Thursday, July 09, 2009

[From Today's Church Newsletter]

A few days ago, the oldest surviving manuscript of the Bible, the Codex Sinaiticus, was fully digitized and put up on the Web (you can view it here). I must say that it was just about as exciting to me to view as I was excited when I went to the Holy Land in 1996. From its website:
The Codex Sinaiticus, a manuscript of the Christian Bible written in the middle of the fourth century, contains the earliest complete copy of the Christian New Testament. The hand-written text is in Greek. The New Testament appears in the original vernacular language (koine) and the Old Testament in the version, known as the Septuagint, that was adopted by early Greek-speaking Christians. In the Codex, the text of both the Septuagint and the New Testament has been heavily annotated by a series of early correctors.
The significance of Codex Sinaiticus for the reconstruction of the Christian Bible's original text, the history of the Bible and the history of Western bookmaking is immense.
The fragment to the right shows an erasure (from Quire 40, folio 2 recto).

You are probably like me, in that I so much take the Bible for granted that I often forget how old it is, and how many times it was translated, studied, and prayed over so that we might have it in its present form today.

Of course, the Bible’s greatest gift to us is that it is a living book, not just a historical book of antiquity. And in perhaps the greatest play on words of all time, we read in John’s Gospel that Jesus is the logos – that is, The Word. So within the written word, we have The Word – Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ.

So the next time you pick up your Bible, be careful. It’s alive, you know!


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