Two weeks ago it was a first century fragment of Mark's Gospel.
This week it is a 1500 year old, handwritten, Syriac Bible.
The news stories claim that it was seized from smugglers, is worth $28 million (but you can get a photocopy of a page for the cut rate price of $1.7 million). Oh, I forgot to mention that the Vatican wants to see it, which means there must be a conspiracy here somewhere.
Here is a bit of the article.
The gang was reportedly convicted of smuggling various items seized during the operation, including the Bible, and all the artifacts were kept in a safe at an Ankara courthouse. The Bible, which was reportedly kept at the courthouse for years, was only recently handed over to the care of the Ankara Ethnography Museum.
Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay said on Thursday that the ministry has received a copy of Bible from the Ankara courthouse which dates back to 1,500 years ago and is thought to have been written in Aramaic, the language of Jesus. He said the Bible needs restoration and it will be opened to public display after this.
The Turkish media reports also said on Thursday that the Vatican has requested that Turkey allow it to examine the 1,500-year-old Bible; however, the Vatican Embassy in Ankara denied the reports on Thursday suggesting that the Vatican had asked Turkey to examine the copy of Bible in Ankara.
The leather-bound Bible, which is said to be worth TL 40 million, was written on leather sheets and is now under protection as it is regarded as a valuable cultural asset. Even a Xerox copy of pages from the book is reported to be worth as much as TL 3-4 million.
Some media reports also said the copy of Bible in Ankara may be a copy of the much-debated Gospel of Barnabas, which Muslims claim is an original gospel that was later suppressed; the oldest copies of this gospel date back to the 16th century and are written in Italian and Spanish. However, the Gospel of Barnabas is not included in the four gospels that currently comprise the canonical New Testament -- Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
The Gospel of Barnabas contradicts the canonical New Testament account of Jesus and his ministry but has strong parallels with the Islamic view of Jesus. Much of its content and themes parallel Islamic ideas, and it includes a prediction by Jesus of the Prophet Muhammad coming to earth.
You can read the whole article here.
Well, what to say? It all sounds exciting and too good to be true. I don't know Syriac and I am certainly not an expert on ancient manuscripts. But Pete Williams is and over at Evangelical Text Criticism he suggests that it is probably a fraud and that we have seen this Bible before. So if you have seen this story don't get too excited because it looks like either the facts are wrong or it is a fraud.