Ancient Bible to be put online

The oldest surviving New Testament manuscript is being assembled and placed online as a resource for scholars and students. Here is the AP account:

The British Library says the full text of the Codex Sinaiticus will be available to Web users by next July, digitally reconnecting parts that are held in Britain, Russia, Germany and a monastery in Egypt’s Sinai Desert.

A preview of the Codex, which also has some parts of the Old Testament, will hit the Web on Thursday — the Book of Psalms and the Gospel of Mark.

“Only a few people have ever had the opportunity to see more than a couple of pages of the (Codex),” said Scot McKendrick, the British Library’s head of Western manuscripts. The Web site will give everyone access to a “unique treasure,” he said.

Discovered at the Monastery of Saint Catherine at Mount Sinai by German Bible scholar Constantine Tischendorf in the mid-19th century, much of the Codex eventually wound up in Russia — just how exactly the British Library won’t say, citing lingering sensitivity over the circumstances surrounding its removal from the monastery.

Read it all here.

The Codex website–which goes live on Thursday–can be found here.

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One Comment
  1. Derek Olsen

    This is exciting news for us biblical scholar types. The reason is because this gives us access to a very early, very complete text. You see, the Bible that we read in English is a translation of a Greek text that has been compiled over centuries by scholars who specialize in textual studies. They rely on the earliest complete manuscripts possible, then comb through the even older fragments that survive in papyri, applying arcane rules to determine what is most likely the earliest and most accurate text. The result of there work, then is the “eclectic text” that is translated into English for our consumption.

    This text is one of those “earliest complete manuscripts” and of them is widely considered to be one of the most faithful and careful texts.

    We’ve had to rely for way too long on facsimile copies–now anyone who wants can go online and check it out!

    Oh–the hesitation about Tischendorf? He stole the manuscript from the monastery…

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