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Found: the Oldest Version Ever of Leviticus

From the time of Jesus.

(Photo: Science Advances)

The earliest version we have of the Bible, as we read it today, is called the Codex Amiatinus, which dates to the 8th century and sits in a library in Florence. Before that, all we have are fragments: stray books, scrolls and various other versions of the book. 

But researchers in Israel, using a new scanning technology, recently uncovered a portion of the book of Leviticus that is, in fact, pretty much the same version we read today, according to the Associated Press. And the portion—found on a charred bit of a scroll that had been sitting in an archaeologist’s storeroom for decades—dates to over 2,000 years ago, or right around the time of Jesus.

This squares with what many experts have long felt, that the modern Bible is indeed that old. But this is the first time researchers have actually found proof. 

“This is quite amazing for us,” Dead Sea scroll scholar Emmanuel Tov told the AP. “In 2,000 years, this text has not changed.”

The researchers unveiled their findings in a study published Wednesday in Science Advances, proving among other things, that the book we read today is about as antiquated as we thought.