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Ancient manuscript with unique details of Jesus’ childhood discovered

Recently, scientists decided to examine an inconspicuous papyrus that was kept in the Hamburg library. It turned out that this manuscript is an important religious text that tells about the childhood of Jesus of Nazareth.

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An ancient manuscript found in the Hamburg State and University Library. Karl von Ossietzky, offers a rare glimpse into the childhood of Jesus of Nazareth. Previously, historians relied on a limited number of texts outside the Bible to piece together the details of his life, reports IFLScience.

Dr. Lajos Berkes from the Humboldt University of Berlin and Professor Gabriel Nocchi Macedo from the University of Liège carefully studied this fragment. According to them, the manuscript known as “P.Hamb.Graec. 1011” is the oldest known example of the Gospel of Thomas, dating back to the 4th or 5th century AD.

The text is the earliest known example of the apocryphal Infancy Gospel of Thomas. Image credit: Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Hamburg

Before this discovery, the oldest copy of this Gospel was thought to date back to the 11th century AD.

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Dr Birks said: “The fragment is of extreme interest for research… because we have been able to date it to the 4th-5th century, making it the oldest known copy.”

This ancient text, measuring approximately 11 by 5 centimeters and containing 13 lines of Greek script, was overlooked for decades because it was mistakenly thought to be an ordinary document due to its rough handwriting.

The Gospel of Thomas tells of events from Jesus’ childhood that are not included in the Bible.

Dr Nocchi Macedo confirmed: “Our findings on this late ancient Greek copy of the work support the modern assessment that the Gospel of Thomas was originally written in Greek.”

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This fragment includes the story known as “The Animation of the Sparrows” where little Jesus creates clay sparrows and brings them to life.

The discovery of this papyrus is important because it provides historical context and helps scholars trace the development and spread of early Christian texts.

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Zoe Mitchell

Zoe Mitchell is an independent researcher and writer specializing in extraordinary topics. With a degree in journalism, she delves into the mysteries that lie beyond the surface of our reality.