US Universities receive words of God



2015-06-26 11:39:22

US Universities receive words of God

Some of the oldest texts in the world reach California

Azusa University has acquired 5 pieces of the Dead Sea Scrolls, each about the size of an adult's palm, one from a Christian ministry in Phoenix and the other four of them from a dealer in Venice.

Meantime, Loyola Marymount has a leaf out of an original Gutenberg bible on display.

The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in a set of caves starting in 1947.

There are 950 pieces of text in all, and there is a frantic - if painstakingly careful - scramble to get hold of and study the fragments.

They date from around the time of Jesus and include recognisable biblical text, including Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy.

Azusa's pieces include a scrap of text from the book of Daniel.

Robert Duke, assistant professor of biblical studies is hugely excited by them: "They are 2,000 years old, and you can still see letters with the naked eye."

Another piece, which has already been studied, is from Deuteronomy, and refers to a different mountain in a passage in which Jews are instructed to build an altar on a mountain compared to modern bibles, suggesting that this may be the original, and the text has been altered by a Jewish faction from another territory.

The Gutenberg bible is a different proposition: it dates from the 1450s when printing presses were newly created (by Johannes Gutenberg, a goldsmith).

It is still an historical piece, and also in beautiful condition, with the cream-coloured pages and thick Gothic text decorated in the same way a hand-written copy would be.

The bible leaf, which shows a section of Isaiah, has been estimated as being worth $50,000-100,000 if it came up for auction.

A fragment of the Dead Sea Scrolls would be worth more, but isn't likely to be available for private ownership.

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