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Thursday, 27 September 2012

history of #christianity in 15 #objects - no. 2 the #codexsinaiticus

presented by professor james dunn

in summary

- codex sinaiticus contains probably oldest complete copy of NT (and parts of OT) written in greek - some 350 pages

- each page contains 4 columns of script

- generally the later a copy was made the more mistakes it will have
(thus the search for earlier texts)

- the codex sinaiticus was discovered in 1859 at st catherine's monastery (at the foot of mount sinai in egypt) 

- kept in imperial library at st petersburgh - sold in 1933 to british museum

- probably written in 4th century - possibly 1 of 50 copies commissioned by constantine

- velum on which it is written would have taken the  slaughter of some 360 animals

- why is it important?  
1) NT is defining source of distinctiveness of christianity and this book is nearest complete version of what was written earlier  
2) prime eg of an early book
3) probably early eg of liturgy - for use in lectern in a church
4) early and careful (of copying of earlier texts) to help us work out which parts were not part of original text
5) annotations on it IDs it was a living tradition - not a fixed static sacred relic book - attests to importance of what text expresses - and reminds us there is no single text of the NT and that there are therefore different ways of saying the same thing - saves us from a biblidolatry

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