Recent analysis of the controversial Jordan Lead Codices, a collection of 70 lead and copper books that are purported to chronicle the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth, suggests that the books are indeed two millennia old, contrary to claims being made by scholars that the documents are merely modern forgeries.
Revealed to the public in 2011, the codices were reported to have been discovered in a cave in Jordan sometime around 2006, along with a number of other early Christian artifacts. Not long afterward, numerous experts in the field began discrediting the texts, based on apparent inconsistencies in the writing styles of the script, and similarities in the iconography to earlier works.
In a press release, Professors Roger Webb and Chris Jeynes with the University of Surrey’s Ion Beam Centre, say that their analysis of the lead from the main book suggests that the artifact may be between 1,800 and 2,000 years old. The codex’s metal was similar in composition when compared to a sample of lead excavated from an ancient Roman site found in Dorset, England.
Modern lead would contain traces of polonium, a radioactive substance with a half-life of only 4.5 months, but the codex’s pages lacked this signature, indicating that its metal was at least a century old.
Further analysis of the metal’s rate of corrosion and crystallization suggested an even older origin for the book, indicating an age of roughly two millennia. "While there may be variations in decay and corrosion that depend upon the environmental conditions in which the objects were stored or hidden, there is a strong underlying theme of decay from within the metal," according to their press statement.
"It is oxidising and breaking down at atomic level to revert to its natural state. This is not witnessed in lead objects that are several centuries old and is not possible to produce by artificial acceleration (e.g. through heating)." Finally, an analysis of the metal’s crystallization indicated an age of 1,800 to 2,000 years.
The codex itself depicts Jesus’ attempts to restore a then 1,000-year-old Hebrew tradition that dated back to the time of King David. This tradition was based in the Temple of Solomon, where the practitioners worshiped a male-female God, as opposed to the male-only deity of later traditions.
- Samaritan Pentateuch, The Abisha Scroll, the oldest scroll among the Samaritans in Nablus. via Wikimedia Commons
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