Syrian Language "Holy Bible" Discovered in Dunhuang Grottoes

Chinese archaeologists have discovered excerpts from the Christian Bible written in an ancient Syrian language in the northern zone of the Mogao Grottoes of Dunhuang, northwest China's Gansu Province.

The excerpts from the New Testament were hand-copied onto a piece of white linen paper 30.8 cm long and 19.8 cm wide.

Experts from Beijing University said that the discovery is of great significance in studying the development of Christianity in the central Asia and the Dunhuang area in ancient times.

A number of other documents written in ancient Basba and Uyghur languages were also found. All of the documents, including the Syriac Bible, date back to the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368).

Chinese archaeologists found 248 grottoes in the northern zone, containing wooden movable type of the Uyghur, ancient documents, porcelain products, ox horn products, Persian silver coins and iron coins of the Western Xia (1038-1227).

Based on the discovery of movable-type of the Uyghur, Duan Jinzhang, a researcher from the Dunhuang Research Academy, said that the Mogao Grottoes might have had printing equipment used to print a lot of sutras and documents.

The Mogao Grottoes of Dunhuang, carved out of rocks, stretch for 1,600 meters along the eastern side of Mingsha Hill, 25 km southeast of the town of Dunhuang in the northwest desert corridor of Gansu.

Some 800 caves formed over the course of a thousand years are still intact, featuring frescoes covering an area of 50,000 square meters, more than 2,000 colored sculptured figures, and five wooden eaves hanging over the caves.

People's Daily Online ---