Carbon dating four gospels Adult cam self broadcast
The survival of the Gospels is incredible considering the country has been under Muslim invasion, Italian invasion and a fire in the 1930s destroyed the monastery's church.
They were written on goat skin in the early Ethiopian language of Ge'ez.
The incredible Garima Gospels are named after a monk who arrived in the African country in the fifth century and is said to have copied them out in just one day.The proposal that they made up a unified work was first advanced by Martin Noth in 1943, and has been widely accepted.Noth proposed that the entire history was the creation of a single individual working in the exilic period (6th century BCE); since then there has been wide recognition that the history appeared in two "editions", the first in the reign of Judah's King Josiah (late 7th century), the second during the exile (6th century).There are two volumes which date from the same time, but the second is written in a different hand from the first. Though the texts had been mentioned by the occasional traveller since the 1950s, it had been thought they dated from the 11th century at the earliest.Carbon dating, however, gives a date between 330 and 650 - which tantalisingly overlaps the date Abba Garima arrived in the country.
Beautifully illustrated, the colours are still vivid and thanks to the Ethiopian Heritage Fund have been conserved.