For researchers of confidence and history, it is a fortune trove too valuable for cost.This old gathering of 70 little books, their lead pages bound with wire, could open a portion of the insider facts of the soonest days of Christianity.Scholastics are partitioned as to their validness yet say that if checked, they could demonstrate as urgent as the disclosure of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947.
On pages very little greater than a charge card, are pictures, images and words that seem to allude to the Messiah and, conceivably even, to the Crucifixion and Resurrection.
Adding to the interest, a considerable lot of the books are fixed, provoking scholastics to hypothesize they are really the lost gathering of codices specified in the Bible’s Book Of Revelation.
The books were found five years prior in a collapse a remote piece of Jordan to which Christian evacuees are known to have fled after the fall of Jerusalem in 70AD. Imperative records from a similar period have beforehand been found there.
Beginning metallurgical tests show that a portion of the books could date from the main century AD.
This estimate is based on the form of corrosion which has taken place, which experts believe would be impossible to achieve artificially.
If the dating is verified, the books would be among the earliest Christian documents, predating the writings of St Paul.
The prospect that they could contain contemporary accounts of the final years of Jesus’s life has excited scholars – although their enthusiasm is tempered by the fact that experts have previously been fooled by sophisticated fakes.
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.
But the mysteries between their ancient pages are not the books’ only riddle. Today, their whereabouts are also something of a mystery. After their discovery by a Jordanian Bedouin, the hoard was subsequently acquired by an Israeli Bedouin, who is said to have illegally smuggled them across the border into Israel, where they remain.
However, the Jordanian Government is now working at the highest levels to repatriate and safeguard the collection. Philip Davies, emeritus professor of biblical studies at Sheffield University, said there was powerful evidence that the books have a Christian origin in plates cast into a picture map of the holy city of Jerusalem.
‘When I saw that, I was dumbstruck,’ he said. ‘That struck me as so clearly a Christian picture. There is a cross in the closer view, and behind it is the thing that must be the tomb [of Jesus], a little working with an opening, and behind that the dividers of the city.
‘There are dividers delineated on different pages of these books as well and they more likely than not allude to Jerusalem. It is a Christian execution occurring outside the city dividers.’
The British group driving the work on the disclosure fears that the present Israeli “attendant” might be hoping to offer a portion of the books on to the bootleg market, or more awful – wreck them.
Be that as it may, the man who holds the books denies the charge and claims they have been in his family for a long time.
Dr Margaret Barker, a previous leader of the Society for Old Testament Study, stated: ‘The Book of Revelation recounts a fixed book that was opened just by the Messiah.
‘Different writings from the period recount fixed books of intelligence and of a mystery convention passed on by Jesus to his nearest educates. That is the setting for this disclosure.’