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Controversy is brewing over a 2,000-year-old Bible discovered in Turkey. If it’s real – it’s an astonishing religious artifact, but some experts dispute its authenticity calling the manuscript a hoax. You decide.

Ancient Bible discovered in Turkey ignites controversy

A viral story began circulating this month about an ancient Bible discovered in Turkey that is estimated to be between 1000 and 2000 years old.

The discovery came to light after smugglers were busted trying to sell the ancient manuscript to undercover officers. In addition to the ancient Bible, authorities also seized jewelry, historic coins and other relics.

The Bible has been valued between $14-28 million. The Christian Post reported that photocopies of the book were being sold for $1.7 million.

But the most controversial aspect of this aged Bible is the content it contains.

Astonishing image of Christ

The most astonishing aspect of the ancient manuscript, besides its gold-leaf pages throughout, is that it features a prominent picture of a haloed Jesus Christ depicted with the appropriate Middle Eastern ethnicity. The other images throughout this Bible are equally impressive.

The most controversial aspect of the ancient Bible

One of the most significantly controversial elements of the content of this ancient Bible is that it purportedly contains the Gospel of Barnabas.

According to tradition, Barnabas, originally named Joseph, was an early Christian and a prominent Christian disciple in Jerusalem, spoken of beginning in Acts 4:36 in the New Testament.

This Barnabas has been associated with, but not proven to be, the author of two different apocryphal works (writings by early Christians not considered part of the biblical canon), the Gospel of Barnabas and the Epistle of Barnabas.

The gospel of Barnabas alleges: that Jesus wasn’t crucified; that Judas took Christ’s place on the cross; Jesus denied being the Messiah; Jesus was an Arab; Jesus descended alive into heaven.

It has been noted that the gospel of Barnabas has similarities with the Muslim interpretation of Jesus. The text contains a story where Jesus predicts the coming of the prophet Mohammed.

However, for many reasons, the gospel of Barnabas was left out of the modern Bible and is considered not to be genuine divinely inspired Scripture.

Suppressed by the Christian church?

The Daily Mail reported that Turkish culture and tourism minister Ertugrul Gunay claims the manuscript could be an authentic version of the gospel which was suppressed by the Christian church for its strong parallels with the Islamic view of Jesus.”

Reportedly, the Vatican made an official request to the Turkish government seeking to examine the ancient Bible. However, allegedly, Turkish authorities have refused and have kept the manuscript hidden for 12 years.

Is this ancient Bible fake and a hoax?

Photos of the Bible found in Turkey show realistic aging. But it’s not about the age of the manuscript – it’s all about what’s inside of it.

It’s worth mentioning that this story about this Bible, even though it is currently re-circulating again, it isn’t new. It first was reported by the Daily Mail in 2012, and the smuggling operation bust has been said to have occurred in 2000 by some sources, while the Express UK reports and others say it was 2015, which can’t be true since the story came out in 2012. Also, the age of the ancient Bible is in question, with estimates varying anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 years.

Nonetheless, varying dates and reports aside, what this Bible contains is what provides indications that it could be a forgery and a hoax.

Signs of a forgery?

Reports also vary about the language used in this is where we find our first clue that this manuscript could be forged. One report claims the Bible was written in the Syriac language. According to Wikipedia: “Classical Syriac is written in the Syriac alphabet, a derivation of the Aramaic alphabet.” Other reports say it is written in Aramaic. To be fair, for all intents and purposes it’s kind of the same thing–the reports are close enough. According to Wikipedia, the correct term would probably be Assyrian Neo-Aramaic.

The Vatican insider suggested that the ancient Bible was a “hoax” and suggested the work was a creation of a European or Jewish scholar from the middle ages. It pointed out a number of grammatical and conceptual errors that occurred in the original language. Most specifically, they took issue with inscribed tax that occurs at the beginning of the book. The text reads:

“In the name of the Lord, this book is written by monks of the high monastery in Nineveh in the 1500th year of our Lord.”

Vatican insider says monks would never refer to the Bible as simply a “book.” Monks were to have referred to the manuscript as a “holy book” or “old and New Testament.”