Long-lost chapter of Bible found after 1,500 years – and could change everything

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    A new hidden chapter of the Bible written more than 1,500 years ago has been discovered and could change how we interpret it.

    The new text was found by Grigory Kessel from the Austrian Academy of Sciences after applying UV light to a manuscript of hymns and stories in the Vatican Library.

    It is written in the ancient Syriac language and comprises parts of Matthew 11-12 in the New Testament.

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    The original text had been scraped off the parchment all those years ago, a common practice as the paper was made from animal skin and needed to be reused.

    However, today it is still detectable under UV.

    The Syriac translation of the Bible is one of the earliest from Greek, meaning that the new text gives more details than the standard Bible verses we have today.

    Kessel is yet to release a full version of the new chapter (his findings are published in the New Testament Studies journal) but one example is as follows.

    In the Greek version of the Bible, Matthew chapter 12, verse one reads: "At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath and his disciples became hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat."

    The detailed Syriac translation states "began to pick the heads of grain, rub them in their hands, and eat them".

    Although more detail around the way in which disciples ate grain is unlikely to revolutionise our understanding of Christianity in isolation, little details elsewhere could offer insight and clarity into aspects of the Bible that currently remain open to interpretation.

    Professor Hugh Houghton at the University of Birmingham's Department of Theology and Religion told MailOnline that the discovery was "genuine and important".

    He said: "The value of the early translations is that they were made from Greek manuscripts which no longer survive, and may provide some of the first evidence for particular readings."

    Dr Nic Baker-Brian at Cardiff University's School of History, Archaeology and Religion said: "The example cited already – Mt. 12.1-2 – of the disciples 'rubbing the ears of corn in their hands' is not attested in the Greek manuscripts for Matthew.

    "The presence of variant readings in the manuscript highlights the diverse nature of early Christianity and reinforces an emerging consensus that ancient Christianity was not fixed and monolithic, rather different versions of stories about Jesus were circulating in the early Church.

    "Its existence should remind modern Christians about the diverse history and nature of their religion."

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