The Scottish twin sisters Agnes Lewis (1843-1926) and Margaret Gibson (1843-1920) between them spoke modern Greek, Arabic, Hebrew, Persian and Syriac, and were pioneering biblical scholars and explorers at a time when women rarely ventured to ...
foreign lands. The sisters made several journeys to the Monastery of St Catherine on Mount Sinai, and their first two visits there are described in this 1893 publication. Using her sister's journals, Margaret Gibson tells how Agnes discovered a version of the Gospels in Syriac from the fifth century CE. This text is immensely important, being an example of the New Testament written in the eastern branch of Aramaic, the language that Jesus himself spoke. Meanwhile, Margaret Gibson studied other manuscripts in the library and photographed them; the sisters later transcribed and published many of these. Controversy over the circumstances of the discovery led to Margaret publishing this account in 1893.