Codex Sinaiticus: Experience the Oldest Bible Online

    By Jeremy Monday, July 06, 2009

    One of the world's oldest known Bibles has just been painstakingly digitized to online form for public consumption. Right now, you can navigate on over to CodexSinaiticus.org to set your eyes on one of the oldest written Bibles in book form.

    Codex Sinaiticus is the world's oldest Bible [along with Codex Vaticanus] and the most important Biblical manuscript. It was written in Greek by hand in the mid-fourth century around the time of Constantine the Great. Though it originally contained the whole of the Old and New Testaments and the Apocrypha, half of the Old Testament has since been lost. The surviving manuscript concludes with two early Christian texts, an epistle ascribed to the Apostle Barnabas and 'The Shepherd' by Hermas.
    Codex Sinaiticus is named after the Monastery of St Catherine in Sinai, Egypt. St Catherine's is one of the oldest, continuously active, Christian monastic communities in the world and traces its origins back to the fourth century.
    (British Library)


    Not only is it great to have this ancient manuscript accessible to anyone with an internet connection and a web browser, but the website itself is superb. Unlike many other free public offerings, the Codex Sinaiticus website has been designed with some of the latest web design standards in mind. The interface is modern and user-friendly, albeit understandably slow at the moment due to high demand. The scanned images are available against a couple different lighting environments for optimal viewing of each leaf. It also includes side-by-side translations into modern languages such as English.

    In my opinion, it's always a win for society whenever ancient and fragile artifacts are digitized. While we should always do our best to preserve the state of the physical objects, having them in digital form not only provides a sort of safety-net in case the unthinkable happens, but it also opens up the usefulness and power of the artifacts to the masses. Now thousands of Biblical scholars residing on opposite sides of the globe can benefit from these great findings, right from their home computers. Ah, technology!

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