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And in more scholarly news...

From tdj and elsewhere, a very exciting bit of news about, oh, pretty much everything having to do with Western literature as we know it:


"Since it was unearthed more than a century ago, the hoard of documents known as the Oxyrhynchus Papyri has fascinated classical scholars. There are 400,000 fragments, many containing text from the great writers of antiquity. But only a small proportion have been read so far. Many were illegible.

Now scientists are using multi-spectral imaging techniques developed from satellite technology to read the papyri at Oxford University's Sackler Library. The fragments, preserved between sheets of glass, respond to the infra-red spectrum - ink invisible to the naked eye can be seen and photographed.

...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.

...Academics have hailed it as a development which could lead to a 20 per cent increase in the number of great Greek and Roman works in existence. Some are even predicting a "second Renaissance".

When it has all been read - mainly in Greek, but sometimes in Latin, Hebrew, Coptic, Syriac, Aramaic, Arabic, Nubian and early Persian - the new material will probably add up to around five million words."

No, I'm not thinking of the gorgeous new film epics, featuring men in togas, that can be made from this fresh material. No, of course not. Kidding aside, I am quite dazzled with the artistic and scientific achievement here. This rocks hugely. And I don't even read Greek plays much these days.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 19th, 2005 01:50 pm (UTC)
...but will it tell us who the half-blood prince is?
Apr. 21st, 2005 12:44 am (UTC)
Wow, that's just awesome! I love hearing about finds like this. Thanks for sharing the news! :-)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )