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A scholar from the Austrian Academy of Sciences has discovered a palimpsest fragment of a third-century Syriac translation of the Gospel of Matthew in the Vatican Library. The Syriac Gospel of Matthew was erased over 1,300 years ago by a scribe who reused the parchment for another work. In a study published in the journal New Testament Studies, Grigory Kessel reports that the manuscript was discovered while researchers were using ultraviolet light to reveal the hidden text that had been erased. In this case, it turned out to be a double palimpsest, as text had been erased twice to make room for new writing, resulting in three layers of text. The Syriac Gospel of Matthew was written on the parchment sometime in the third century but was erased in the sixth century so that a Greek work called the Apophthegmata Patrum could be recorded. Finally, this was erased in the tenth century and the parchment was reused to write a collection of Georgian hymns. This manuscript is only the fourth known textual witness to the Old Syriac translation of the Gospels discovered to date.





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