The changing word of God…

THE BBC reports that the different parts of the world’s oldest surviving Bible are to be reunited online, allowing anyone with internet access to view the Codex Sinaiticus. This seems to me to be in good historical keeping with the kind of democratisation that came about with the widespread dissemination of the Bible in previous centuries. The desire of ordinary people to read the Bible went hand in hand with the spread of printing, put reading and education in the hands of the masses, and removed power and authority from some elites – ideas and principles which are still quite important to Protestantism in particular, and are reflected to a degree in the world wide web. There’s just one problem – the unadulterated word of God which will soon be online appears to be markedly different from the King James version in your hand. Maybe that can be explained away, but if God’s the writer, he’s had bunch of lousy earthly editors over the past couple of millennia. How fundamentalists can take their comparatively modern texts so literally when it’s clear how much men have changed them is a mystery as great as the resurrection – something crucial to Christian belief, but key sections of which are curiously missing from the Codex.