Ancient scroll from Greece soon to be decoded

From ABC News:

More than four decades after the Derveni papyrus was found in a 2,400-year-old nobleman’s grave in northern Greece, researchers said Thursday they are close to uncovering new text through high-tech digital analysis from the blackened fragments left after the manuscript was burnt on its owner’s funeral pyre.

Large sections of the mid-4th century B.C. book a philosophical treatise on ancient religion were read years ago, but never officially published.

Now, archaeologist Polyxeni Veleni believes U.S. imaging and scanning techniques used to decipher the Judas Gospel which portrays Judas not as a sinister betrayer but as Jesus’ confidant will considerably expand and clarify that text.

“I believe some 10-20 percent of new text will be added, which however will be of crucial importance,” said Veleni, director of the Thessaloniki Archaeological Museum, where the manuscript is kept.

“This will fill in many gaps, we will get a better understanding of the sequence and the existing text will become more complete,” Veleni told The Associated Press.

The scroll, originally several yards of papyrus rolled around two wooden runners, was found half burnt in 1962. It dates to around 340 B.C., during the reign of Philip II of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great.

“It is the oldest surviving book, if you can use that word for a scroll, in western tradition,” Veleni said. “This was a unique find, of exceptional importance.”

Sounds pretty sweet. Check out the rest of the story, it’s pretty interesting. I didn’t know that Anaxagoras was thought to be Socrates’ teacher. I hope they can get as much of it decoded as possible.


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