Cambridge University 'hope' for biblical manuscript bid

The Codex Zacynthius The 176 leaves of the Codex Zacynthius are made of vellum - a treated animal hide

Related Stories

Cambridge University has said an appeal to raise £1.1m to buy an early Biblical manuscript it has held for 30 years is "progressing well".

The Codex Zacynthius, which dates back to the 6th or 7th Century, has been in the university's library since 1984.

Now its owner - the Bible Society, in Swindon - is offering the manuscript for sale in order to raise money.

Anne Jarvis, university librarian, said they were hopeful of raising the money before a 28 February deadline.

'Unique'

Start Quote

We're very confident they will be able to secure the funds. We don't expect it to be a problem. If it is we'll have to cross that bridge when we come to it. ”

End Quote Paul Wooley Bible Society

The Bible Society was presented the 176-page Codex Zacynthius in 1821 and has offered the university library first refusal to buy it.

However, if the target is not reached by the end of February it could be auctioned to the highest bidder.

Dr Ben Outhwaite, from the university, said the manuscript was "unique" and "must be in the top 20 of New Testament manuscripts".

"It's our duty as a public institution to make sure that items of world heritage like this remain in public institutions," he said.

The university said Codex Zacynthius was a palimpsest - "a manuscript from which text has been scraped or washed off in order for it to be used again".

The pages are made of treated animal hide and it is believed they were first used in the 6th or 7th Century when inscribed in Greek with a portion of the gospel of Luke.

The Codex Zacynthius

Selling the Codex will aid the Bible Society in its fundraising for a new £1m visitor centre inside a deconsecrated church in North Wales.

Paul Wooley said the society was offering the early manuscript for sale because it had an "ethical and legal responsibility" to review its assets.

"We've taken the decision that we should offer this manuscript to Cambridge University library in order that we can use the funds to promote our broader charitable objects," he said.

"We're very confident they will be able to secure the funds. We don't expect it to be a problem. If it is we'll have to cross that bridge when we come to it.

"We certainly want to see this manuscript remain available to the public."

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More England stories

RSS

Features

  • Peaky Blinders publicity shotBrum do

    Why is the Birmingham accent so difficult to mimic?


  • Oliver CromwellA brief history

    The 900 year story behind the creation of a UK parliament


  • Image of Ankor Wat using lidarJungle Atlantis

    How lasers have revealed an ancient city beneath the forest


  • TheatreBard taste? Watch

    Are trailer videos on social media spoiling theatre?


  • Agents with the US Secret Service, such as this one, are responsible for guarding the presidentHard at work

    White House break-in adds to Secret Service woes


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.