23.2.2012 | 11:45
Ankara / 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)