A scientist said he found a chapter of the Bible hidden for more than 1,500 years.
These misleading articles have been circulating for the last few months as clickbait sensational articles, by misrepresenting facts. They claim that the manuscript reveals a hidden chapter or never before seen text, which imply that some unique textual variant or a textual reading has been discovered. However, in reality the writing within this manuscript was hidden beneath an overwritten text, something which is not rare in ancient manuscripts, where due to scarcity of manuscripts, they had to recycle the existing books; the reading (content) itself is not unknown. The Syrian text is identical with the existing Syrian (Peshitta) Curetonian Gospels, as mentioned in the linked Cambridge article.
Collation of the Gospel text based on the UV images produced by the Vatican library, enables us to establish that the extant text is identical to the Curetonianus (British Library, Add. 14451). Although in a number of instances the Curetonianus and the Sinaiticus agree against the Peshitta (Matt 12.5, 12.6, 12.7a, 12.7b, 12.8, 12.10a, 12.11b, 12.12, 12.13, 12.19a, 12.24b), there is significant evidence to demonstrate the absolute agreement of the Vatican fragment with the Curetonianus as against the Sinaiticus (Matt 12.1b, 12.2, 12.3, 12.4, 12.9, 12.10b, 12.11a, 12.16, 12.17, 12.19b, 12.21, 12.22, 12.23, 12.24a, 12.25).
The variants are so minute to be useful only for the textual critics. The old Syrian translation (Peshitta) is known to be from the third century, and this copy in question dates to under the sixth century. Aina reports:
A medievalist from the Austrian Academy of Sciences (OeAW) has now been able to make legible the lost words on this layered manuscript, a so-called palimpsest: Grigory Kessel discovered one of the earliest translations of the Gospels, made in the 3rd century and copied in the 6th century, on individual surviving pages of this manuscript. The findings are published in the journal New Testament Studies. One of the oldest fragments that testifies ancient Syrian version
"The tradition of Syriac Christianity knows several translations of the Old and New Testaments," says medievalist Grigory Kessel. "Until recently, only two manuscripts were known to contain the Old Syriac translation of the gospels." While one of these is now kept in the British Library in London, another was discovered as a palimpsest in St. Catherine's Monastery at Mount Sinai. The fragments from the third manuscript were recently identified in the course of the "Sinai Palimpsests Project."
The small manuscript fragment, which can now be considered as the fourth textual witness, was identified by Grigory Kessel using ultraviolet photography as the third layer of text, i.e., double palimpsest, in the Vatican Library manuscript. The fragment is so far the only known remnant of the fourth manuscript that attests to the Old Syriac version--and offers a unique gateway to the very early phase in the history of the textual transmission of the Gospels
For example, while the original Greek of Matthew chapter 12, verse 1 says, "At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath; and his disciples became hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat," the Syriac translation says, "[...] began to pick the heads of grain, rub them in their hands, and eat them."
Claudia Rapp, director of the Institute for Medieval Research at the OeAW, says, "Grigory Kessel has made a great discovery thanks to his profound knowledge of old Syriac texts and script characteristics." The Syriac translation was written at least a century before the oldest Greek manuscripts that have survived, including the Codex Sinaiticus. The earliest surviving manuscripts with this Syriac translation date from the 6th century and are preserved in the erased layers, so-called palimpsests, of newly written parchment leaves.
The additional gloss of "rubbing them in hands" in Matt 12:1 is simply harmonization with Luke 6:1. Maybe such variant exists in some Greek mss as well.
We can observe how misleadingly the source Claudia Rapp exaggerates the value of the Syrian translation by saying the original translation which began in the 3rd century is older than the oldest (full copies of original) Greek, like the 4th century Codex Sinaiticus. These oldest full copies are often misrepresented as the oldest surviving Greek text, as if there are no surviving mss before them.
The '1,500' Year Old 'Bible' and Muslim Propaganda
Since 2010, there have been a hoax being circulated about a secret new 1500 years old Vatican manuscript (Gospel of Barnabas) which predicts Muhammad. This hoax falsely claimed that the 15th century Gospel of Barnabas is 1500 years old. The Gospel of Barnabas was already known, and Muslims leaders like Deedat have circulated and printed it misleadingly to support Muhammad, but this news about the Vatican giving this copy of that medieval forgery to Turkey revived the hoax for the internet among muslims and naive unlearned people.