Azusa University has acquired 5 pieces of the Dead Sea Scrolls, each about the size of an adult's palm, one from a Christian ministry in Phoenix and the other four of them from a dealer in Venice.

Meantime, Loyola Marymount has a leaf out of an original Gutenberg bible on display.

The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in a set of caves starting in 1947.

There are 950 pieces of text in all, and there is a frantic - if painstakingly careful - scramble to get hold of and study the fragments.

They date from around the time of Jesus and include recognisable biblical text, including Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy.

Azusa's pieces include a scrap of text from the book of Daniel.

Robert Duke, assistant professor of biblical studies is hugely excited by them: "They are 2,000 years old, and you can still see letters with the naked eye."

Another piece, which has already been studied, is from Deuteronomy, and refers to a different mountain in a passage in which Jews are instructed to build an altar on a mountain compared to modern bibles, suggesting that this may be the original, and the text has been altered by a Jewish faction from another territory.

The Gutenberg bible is a different proposition: it dates from the 1450s when printing presses were newly created (by Johannes Gutenberg, a goldsmith).

It is still an historical piece, and also in beautiful condition, with the cream-coloured pages and thick Gothic text decorated in the same way a hand-written copy would be.

The bible leaf, which shows a section of Isaiah, has been estimated as being worth $50,000-100,000 if it came up for auction.

A fragment of the Dead Sea Scrolls would be worth more, but isn't likely to be available for private ownership. 


Featured products

Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Sale price£399
In stock
Fidel Castro signed certificateFidel Castro Signed Certificate
Fidel Castro signed certificate
Sale price£2,995
In stock
King Henry VIII Autographed DocumentKing Henry VIII Autographed Document
King Henry VIII Autographed Document
Sale price£55,000
In stock