World’s earliest illustrated bible found in monastery

Published on July 5th, 2010 | by Admin

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bible

An illustrated Christian bible which dates back to the 5th century A.D. has been found in an Ethiopian monastery.

The incredible relic has been kept ever since in the Garima Monastery near Adwa in the north of the country, which is in the Tigray region at 7,000 feet.

Experts believe it is also the earliest example of book binding still attached to the original pages.

The survival of the Gospels is incredible considering the country has been under Muslim invasion, Italian invasion and a fire in the 1930s destroyed the monastery’s church.

They were written on goat skin in the early Ethiopian language of Ge’ez.

There are two volumes which date from the same time, but the second is written in a different hand from the first. Both contain illustrations and the four Gospels.

Though the texts had been mentioned by the occasional traveller since the 1950s, it had been thought they dated from the 11th century at the earliest.

Carbon dating, however, gives a date between 330 and 650 – which tantalisingly overlaps the date Abba Garima arrived in the country.

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