OPEN REFLECTIONS

The Concept of Bible

Codex_Sinaiticus_open_full

Some small stuff from around the world or the web or the world that is the web that deserves some attention here in this and future posts to be. First of all the oldest bible (ok maybe no small stuff), the Codex Sinaiticus, has been digitized and has concurrently been made accessible online. As the project website states ‘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’. I attended a lecture by David Parker, one of the project members, last year as part of a symposium on Text comparison and digital creativity, at which Parker presented the project as it was enfolding and discussed the difficulties and challenges the online presentation of a document that has been scattered around different institutions, presents, making it truly a ‘virtual’ Codex Sinaiticus. Collected once more into one online object, now you can actually browse through the quires and folio’s of the manuscript and zoom into details that fancy your interest. And you can even adjust the lighting and surely do many more interesting things that I have not as of yet explored.

The goals of the project revolved around the historical research, conservation, digitization,  transcription and dissemination of the manuscript. The study of the production of Codex Sinaiticus has proved invaluable for the study of book or manuscript history and production. The history of Codex Sinaiticus has also been very important for the development of the idea and the creation of the concept we nowadays refer to as ‘bible’ as a collection of canonical books: 

ErasureQ40f2r_BL23_full‘The ability to place these ‘canonical books’ in a single codex itself influenced the way Christians thought about their books, and this is directly dependent upon the technological advances seen in Codex Sinaiticus. The quality of its parchment and the advanced binding structure that would have been needed to support over 730 large-format leaves, which make Codex Sinaiticus such an outstanding example of book manufacture, also made possible the concept of a ‘Bible’. The careful planning, skilful writing and editorial control needed for such an ambitious project gives us an invaluable insight into early Christian book production.’

The presentation of the manuscript on the website is marvelous. And what a chance to brush up your Ancient Greek! You can check it out for yourself here.

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