Codex Sinaiticus, meaning the Sinai Book, is one of the two earliest Bibles written. The other is Codex Vaticanus in Rome.
Written mostly in Greek on parchment, it is treasured by scholars as an unparalleled resource for textual criticism of the New Testament. It is named after the ancient monastery at Sinai where the book was kept for many generations. Some of the Bible is lost but much survives, making up the Christian New Testament and half of the Hebrew Bible known as the Septuagint. There are also two other texts from the 1st century, the Epistle of the Apostle Barnabas and “Shepherd by Hermas”.
The pages are not all in one place; the British Library has the biggest chunk, bought from Stalin in 1933 for £100,000. There are still some fragments in Russia and at St Catherine’s monastery in Egypt. It is important historically because its publication coincided with the conversion of Constantine the Great to Christianity and his decision to make it the Roman Empire’s official religion. He may even have commissioned the Bible personally. The Bible was also the first attempt to create a unified canon of both Greek and Jewish Scriptures, and one of the first books produced, if not the first, in a culture still largely reliant on traditional scrolls.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Sinaiticus in the News: Error spotting
It seems like Sinaiticus is everywhere these days. I've even managed to get some time with the photos on the web site. But many journalists struggle to provide accurate information. For example, here are three paragraphs from Ruth Gledhill of the Times: Codex Sinaiticus vital for New Testament Study. I reckon there are at least ten clear errors in this brief report, but I thought I would share the error spotting with others. So: justify your accusations and don't get greedy, there are plenty for everyone.