(Roughly) Daily

Special Edition: (Extremely) Rare Books…

Handwritten well over 1600 years ago, Codex Sinaiticus (“The Sinai Book”) contains the Christian Bible in Greek, including the oldest complete copy of the New Testament.

Codex Sinaiticus is named after the Monastery of Saint Catherine, Mount Sinai, where it was preserved for many centuries; it’s generally dated to the middle of the fourth century. Leaves and fragments of this manuscript were taken by Constantine Tischendorf on three occasions– in 1844, in 1853 and in 1859– so that they could be published. The principal surviving portion of the Codex, comprising 347 leaves, was purchased by the British Library from the Soviet government in 1933. A further 43 leaves are held at the University Library in Leipzig.  Parts of six leaves are held at the National Library of Russia in St. Petersburg.  And twelve leaves and forty fragments remain at Saint Catherine’s Monastery, recovered by the monks from the northern wall of the monastery in June 1975.

Three years ago, these four institutions agreed to cooperate to make the full text available digitally.  The fruit of that collaboration debuted earlier today, when this web site went live.

The heavily corrected text of the Codex has deep importance for understanding the history of the Bible (c.f., e.g., the Gospel accounts here of the death of Jesus, which do not extend beyond the finding of the empty tomb) at the same time that the manuscript– the oldest substantial book to survive Antiquity– is of paramount importance to the history of the book.


Written by (Roughly) Daily

July 24, 2008 at 12:54 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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