It is much too early to know what information these 70 codices contain about the burial and resurrection of Jesus that might shed light on the shroud. Even an absence of information would be very telling. If genuine, they would be among the earliest Christian writings.
The Daily Mail is reporting:
The find of scrolls and 70 lead codices – tiny credit-card-sized volumes containing ancient Hebrew script talking of the Messiah and the Resurrection – has excited biblical scholars.
. . . [Margaret Barker, a former president of the Society for Old testament Study with a renowned knowledge of early Christian studies] said if the material is genuine then the books could be ‘vital and unique’ evidence of the earliest Christians.
‘If they are a forgery, what are they are forgery of?’ she said.’ Most fakes are drawn from existing material, but there is nothing like this that I have seen.’
The owner of the cache is a Bedouin named Hassan Saeda who lives in the village of Um-al-Ghanam in the north of Israel,according to the Sunday Times. He is believed to have obtained them after they were discovered in northern Jordan.
Two samples were sent to a laboratory in England where they were examined by Peter Northover, head of the materials science-based archaeology group.
The verdict was inconclusive without more tests, but he said the composition was ‘consistent with a range of ancient lead.’
However, Philip Davies, emeritus professor of biblical studies at Sheffield University is convinced the codices are genuine after studying one.
He has told colleagues privately that he believes the find is unlikely to have been forged, say the Sunday Times.