Ancient lead tablets known as codices, recently proven authentic, have been dated from around 2,000 years ago.The tablets were initially found in a cave in Jordan in 2008 by a Bedouin and not only mention Jesus and his disciples, they include a portrait that could be the earliest one of Jesus Christ.
2,000 Year-Old Lead Pages
However, if it hadn’t been for two British authors, Dave and Jennifer Elkington who campaigned to have the lead tablets analyzed and tested, this incredible conclusion may not have yet been made. David Elkington, 54, is a scholar of ancient religious history and archaeology, and one of the privileged few who have seen the tablets.
Having the tablets taken seriously was not an easy task at the beginning because they were suspected of being fakes by several scholars — most of whom had not seen them — and were initially contested. The Elkingtons say some Christian groups are still calling them fakes.
The ancient tablets took a while to find a permanent safe home since their initial discovery in that Jordan cave. An Israeli Bedouin acquired them subsequently and was said to have smuggled them into Israel for a time. Then, the Jordanian government was able to reclaim them and the codices ended up in the safety of the Department of Antiquities in Amman, the capital of Jordan. It was from the Department of Antiquities that the two authors eventually borrowed the tablets for testing. The experts were then able to place them around the time of Jesus’ ministry, about 2000 years ago.
The Daily Mail stated that the specialized testing was done by Professors Roger Webb and Chris Jeynes at the University of Surrey’s Nodus Laboratory at the Ion Beam Centre. They confirm that the tablet is compatible with a like-sample of ancient Roman lead taken from an excavation site in Dorset.
The 2,000-year-old codices — a kind of bound manuscript — look like a ring binder and are covered in eight-point star designs, said to be associated with the coming of the messiah. They also mention the names of the apostles James, John and Peter.
Analysis has also confirmed that the language of the codices is Paleo-Hebrew. The focal point of the script seems to be that of Christ’s preaching as well as encouraging worship in Solomon’s temple where the face of God was believed to be actually seen. Speculation has ensued that this could be the same temple mentioned in the Bible that involved the moneylenders. Further examination of the script reveals that Christ was reviving and breathing new life into a thousand-year-old tradition from the time of King David.
David Elkington said “Jesus was seeking to restore the Temple. To put back that which had been lost in the reforms that came before his time.”
What is the Significance of This Find?
The British Sun explains, “Although Christ is referred to outside of the Gospels, for example by the Roman writer Tacitus, these would be the earliest and only Hebrew-Christian documents in existence — and linguistic and metallurgical analysis now suggests they are.
Dr. Hugh Schonfield, an eminent authority who was prominent in the examination of the Dead Sea Scrolls, predicted that a metal book would be found. One had been described in a scroll he had worked on called The Damascus Document, a description that fits one of the codices exactly.
According to the Elkingtons, the pages also point to the fact that Christ was part of a Hebrew sect dating back 1,000 years to King David and that he had worshiped in the Temple of Solomon and believed in a male-female God. David Elkington concluded they could be “the major discovery of Christian history.”
As always in the case of relics, there is division among prominent scholars still, however, they say if verified completely, this “could prove as pivotal a discovery as the dead sea scrolls in 1947.”
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