National Catholic Reporter

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World's oldest Bible digitized

 |  NCR Today

The surviving pages of the world's oldest Bible have been reunited -- digitally. The early work known as the Codex Sinaiticus has been housed in four separate locations across the world for more than 150 years. But starting Monday, it became available for perusal on the Web at www.codexsinaiticus.org so scholars and other readers can get a closer look at what the British Library calls a "unique treasure."

"[The book] offers a window into the development of early Christianity and firsthand evidence of how the text of the Bible was transmitted from generation to generation," said Scot McKendrick, head of Western manuscripts at the British Library.

As it survives today, Codex Sinaiticus comprises just over 400 large leaves of prepared animal skin, each of which measures 15 inches by 13.5 inches. It is the oldest book that contains a complete New Testament and is only missing parts of the Old Testament and the Apocrypha.

The 4th-century book, written in Greek, has been digitally reunited in a project involving groups from Britain, Germany, Russia and Egypt, which each possessed parts of the 1,600-year-old manuscript.

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They worked together to publish new research into the history of the Codex and transcribed 650,000 words over a four-year period.

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