Reuters reports that the surviving parts of the world’s oldest Christian bible will be reunited online on Monday, generating excitement among both believers and biblical scholars. The surviving fragments of the Codex Sinaiticus is the oldest complete New Testament and exists in four different locations in England, Egypt, Germany and Russia and now on the internet.
Unifying the book digitally and making it available on the internet will allow scholars to study the whole text as a whole. Up until now, relatively few scholars have only been able to see bits and pieces. Scholars (or the merely curious) will be able to search all the surviving text, down to thumbnail-sized fragments found at St Catherine’s Monastery on Mount Sinai.
“The limits on access to this manuscript previously have meant that people (academics) have tended to dip, so that they have seized on particular things” to advance theories, McKendrick told Reuters in an interview.
He said the website will enable research to be carried out in a holistic way for the first time, forcing top scholars to view their theories in context.
A good example, he said, was evidence advanced by some academics pointing to the theory that it could have been made in the ancient city of Cesarea in Israel.
“It is our hope this will provide the catalyst for new research and it is already creating great interest,” Garces told Reuters.
The Guardian says,
The pages can be searched in facsimile, transcribed or translated. The digital photography is of such high resolution that insect bites and scars of some of hundreds of animals whose hides became the vellum pages can be seen.
The text has proven immensely popular with believers who want to glimpse the oldest complete New Testament. When the first 25% of the the Codex Sinaiticus was made available online last year, it attracted 3.5 million hits and crashed the site.
The bible can be viewed online free and includes modern Greek translations and some sections translated into English. The text will be found here.