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Monday, 19 February 2007

image for Mysterious last page of Bible found
Lost parable?

Cairo - Among the winding alleyways of Cairo's medieval old town, nestled between the coffee shops and spice stalls, sits the small souvenier shop of Mr Ali Mahmoud.

It is from within in this forgotten dusty corner of the Arab world, that a strange and fascinating tale is beginning to emerge.

The story began late last summer in the sweltering back room of Mr Mahmoud's shop. He had recently received a fresh consignment of Tutankhamun figurines and needed to move some of his older stock out into the back to make room for his new arrivals.

It was while clearing a space for these new arrivals that Mr Mahmoud discovered an old cedar chest bearing strange inscriptions, which archeologists have now confirmed to be third century coptic.

Upon opening the dusty chest, Mr Mahmoud was disappointed to find, not priceless treasures, but an apparently worthless piece of parchment.

Disappointed with his find Mr Mahmoud took the parchment and placed it on the counter of his shop with the intention of using it as a coaster for the countless cups of strong coffee he consumes during his working day.

It was there some months later that visiting American Professor of theology, Dr Nathan Bendemeyer chanced upon what some are calling "The most important piece of paper ever found."

For it was Professor Bendemeyer who immediately recognised the "coaster" for what it actually was, a missing page from the best selling New testament.

After procuring the priceless artifact from Mr Mahmoud for the price of a cup of strong Arabic coffee, Dr Bendemeyer flew straight back to the United states and rushed the ancient document from the airport to the Harvard University's department of quite old things.

After subjecting the document to batteries of extremely complicated scientific tests and eventually proving beyond doubt the antiquity of the find, Harvard's experts in ancient Coptic things began to slowly translate the Professor's amazing find.

As the text of the page was painstakingly translated by the ten strong team of Coptic scholars, it soon became clear that the page was indeed a missing page from the New testament and appeared to be the very last page of that most holy of tomes.

So far only the first paragraph has been translated into english and reads as follows, "All events and people depicted in this book are (missing word) and any similarity to events or people are purely (missing word). The author of this book claims that he is the sole author and reserves the right..."

Biblical scholars are still arguing as to the meaning of this cryptic passage,with most airing on the side of caution and declaring it a lost parable of Jesus Christ.

There will be much debate within the theological community and beyond, as more of the page's ancient secrets are slowly translated and begin shed a little more light upon the words of the globe's most famous Jewish mystic.

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The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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