Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Irish medieval book of psalms unearthed

Irish archaeologists Tuesday heralded the discovery of an ancient book of psalms by a construction worker while driving the shovel of his backhoe into a bog.

The approximately 20-page book has been dated to the years 800-1000. Trinity College manuscripts expert Bernard Meehan said it was the first discovery of an Irish early medieval document in two centuries.
Crucially, he said, the bog owner covered up the book with damp soil. Had it been left exposed overnight, he said, "it could have dried out and just vanished, blown away."

The book was found open to a page describing, in Latin script, Psalm 83, in which God hears complaints of other nations' attempts to wipe out the name of Israel.

Wallace said several experts spent Tuesday analyzing only that page -- the number of letters on each line, lines on each page, size of page -- and the book's binding and cover, which he described as "leather velum, very thick wallet in appearance."

It could take months of study, he said, just to identify the safest way to pry open the pages without damaging or destroying them. He ruled out the use of X-rays to investigate without moving the pages. [snip] CNN

Thanks to the Catholic Report that commented: A construction worker in Ireland just happens to notice something sticking out of the mud. Fortunately, he immediately grabbed it. Had he not, it would have dried up. The story doesn't end there. The bookmark was set to the psalm where Israel is under attack from angry neighbors. If this isn't the Hand of God. How many years did this book sit in the ground and by chance a worker is not only able to save it but experts are able to see at which psalm the person was last reading. Of all the psalms, this bookmark was set to a psalm that is totally relevant in today's Middle East Crisis.

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