Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Another Syriac manuscript in Turkey

HERE WE GO AGAIN: Priceless 300-year-old religious manuscript in Syriac discovered in eastern province (Hurriyet Daily News).

What is it with Turkey and "priceless" smuggled manuscripts? There is a photo of this one, but the resolution is too poor to make out the contents. It is a codex written in red and black ink, with a lot of deterioration around the edges and what looks like considerable water damage. I don't know how the estimate of the date was arrived at or how accurate it is, but 300-year-old Syriac manuscripts are not particularly hard to come by and I doubt that one would be "priceless" unless its contents were very unusual.

Again, it's good to see that the Turkish authorities are being vigilant about manuscript smuggling, but I suspect that nothing much will come of the extraordinary claims about this one, any more that the claims about an ancient Gospel of Barnabas manuscript that turned out to be an early modern copy of the Gospel of Matthew or that supposed nineteen-hundred-year-old Torah manuscript.

UPDATE (5 May): More here.