An ancient set of scrolls, believed to be the first reference to Jesus Christ and his disciples, has been confirmed genuine by experts after years of speculation over their authenticity.
The 2000-year-old lead tablets, bound manuscripts known as the "Jordan codices", were discovered in a Jordan cave in 2008 by an Israeli Bedouin.
Experts have authenticated the earliest portrait of Jesus Christ among the pages held together like a ring binder, along with words and symbols that reveal information about Christianity and Judaism.
The language of the script within the codices is believed to be Paleo-Hebrew, according to scholars.
Among the revelations, the tablets suggested the god Christ worshipped was both man and woman, the Mirror reported.
The scrolls bear eight-pointed stars, believed to represent the coming of the messiah, and also refers to Jesus by name, and names apostles James, Peter and John.
According to UK authors David and Jennifer Elkington, who publicly announced the tablets’ existence in 2011, the books suggest Jesus was part of a Hebrew sect dating back to King David.
Bible genealogy states Jesus' corporeal father Joseph was a direct descendant of David.
The tablets say the sect worshipped in the Temple of Solomon where the face of God was believed to have been seen.
Since the discovery of the codices five years ago a number of academics and Christian evangelicals have declared them probable fakes.
However, new tests have confirmed one of the books bears similarities to a sample of ancient Roman lead, found in the South West England county of Dorset.
Prof Roger Webb and Prof Chris Jeynes studied the scrolls at the University of Surrey’s Nodus Laboratory and validated their legitimacy.
If the books are genuine, they would offer new insights into the life of Jesus Christ, and fill in some gaps left from the Bible.
“While there may be variations in decay and corrosion that depend upon the environmental conditions in which the objects were stored or hidden, there is a strong underlying theme of decay from within the metal,” the researchers said in a press statement.
“It is oxidising and breaking down at atomic level to revert to its natural state.
“This is not witnessed in lead objects that are several centuries old and is not possible to produce by artificial acceleration (e.g. through heating).
“This provides very strong evidence that the objects are of great age, consistent with the studies of the text and designs that suggest an age of around 2000 years.”
Aman’s Department of Antiquities has loaned the codex to the Elkingtons for testing.
Jennifer Elkington said she and her husband have made much progress in terms of forensic analysis, historic and linguistic research.
“However, we are still campaigning for the Jordan codices to be publicly accepted and protected following a fierce movement by a group of evangelist led scholars declaring them 'fakes' in order to suppress them.
“However, the truth cannot be suppressed indefinitely,” she said.