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Uncovering Hidden Texts at the Mountain of God
Patheos.com ^ | 9/13/12 | Thomas L. McDonald

Posted on 09/14/2012 7:49:37 AM PDT by marshmallow

St. Catherine’s 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 it’s possible monastic life there stretches back even further. So: really old.

Fr. Justin at work

St. Catherine’s has a massive store of ancient manuscripts, second in size and scope only to the Vatican’s. For the last decade, St. Catherine’s 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 ...


TOPICS: Catholic; History; Orthodox Christian
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1 posted on 09/14/2012 7:49:41 AM PDT by marshmallow
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To: marshmallow
This Monastery has document signed by Muhammad granting protection to the building and it's inhabitants in perpetuity.

We'll soon find out if that cuts any ice with the salafists.

2 posted on 09/14/2012 8:01:08 AM PDT by AU72
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To: AU72

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.


3 posted on 09/14/2012 8:10:12 AM PDT by Kharis13 (That noise you hear is our Founding Fathers spinning in their graves.)
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To: AU72

“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.


4 posted on 09/14/2012 8:27:12 AM PDT by DonkeyBonker (Oppose Senate Amendment S.A. 2575! I need more than 10 rounds in my magazine.)
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