Thursday, 23 February 2012

Aramaic Bible found in Turkey

H/T to Pewsitter for this story from a Turkish News Agency...though quite why the Vatican is "in shock" defeats me.....

Ancient Bible in Aramaic dialected Syriac rediscovered in Turkey
Ancient Bible in Aramaic dialected Syriac rediscovered in Turkey

The relic was ‘rediscovered’ in the depositum of Ankaran Justice Palace, the ancient version of bible is believed to be written in Syriac, a dialect of the native language of Jesus

Ankara / Turkey – The bible was already in custody of Turkish authorities after having been seized in 2000 in an operation in Mediterranean area in Turkey. The gang of smugglers had been charged with smuggling antiquities, illegal excavations and the possession of explosives and went to trial. Turkish police testified in a court hearing they believe the manuscript in the bible could be about 1500 to 2000 years old.After waiting eight years in Ankara the ancient bible is being transferred to the Ankaran Ethnography Museum with a police escort.

Ancient Bible will be shown in Ankaran Ethnography Museum

The bible, whose copies are valued around 3-4 Mil. Dollars had been transferred to Ankara for safety reasons, since no owners of the ancient relic could be found.
The manuscript carries excerpts of the Bible written in gold lettering on leather and loosely strung together, with lines of Syriac script with Aramaic dialect. Turkish authorities express the bible is a cultural asset and should be protected for being worthy of a museum.

Ancient Bible in Aramaic dialected Syriac rediscovered in Turkey

Syriac is a dialect of Aramaic – the native language of Jesus – once spoken across much of the Middle East and Central Asia. It is used wherever there are Syrian Christians and still survives in the Syrian Orthodox Church in India and a village in the vicinity of Syrian capital Damascus. Aramaic is also still used in religious rituals of Maronite Christians in Cyprus.
Experts were however divided over the provenance of the manuscript, and whether it was an original, which would render it priceless, or a fake. Other questions surround the discovery of the ancient bible, whether the smugglers had had other copies of the relic or had smuggled them from Turkey.

Vatican eyes the faith of the ancient relic

The Vatican reportedly placed an official request to examine the scripture, which was written on pages made of animal hide in the Aramaic language using the Syriac alphabet.
The copy of the ancient Bible is valued as high as 40 million Turkish Liras ( 28 Mil. Dollars)


  1. I trust not the turks, and the price is an appalling incentive. Did not the moabite stone get smashed because fragments got paid for? Did not some of the -genuine- dead sea scrolls suffer the same fate?
    Any ancient document-if not faked up -is of great interest.Simple variant readings and spellings, collation with other manuscript traditions- slow steady scholarly unhurried work, detailed , mindboggling.
    The media are useless. I remember some decades ago stuff about the apocraphal and fscinating and reasonably well known about for a long time anyway "Gospel of Thomas": " new discovery rocks church" etc: basically:"(single) discovery proves evil catholics faked bible " and similar.
    Sadly, much as Aramaic deserves preservation as living literature , the last I heard was that ALL aramaic biblical tradtions showed signs of having been translated from the greek.
    There must have been at one time some aramaic documents written by early christians,(thank you, diocletian!) and is it not the tradition that Mathew was originally in aramaic? Even a stray hint of that in a single verse would be a find indeed. But how to know if, say, a particular early christian community had the opinion that Judas Iscariot was Peter's second cousin, that they were in fact right to so maintain?
    If useless, it may come fast.Otherwise,the thing may take years .

  2. Just so, Mike. In the U.S. folks gasp over "suppressed" or "secret" gospels that the evil / wicked / paedophilic Vatican (Booooo! Hisssss!) Does Not Want You to Read. I delight in telling the gaspers that said suppressed book is available for free on the 'net.

    But I do have one question -- is the paper clip on the right of ancient Roman, Byzantine, or Turkish make?

    -- Mack in Texas

  3. Mike and Mack - totally agree.
    That is not a paper clip Mack but an early Christian symbol of togetherness. Surprised you didn't know that. Hum.

  4. Is it of 500 AD? No. The Aramaic script of the cover says that it was written in 1500 AD. Besides, the script is in modern Aramaic. Ancient Aramaic had no vowels, but it has vowels. I think it is of 17th or 18th century.
    For more details, see: Assyrian News Agency Report

  5. What an interesting blog, introduced by a thought-provoking photo. The unusual wall painting of the dwellings is also a strangely modern interpretation. Something like this hieroglyphic view of a park by Swiss painter Paul Klee,
    The image can be seen at who can supply you with a canvas print of it.