World’s Oldest Bible Reconstructed Online

World’s Oldest Bible Reconstructed Online

A Bible handwritten in the fourth century, edited as many as 800 years later, and portioned off in the 1800s has been made whole online. The Codex Sinaiticus (“Sinai book”), the world’s oldest Christian Bible at 1,600 years old, was in a Sinai desert monastery when a scholar found...

A Bible handwritten in the fourth century, edited as many as 800 years later, and portioned off in the 1800s has been made whole online.

The Codex Sinaiticus (“Sinai book”), the world’s oldest Christian Bible at 1,600 years old, was in a Sinai desert monastery when a scholar found it in 1844. He removed portions over the years to publish them, and most of the ancient Greek text ended up in Britain via St. Petersburg.

The institutions that hold parts of the manuscript—the United Kingdom’s British Library; the University Library in Leipzig, Germany; the National Library of Russia in St. Petersburg; and St. Catherine’s Monastery in Sinai—joined the project to put the Codex Sinaiticus online.

Its 400 leaves of parchment (prepared animal skin) include the complete New Testament, much of the Old Testament, plus books not officially part of either.

You can browse the pages by book, chapter and verse; read an English translation for some of it; learn how the book was created, digitized and conserved, and read historical research about it.

Though Codex Sinaiticus isn’t a strictly genealogical project, the in-depth look inside a globe-spanning historical digitization project is fascinating.

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