World’s oldest bible online

July 21st, 2008 - 6:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Leipzig (Germany), July 21 (DPA) World’s oldest surviving semi-complete copy of the Bible, a fourth century manuscript in ancient Greek that was discovered in a wastepaper bin by a German scholar, is set to go online Thursday, the University of Leipzig Library says. The Codex Sinaiticus, rediscovered in a monastery in the Sinai peninsula by Konstantin von Tischendorf in 1844, contains half the Jewish Old Testament and most of the Christian New Testament, the library said Monday.

Another manuscript, the Codex Vaticanus, is about as old, while fragments of both parts of the Bible in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Egyptina papyri are older. But the Sinai bible offers unique evidence of what Greek-speaking Christians read around the year 350.

The university, which owns 43 parchment sheets of the Codex, has teamed up with the British Library in London, which bought 347 sheets in 1933 from the Soviet Union, to release the online version.

Later the website will include six sheets that are kept in St Petersburg, Russia and 38 sheets still in St Katherine’s monastery in the Sinai, so that all 390 sheets, along with a transcript and translations, can be inspected by anyone.

The text is written four columns to a sheet in uncial script with no spaces between the words. Tischendorf, a religious scholar from Leipzig, discovered the manuscript and persuaded the Sinai monks to let him take part of it and later to give the bulk to Russia.

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