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The Story of the World's Oldest Bible
by David C. Parker
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Despite its rather austere appearance, the Codex Sinaiticus is a treasure
beyond price. Produced in the middle of the fourth century, its bound
parchment pages hold the full canon of the Christian Bible and more—the
handwritten Greek text of the earliest surviving copy of the complete koine
New Testament; the earliest and best copies of some Septuagint texts, the
Old Testament Scriptures as they were adopted by the first-century church;
and two late first-century Christian texts, the Shepherd of Hermas and the
Epistle of Barnabas. The sections are heavily marked by early correctors.
Told here is the compelling story of how the Codex Sinaiticus was created
and used in the ancient church; how it was preserved for centuries at the
monastery of St. Catherine’s, Mount Sinai; its subsequent history and how
its pages came to be divided and dispersed; and how it has been compiled
again and made accessible to a worldwide audience for the first time.
Publication in June 2009 coincides with the launch of the Codex Sinaiticus
Project website, which includes a digitized “virtual edition” of one of the
most famous and remarkable manuscripts in the history of the church, the
Bible, and book production in general.
D. C. Parker’s outstanding research and excellent storytelling skills
simultaneously illuminate the chronology of bookmaking in Western
culture and the effects of that technology on the presentation of the biblical
canon. Offering a fascinating look at the task of making a Bible in the year
350, he discusses how included books were chosen—or not; physical
elements of production—layout, ink, parchment, binding, and budget; the
jobs of scribes and correctors; and the role of annotators. As readers follow
the travels of the pieces of the Codex Sinaiticus through the twentieth
century, they’ll discover key personalities and places, and absorb the details
of the current production of the Internet electronic edition of this singular
document. Full-color illustrations and suggestions for further reading add
much to the journey.
Publisher: Hendrickson Publishers
Publication date: 2010
Bibliographic info: 195 pages
Cover: Cloth with Dustjacket
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