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Israel unearths fragments of 2,000-year-old biblical scroll

Courtesy: Dawn News

JERUSALEM: Israel on Tuesday unveiled fragments of a biblical scroll dating back some 2,000 years, in what experts described as the most significant such find since the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The artefacts were unearthed during excavations by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) in the Judean desert, which spans parts of southern Israel and the occupied West Bank.

In a site known as the “Cave of Horrors,” archaeologists found fragments of a scroll with a Greek translation of the Hebrew bible, the first such find since the early 1960s.

“For the first time in approximately 60 years, archaeological excavations have uncovered fragments of a biblical scroll,” the IAA said.

Oren Ableman, an IAA curator, said parts of the same scroll from the Book of the Twelve Minor Prophets were first discovered in the Cave of Horrors by Bedouins in the 1950s.

The Cave of Horrors took its name from the numerous skeletons found inside it and the treacherous terrain nearby.

Most of the text is in ancient Greek, a widely used language at the time, but the word Lord appears in ancient Hebrew script.

Oren said that among the most striking features of the new fragments is a deviation with all other known versions of the Old Testament: in one passage, the word “gates” is replaced by the word “streets.” The significance of that deviation is “what we are trying to discover now,” he said.

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