An Italian researcher has found what is believed to be the oldest scroll from Judaism's most important text, and he didn't have far to look. The professor at the University of Bologna found the 850-year-old Torah scroll in the school library, where it had been mistakenly labeled a century ago, reports the BBC. That long-ago cataloguer thought the scroll dated back to the 17th century, but Hebrew professor Mauro Perani immediately recognized the error as he was doing some re-organizing of the library. Carbon-dating confirmed his hunch.
"It is fairly big news," a Cambridge expert tells the AP. "Hebrew scholars get excited by very small things, but it certainly is important and clearly looks like a very beautiful scroll." The manuscript is 40 yards long and 25 inches high. Further study will be done to see whether it yields any new information from the period it was written, somewhere around 1155 to 1225.