In 1883, a Jerusalem antiquities dealer named Moses Wilhelm Shapira announced the discovery of a remarkable artifact—15 fragments of ancient manuscripts written on leather which he claimed had been found near the Dead Sea. The manuscript contained bible verses from the Book of Deuteronomy, but they were slightly different from those used in churches and synagogues. Shapira explained that the different text and the paleo-Hebrew inscription suggested that the manuscripts were older than the Book of Deuteronomy, dating to the period of the First Temple, before the Babylonian Exile. If true, this would make the scrolls the oldest biblical manuscript in the world.
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A fragment of a copy of the Shapira scroll prepared in 1883 in consultation with the British scholar Christian David Ginsburg.