By Taylor Luck
AMMAN – Jordanian antiquities authorities have announced the recovery of several lead-sealed texts which they believe will prove whether a cache of metal books represent the oldest Christian writings ever discovered are authentic or well-crafted forgeries.
According to Department of Antiquities Director Ziad Saad, security services recovered this week several metal books from the local black market belonging to a horde of metal codices which some believe hold the secrets of early Christianity and could soon to be at the heart of an international dispute.
Upon examination, the recently recovered books were deemed to be identical to a set of 70 lead-sealed metal texts currently in the possession of an Israeli bedouin which authorities announced last month were illegally excavated from a cave in northern Jordan a few years ago, Saad said.
The location of the discovery, a series of caves near the east bank of the River Jordan near the village of Sarhan, and preliminary testing carried out by British experts dating the codices to the early first century AD, have set off speculation amongst the biblical academic community that the lead-sealed texts may be the earliest Christian writings ever discovered.