Two separate carbon-dating tests have confirmed the oldest known complete Torah scroll, a sheepskin document dating from 1155-1225. It had been mistakenly cataloged a century ago as dating from the 17th century.

The find isn't the oldest Torah text in the world, Hebrew codexes known as the Leningrad and the Aleppo bibles, date hundreds of years earlier but this is the oldest Torah scroll of the Pentateuch, the five books of Moses, according to Mauro Perani, a professor of Hebrew in the University of Bologna's cultural heritage department.

Few old Torah scrolls remain because, as opposed to a bound book, they are used in synagogues on the Sabbath and holidays, until they are old or damaged, when they have to be buried or stored in a closed room in a synagogue.

Old Torah scroll found in Italy university library By Nicole Winfield, Yahoo