Last updated at 13:16 BST, Monday, 06 July 2009

World's oldest Bible put online

Summary

6 July 2009

The world's oldest surviving Bible has been pieced together and made available on the internet. The 1,600-year-old "Codex Sinaiticus" was split up after its discovery in the 18th Century.

Reporter:
Robert Pigott

Codex Sinaiticus

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Report

Before the Codex Sinaiticus was compiled and bound less than 400 years after Jesus' crucifixion, most Bibles were written on collections of scrolls. The 1,400 parchment pages of the Codex - which was named after its discovery in Sinai - were scattered between St Petersburg, Leipzig, London and Egypt, but each page has now been digitally photographed and collected on a single web-site.

900 of the 16 by 14 inch pages survive, each bearing four neat columns of Classical Greek. Careful study reveals passages that have been questioned and altered repeatedly over the centuries.

The British Library, which begins an exhibition of the Codex Sinaiticus today, said the book gave first-hand evidence of how the text of the Bible had been transmitted from generation to generation.

Robert Pigott, BBC

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Vocabulary

compiled

put together

bound

made into a book - by fastening together separate pieces of paper, parchment (see below) or other material used for writing

scrolls

rolls of paper, parchment (see below) or other material used for writing

parchment

a yellowish material made from dried and treated animal skin which in the old days was used for writing

scattered between

located in different places, such as

neat

orderly, tidy

passages

here, extracts, short pieces of writing that are part of a larger work

altered repeatedly

changed many times

the book gave first-hand evidence

the book provided new, original proof

transmitted

here, passed

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