There is mounting excitement over the revealing of a sealed ancient text that is likely to contain parts of an early version of the New Testament. The mysterious Christian manuscript known as M.910 will be will be viewed using an X-ray scanner; the pages of the ancient text are so fragile that researchers have been reluctant to risk touching them.
University of Kentucky computer scientist Dr. Brent Seales has developed software that can model the surface of a contorted piece of papyrus or parchment from X-ray data and then derive readable text by assigning letters to their proper surface.
M.910 has been preserved at New York City's Morgan Library since the 1960s, with researchers spending years figuring out how they could view the document without damaging it. Morgan's lead book conservator, Maria L. Fredericks, has said that the text is not able to be transported from the library— she keeps a dish of bits that have fallen off the parched text since it arrived five decades ago.
The manuscript was written by Coptic monks in Egypt, possibly as early as the fourth century but more likely in the fifth or sixth, and it is believed to contain an early version of the Acts of the Apostles, the fifth book found in the New Testament.
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