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UK News

Bible shouldn't be taken literally, study suggests

by Eno Adeogun

Research on an ancient commentary by experts at the University of Birmingham suggests some of the stories have hidden meanings and might not be as them seem.

Austrian researcher Dr Lukas Dorfbauer discovered the manuscript in 2012 and collaborated with Dr Hugh Houghton from Birmingham University to produce an English translation in conjunction with the first-ever edition of the Latin text, which will be published this week.

Dr Houghton told Premier that while it's acceptable to interpret all of the Gospels literally, doing so would mean potentially missing "some of what the original evangelists were intending".

He said the story of Jesus in the book of Matthew feeding 5,000 is an example of scripture we should rethink.

Speaking during News Hour he said: "Was there significance in those numbers? Does the five loaves and two fish represent precisely what Jesus had at that moment?

"Or were the evangelists saying, 'actually these numbers stand for something, they stand for the deeper meaning and you need to be in the know to understand what that means'?"

The lost work by Fortunatianus, Bishop of Aquileia in the middle of the fourth century, was rediscovered by Dr Dorfbauer, in a manuscript from the early ninth century held in Cologne Cathedral.

Dr Dorfbauersaid: "By producing an English translation at the same time as the publication of the Latin text of this work, I hope that many more people will be able to have access to this exciting new material for early Latin Christianity."

The commentary is around 100 pages long and analyses the Gospel according to Matthew in great detail as well as covering sections from the Gospels according to Luke and John in 160 separate chapters.

Listen to Dr Hugh Houghton speaking with Premier's Eno Adeogun:

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