Flash flood uncovers earliest Christian writings

The possession of possibly the earliest Christian writings in existence is being disputed. Apparently only discovered around six years ago, these books have the potential to change the fundamental understandings of Christianity.

The group of 70 or so books, with between 5 and 15 lead leaves bound by lead rings were located inside a northern Jordanian cave sometime between 2005 – 2007.

They were discovered after a flash flood exposed two niches.

David Elkington, a British scholar of ancient religious history and archeology, and one of the few to have examined the books, says they could be ‘the major discovery of Christian history’.

‘It is a breathtaking thought that we have held these objects that might have been held by the early saints of the Church,’ he said.

The books are potentially more significant than the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The director of the Jordan’s Department of Antiquities, Ziad al-Saad, says the books might have been made by followers of Jesus in the few decades immediately following his crucifixion.

“Maybe it will lead to further interpretation and authenticity checks of the material, but the initial information is very encouraging, and it seems that we are looking at a very important and significant discovery, maybe the most important discovery in the history of archaeology.”

The books are currently the subject of a dispute between authorities, archeologists and an Israeli Bedouin who smuggled the books into Israel and hid them, claiming they were found by his great-grandfather.

The Israeli Bedouin who currently holds the books has denied smuggling them out of Jordan, and claims they have been in his family for 100 years.

Jordan says it will “exert all efforts at every level” to get the relics repatriated.


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