UPDATE: See the latest updates about this discovery at Jordanian Lead Plates: Authentic or Forgery?
David Larsen at HeavenlyAscents.com has pointed out an interesting recent discovery (see his posts here and here). A collection of dozens of books made from metal plates have been found in Jordan that initial tests show date from the first century AD.
Now this certainly sounds exciting, particularly to the Latter-day Saints. As we know, Joseph Smith said that he received and translated ancient sealed gold plates, in what became The Book of Mormon.
This find is interesting for a number of reasons:
- The books are written on metal plates (lead and copper)
- They are bound by rings on one side (also known as codices)
- Many of the books are “sealed” on all sides
- They appear to be from the first century AD, and may be the earliest Christian documents ever found
- Scholars have noted that, if authentic, this could be bigger than the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls
- They appear to be written in an archaic Hebrew script
- Some appears to be written in code
- The sealed nature, and code appearance of the text, suggests that these may contain “secret teachings,” perhaps even “Temple based documentation”
- A number of recognizable symbols appear, including the menorah (which can be seen in the photos above), branches, fruits, trees, and of the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot), associated with the enthronement rituals of ancient Davidic kings, and with the coming of the Messiah
Dr. Margaret Barker commented on the discovery:
“The Book of Revelation tells of a sealed book that was opened only by the Messiah. Other texts from the period tell of sealed books of wisdom and of a secret tradition passed on by Jesus to his closest disciples. That is the context for this discovery. So if they are forgeries, what are they forgeries of?”
Extensive investigation must still be done to verify the authenticity of these plates and their meaning. If they are genuine, this could be a huge discovery. (See an update of this discovery from the BBC News).
See below for the full press release issued today about the find: