Scottish twins Agnes and Margaret Smith, born in 1843, were adventurers defying the traditions of their day. In “The Sisters of Sinai,” author Janet Soskice describes them as “unshakably devout Presbyterians deeply interested in biblical studies and languages.” They mastered French, German, Spanish, Italian, Hebrew, ancient and modern Greek, Arabic and Syriac. Determined to find “something” of interest, they traveled by camel to St. Catherine’s Monastery, making a most amazing discovery. While examining a collection of stories about saints written on vellum, Agnes realized the vellum had two layers of writing. She faintly saw the words “Of Matthew" and “Of Luke” underneath the more visible text. Those words were from a fourth-century manuscript of the Gospels in Syriac, one of the oldest manuscripts of the Gospels ever found.
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