Fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls Long Thought to be Blank Contain Text That’s Invisible to the Naked Eye

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For decades, fragments from the ancient Dead Sea Scrolls were stowed away at the University of Manchester, deemed largely worthless.

Yes, they were still significant as authentic fragments of the coveted scrolls have been hard to come by, but they were blank, and therefore, just scraps of paper.

Until now.

Researchers have found that four of the 51 fragments believed to have been blank do, in fact, contain readable Hebrew/Aramaic text. They just needed a special camera to see it.

The surprise discovery is notable because scholars have long tried to gain a better understanding of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which are some of the oldest versions of the Hebrew Bible and other religious texts that date to the time of Jesus.

“The most substantial fragment has the remains of four lines of text with 15-16 letters, most of which are only partially preserved, but the word Shabbat (Sabbath) can be clearly read,” the University of Manchester said in a statement.

Read More: CNN