Thursday, July 24, 2008

Codex Sinaiticus Goes Online Today

Codex Sinaiticus, one of the most important ancient texts, since it is the earliest most complete New Testaments that has survived (plus the Epistle of Barnabas and the Shepherd of Hermas), is now going to be digitized and parts of it, Mark I think, will go online today. The majority of the text has been housed in the British Museum, with pages or fragments of it being housed in Leipzig, St. Petersberg, and at St. Catherine's in the Sinai. It also contains Greek translations of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) along with "Apocrypha"--often referred to as the Septuagint (LXX), although this designation only technically refers to the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible). The first half of the Old Testament texts are missing (from Genesis up to 1 Chronicles). Those going online today or soon include 1 Chronicles, 2 Esdras, Esther, Tobit, Jeremiah, Lamentations, and Psalms.

Most New Testaments rely upon a reconstructed synthetic text that takes into account all variants. But the availability of a single codex shows us the state of how one text looked in antiquity (even if we don't think that is how each individual book "originally" looked). The Codex was originally taken, uh stolen, from a monastery (St. Catherine's at Sinai--thus, "Sinaiticus"), after which several nations vied and argued over ownership.

This particular digital project took the cooperation of Russia, the U.K., Germany, and the original St. Catherine's monastery. The website can be viewed in English, Russian, German, or Greek. I will be adding it to my resources links.

Check it out here! (If you can! When I tried, the site said there were too many concurrent connections--over 100,000 people at one time trying to look at the document!)

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