their faith – from those hoping to find a greater meaning in life, to scholars, theologians and researchers.

It is a manuscript, a biblical text written more than 1,500 years ago. When ultraviolet light was applied to it, it revealed something, as indicated in the journal New Testament Studies. It is a palimpsest. It was masked behind two layers of writing. This is how the hidden chapter of the Bible became known.

The hidden chapter of the Bible was revealed by ultraviolet light.
The hidden chapter of the Bible revealed with ultraviolet light.

Deleted and copied

The page contains chapters 11 to 12 of the Gospel of Matthew. It has more detail than the current standard Gospel text, according to Daily Mail. Researchers have not yet uncovered the full translation written in ancient Syriac. Grigory Kessel is a medievalist at the Austrian Academy of Sciences. He said, “The translation of Syriac Christianity knows several translations of the Old and New Testament. Two manuscripts containing the Old Syriac translation of the Gospels were known.”
The initial text was written around the third century but was erased by a scribe in Palestine. This was a common practice because paper made from animal skin was in short supply. It was later copied in the 6th century.
The manuscript was discovered by a group of researchers in 1953 and rediscovered in 2010. Later, in 2020, it was digitized and included in the Vatican Library. It is only now that the existence of this chapter became known.

The document is 1500 years old.
The document is 1500 years old.

Lost manuscripts

Two of the texts known to have the Old Syriac translation are distributed around the world. One in the British Library in London and the other in St. Catherine’s Monastery on Mount Sinai. A third writing was identified as part of the Sinai Palimpsest Project.
Dr. Garrick Allene is a senior lecturer in New Testament study at the University of Glasgow. He said that this fact can provide a clearer picture of the earliest translations of the Bible. And also understand the communities that produced them. “Few manuscripts survive from the early centuries. All the pieces are welcome to reconstruct the puzzle of the text’s history.” The hidden chapter of the Bible is just beginning to reveal itself.

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