Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Major Discovery of Christian History?

Fiona Macrae reports on the finding of an "ancient collection of 70 tiny books, their lead pages bound with wire" — Could This Be the Biggest Find Since the Dead Sea Scrolls? Seventy Metal Books Found in Cave in Jordan Could Change Our View of Biblical History.

The fact that "many of the books are sealed, prompting academics to speculate they are actually the lost collection of codices mentioned in the Bible’s Book Of Revelation," is intriguing, given that as Dr Margaret Barker, former president of the Society for Old Testament Study, reminds us, "The Book of Revelation tells of a sealed book that was opened only by the Messiah."

David Elkington, a British scholar of ancient religious history and archeology, said, "It is a breathtaking thought that we have held these objects that might have been held by the early saints of the Church." Also evidence that we are talking about the Church with a capital c and not some weird proto-evangelicals is that "other artifacts, including an incense bowl, were also found at the same site as the tablets" [emphasis added].

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Blogger G.B. Sadler said...

One feature I find quite interesting about the speculations -- and that's all that are out there right now, speculations -- some would have it as a very important find because it would be Christian writings yet earlier than Paul (maybe). Yet, what are they using as a key reference for their speculations? The later book of Revelations (of John, as opposed to other non-canonical Revelations).

I'm not raising this as a point in an argument about the significance or lack thereof of these codices -- just noting how in the rush to feel like we've found something antedating Paul's Letters people are grasping at any reference they can possibly hang this new find on.

Myself, I'll wait a while before taking any stand, or speculating. I've seen enough "revolutionary" finds that turned out not to be quite so paradigm-shattering once properly understood.

8:15 AM  

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