The Texts That Rocked the Foundations of Christianity (Video)
In 1831, Robert Curzon, an English nobleman, left Oxford without completing his studies, symbolizing the restlessness of his era. Disenchanted with England, he sought solace in Egypt, captivated by its pyramids. Curzon was not just an admirer of ancient wonders; he was a devoted collector of manuscripts, particularly biblical texts. Egypt's early Christian monasteries became his focus. The Syrian Monastery, one of Egypt's oldest, lay 90 miles west of Cairo. In 1834, reaching it was a formidable endeavor. The monastery held a valuable but neglected manuscript collection. Curzon, envisioning himself as a biblical knight, aimed to rescue these texts.
The monastery was indeed in dire straits, suffering from poverty. Books, even precious manuscripts, were used for warmth in the absence of firewood. Curzon’s resourcefulness led him to a blind monk, whom he enticed with spirits to access the library's deep chambers. In those dim vaults, he discovered a treasure trove of ancient biblical manuscripts, some dating back to the 4th century A.D. Among them were fully bound Christian texts and fragments of the Gospel in ancient Syriac. Remarkably, he also uncovered the Acts of Peter and Paul, a Christian text omitted from the Bible of his time. Robert Curzon’s discoveries spread across Europe, sparking curiosity among scholars.
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Top image: Ancient biblical text. Source: SVasco / Adobe Stock.