by Billy Hallowell
"The biblical text, which came from Egypt, was reportedly placed on a sheet of papyrus before the document was recycled and used to create a mummy mask.
"Centuries later, researchers found it after carefully dismantling that mask. They used carbon-14 dating, studied the handwriting and analyzed related documents, dating the text to the first century, according to LiveScience (some, though, have questioned the accuracy of the outlet’s dating description).
"Perhaps most interestingly, scientists found a way to undo the glue on the mask without damaging the centuries-old ink, allowing the text to be read, though the masks that go through this process are essentially destroyed — a fact that leaves some experts more than uncomfortable with the tactic.
"But supporters say the masks aren’t museum-worthy, though they hold valuable text within them.
“'We’re recovering ancient documents from the first, second and third centuries,” New Testament professor Craig Evans told LiveScience. “Not just Christian documents, not just biblical documents, but classical Greek texts, business papers, various mundane papers, personal letters.”
"Evans, a professor at Acadia Divinity College in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, told the outlet that one mask could yield up to 12 possible texts, offering up a fascinating lens into the past.
"Watch him describe the text and the process through which it was discovered below: