World’s oldest bible goes online

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The British Library has announced that it will put the remains of the world’s oldest bible online for public viewing.

The remaining fragments of the Codex Sinaiticus, which are stored in Britain, Russia, Germany and a monastery in Egypt's Sinai Desert, will be scanned and made available for viewing for the first time since their discovery.

"I think it's just fantastic that thanks to technology we can now make the oldest cultural artefacts -- ones that were once so precious you couldn't show them to anyone -- accessible to everyone, in really high quality," Ulrich Johannes Schneider, director of Leipzig University Library, which holds part of the manuscript, told reporters.

A preview, containing the Book of Psalms and the Gospel of Mark will be put online on Thursday and the full text should be available by next July.

However, the bible is likely to cause some controversy, as it contains no mention of the resurrection of Jesus. Instead the disciples enter Jesus’ tomb, find it empty and leave in fear.

The Codex Sinaiticus was written over 1,600 years ago in Greek and analysis of the pages shows it has been heavily amended over the centuries. The copy only covers part of the New Testament and contains books not found in the current Christian bible, such as the Epistle of Barnabas and the Shepherd of Hermas.

It was discovered in the Saint Catherine's Monastery by Mount Sinai by a German biblical scholar in 1844, where parts of it still remain. The British Library’s sections were purchased from the Russian authorities for £100,000 in the 1930s.
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