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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Oldest Bible Comes Online

The oldest surviving copy of the New Testament known so far, also called The Codex Sinaiticus, is coming online by July, 2009.

First discovered in the 19th-Century, the Codex was written in the 4th-Century and organized into quires, which were numbered in sequence. Portions of it exist in various parts of the world, including Germany and Russia, though scholars will not explain how this happened. The digital effort combines all of these disparate sections into the whole text which will be available for download.

"Lingering sensitivity" over how portions found their way to Russia were cited to explain why further explanation is not forthcoming. The Codex was first discovered in Germany by a Biblical scholar and monks later discovered 12 more pages and 40 fragments hidden in a monastery in 1975. It is handwritten in Greek, though no one knows where.

Some interesting differences in the Codex and modern Biblical text includes the absence of the Resurrection, and the inclusion of books unknown to the Catholic and Protestant canon. It also contains some elements of the Old Testament, though scholars note this may be because it was simply cheaper to bind the elements together.

© C Harris Lynn, 2008

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