Skip to comments.Uncovering Hidden Texts at the Mountain of God
Posted on 09/14/2012 7:49:37 AM PDT by marshmallow
St. Catherines Monastery occupies a spot at the base of Mount Sinai where Moses is believed to have encountered the burning bush. We know monks have been there since at least the late 4th century, since the peripatetic Egeria noted its existence in the early 380s, but its possible monastic life there stretches back even further. So: really old.
Fr. Justin at work
St. Catherines has a massive store of ancient manuscripts, second in size and scope only to the Vaticans. For the last decade, St. Catherines head librarian Fr. Justin (a Texan) has been digitizing the collection in order to preserve it and make it available to scholars.
Photographing manuscripts is time consuming but not particularly difficult. More tantalizing, however, are the palimpsests. Since parchment was durable and hard to come by, it was common practice to scrape the text from a manuscript and reuse the now-blank surface for new texts. These scraped texts are called palimpsests, and every paleographer worth the title has wondered what was lost in the scraping and over-writing process. Maybe that second book of the Poetics?
It turns out that some treasures are indeed locked away beneath medieval texts, and now we have the technology capable of retrieving some of them. The process proved its worth when Michael Toth, formerly policy director at the National Reconnaissance Office, saw the potential to use modern imaging techniques to uncover hidden text. He assembled a team and offered to analyze a medieval prayer book that had been written over the earliest known manuscript of a work by Archimedes.
(Excerpt) Read more at patheos.com ...
We'll soon find out if that cuts any ice with the salafists.
Several years ago I saw a documentary called “Mountain of Fire: The Search for the True Mount Sinai”. It was fascinating and well worth searching out. The men doing the research contend Mt. Sinai is not in Egypt.
“This Monastery has document signed by Muhammad granting protection to the building and it’s inhabitants in perpetuity.”
A fake document by a fake prophet. Should be worth a lot.