Outliving storm, fire, savagery and greed. Books have had a hard time of it.They are found. They are lost. They are stolen and sold. Absurdly then, the greatest hazard to which books have had to pass has been the barrier of human stupidity…
In 1844, a young Biblical scholar, Konstantin von Tischendorf, visited the remote monastery of Saint Catherine on Mount Sinai. There he found a great old book reduced almost to the same state as those which Boccaccio discovered in Monte Cassino in 1370. It was a manuscript of the Bible, written in beautiful clear script between A.D. 330 and 400 and carefully corrected in or near that time. The book is now one of the chief treasures of the British Museum which bought it from the Soviet government in 1933 for a hundred thousand pounds. After all, what did Communists need a Bible for, except for its resale value.
But when Tishendorf first saw it, nobody had paid any attention to it for seven hundred years. In the monastery, the latest intelligent markings on it, comments by readers, had been made in the twelfth century. Since then it had been brutally neglected. Fortunately, Tischendorf scented the value of this heap of waste. He copied out some of it and managed to get the monks to give him forty-three pages, which he took back to Europe and published. Fifteen years later, he returned to the monastery, backed by funds from the Czar of Russia. This time he obtained the remainder of the poor battered Bible, which he carried away and published. In exchange, the monks received nine thousand Russian rubles. They were disappointed. They said that Tischendorf had promised to get them a steamboat.
( see link at end) …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 book-making is immense. …
…Codex Sinaiticus is one of the most important witnesses to the Greek text of the Septuagint (the Old Testament in the version that was adopted by early Greek-speaking Christians) and the Christian New Testament. No other early m
cript of the Christian Bible has been so extensively corrected.
A glance at the transcription will show just how common these corrections are. They are especially frequent in the Septuagint portion. They range in date from those made by the original scribes in the fourth century to ones made in the twelfth century. They range from the alteration of a single letter to the insertion of whole sentences.
One important goal of the Codex Sinaiticus Project is to provide a better understanding of the text of the Codex and of the subsequent corrections to it. This will not only help us to understand this manuscript better, but will also give us insights into the way the texts of the Bible were copied, read and used.
By the middle of the fourth century there was wide but not complete agreement on which books should be considered authoritative for Christian communities. Codex Sinaiticus, one of the two earliest collections of such books, is essential for an understanding of the content and the arrangement of the Bible, as well as the uses made of it. Read More:http://codexsinaiticus.org/en/codex/significance.aspx