In March 2011, The Sunday Times ran an article on the discovery of a mysterious cache of palm-sized, ring-bound books made of lead. These lead codices, as they have become known, contain mysterious symbols and inscriptions. One tablet in particular features a portrait of Jesus and has preserved the seven seals that would have bound it together along its left-hand side. David and Jennifer Elkington photographed the books, brought samples to the UK for analysis, and assembled a team of eminent scholars to study them.
At the same time, the books were quickly becoming an international phenomenon, the Israelis and Jordanians began a very public dispute over the location of the site where they were discovered. Convinced that the codices are the earliest Christian documents ever found, the Elkingtons put their reputations on the line as they raced to authenticate the find amidst an array of vested interests which sought to suppress them.
In their quest to crack the code, the Elkingtons have been subjected to personal threat but they have continued the fight to ensure the world understands the importance of the codices, which may well pre-date the New Testament. Their significance in our understanding of early Christianity cannot be underestimated.