On Facebook, Adam McCollum of the Hill Monastic Manuscript Library posted an extraordinary snippet which I think deserves wider attention:
Yesterday I came across a Syriac manuscript written in 1992—yes, just 18 years ago—that was copied from an 1184/5 manuscript, i.e. a leap of eight centuries!
It’s a hagiographic ms containing the stories of Jacob of Nisibis, Ephrem, and Awgen. In addition to the 12th c. ms, it was compared (according to the colophon) with a ms. “apparently of the 15th generation of the Lord”.
It was copied at Dayr Al-Za’faran, where it remains, and the older copies were there, it seems, in 1992, but are so no longer.
Finally, believe it or not, the manuscript is written on the empty lines of a Turkish-English-German calendar book!
The ms date is given in the colophon in AD (and the calendar book itself is for 1992), and the date of the early exemplar is also given there as 1496 AG (= 1184/5 AD).
We must never disregard a manuscript simply on account of its age. Who knows what it may be a copy of?