Monday, April 18, 2005

New classics

The Independent (UK) newspaper reports that a group of ancient, seemingly unreadable documents might contain both Classic works of literature and ancient Christian gospels.

Now, in a breakthrough described as the classical equivalent of finding the holy grail, Oxford University scientists have employed infra-red technology to open up the hoard, known as the Oxyrhynchus Papyri, and with it the prospect that hundreds of lost Greek comedies, tragedies and epic poems will soon be revealed.

In the past four days alone, Oxford's classicists have used it to make a series of astonishing discoveries, including writing by Sophocles, Euripides, Hesiod and other literary giants of the ancient world, lost for millennia. They even believe they are likely to find lost Christian gospels, the originals of which were written around the time of the earliest books of the New Testament.

Between these documents and those at the Villa of the Papyri in Pompei, we might have some wonderful new texts. But where are the rest of Sappho's poems? (Via Bartholomew's Notes on Religion)


Anonymous Laura said...

Sappho was my first thought too. The loss of her poems is a great loss to the modern world.

8:04 PM  

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