The Most Popular Book

Public interest swamps the website for oldest known Bible

Amid much publicity, the Codex Sinaiticus, a fourth century treasure, was presented to the world at large today. The result: the Web site created for the book was unable to cope with the number of visitors.  By evening, over 100,000 people had sought to access this treasure in its online format.

Codex Sinaiticus is considered the oldest complete Bible known to us at present.  Although it does not now have all of its original pages, it is considered that the codex did contain all books of the Bible.

In a project spearheaded by the University of Birmingham and the British Library, which holds much of the codex, the remaining parts of the codex were brought together and digitized for publishing together with a digital transcription on the internet.  These additional sections of the codex are held at St. Catherine's Monastery in Sinai, the Leipzig University Library in Germany and the National Library of Russia.  This is the first time the codex has been this complete since Constantine Tischendorf was able to take parts from the monastery on Mt. Sinai in the mid 19th century. 

The Codex Sinaiticus Web site is available in the languages of the four holders of the parts of the codex.  St. Catherine's Monastery is represented in the Greek language, not Arabic, as it is a Greek Orthodox monastery.

Presently pages from the holdings of the British Library and Leipzig University Library are available for viewing—if you are able to visit when the web site is operational.  Additional pages will be made available on the website in November 2008, with completion of the site scheduled for July 2009.

Tags: bible, British Library, Codex Sinaiticus, Leipiz University Library, National Library of Russia, Tischendorf, St Catherine's Monastery

What Religion Was Jesus Christ?

Ancient stone creates opportunity for reflection
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Details: What Religion Was Jesus Christ?
Gabriel Revelation

The discovery and publication of an unprovenanced Hebrew document, purportedly from the 1st century BCE and written on stone, has generated some interesting comments about the origins of Christianity and its relationship to Judaism. I'll write more on this in future but in the interim, I'd like to draw attention to one writer in particular. 

James Carroll, writing in the Boston Globe, concludes his article on the 'Gabriel Revelation' with the following comment:

That Christianity defined itself as the polar opposite of Judaism was an accident of history, with lethal consequences. The two religions are and will remain distinct, but it is urgently important that Christians, especially, correct the mistake that saw Jesus in radical opposition to his own people. He remained a devoted Jew to the end, and his first followers understood him, after his death, in fully Jewish terms. If Christians had continued to do so, the tradition of anti-Judaism, which spawned anti-Semitism, would not have developed.

James has summed up the situation appropriately, although we should always appreciate that anti-Semitism predates the time of Jesus Christ.

HT to Jim Davila at PaleoJudaica.

Tags: Judaism, Jesus Christ, early christianity, Gabriel, James Carroll, resurrection, three days

"Lives Remembered"

Apposite Quote from Henry Chadwick

 “Religion when shared is one of the strongest of social bonds. When differences appear whether of rite or calendar or social custom or liturgy or, above all, basic allegiance, this powerful bonding becomes counterproductive and easily engenders deep divisions” — the first sentence of Chadwick’s succinct introduction to The Rift, a volume of contemporary relevance.

Quoted in the TimesOnlineLives Remembered: Henry Chadwick,

H/T to Mark Goodacre

Tags: religion, differences, Henry Chadwick

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