What Might Be The World’s Oldest Complete Torah Found In Italian Library

Straight outta Indiana Jones.

1. A Hebrew professor at the University of Bologna in Italy says he’s identified the oldest and most complete scroll of the Torah.

HANDOUT / Reuters

2. According to professor Mauro Perani — and verified by two separate carbon tests — the scroll was written between 1155 and 1255.

HANDOUT / Reuters

3. The artifact was reportedly found in the university’s library, erroneously catalogued in the 17th century section.


4. The key was apparently in the handwriting.

HANDOUT / Reuters

From ABC News:

Once Perani came upon the manuscript in November 2012, he immediately understood that it was much older than how it had been catalogued. The professor saw that the scroll was written in the square oriental Babylonian style, and not in the Palestinian style that was used in the 17th century.

He also spotted another clue: the scroll did not follow the rules of Hebrew script written by the scholar Maimonides in his Code of Jewish religious law in the second half of the 12th century which forbade many features found in this scroll. Every manuscript written since the Code follows the rules. Perani consulted the top experts in the field from Paris to Jerusalem and was able to conclude that the copy of the Torah is at least 800 years old, probably written between the years 1155 and 1225. Two carbon-14 tests were carried out on the manuscript in Italy and the United states which confirmed Perani’s conclusions.

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Jessica Testa is a national reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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