Will Crawley notes that the British Library – in collaboration with St Catherine’s Monastery, Sinai, Leipzig University library, the national library of Russia in St Petersburg, and the Instititute for Textual Scholarship and Electronic Editing at Birmingham University – has made available online pages, transcriptions, and translations, of what is believed to be the oldest bible in the world, written in Greek, the 4th Century Codex Sinaiticus. More on the project here. As the BBC report says – “For those who believe the Bible is the inerrant, unaltered word of God, there will be some very uncomfortable questions to answer.” Here’s a note from the Slugger archive. And from the 2005 press British Library release.
The Codex is an iconic and historic document which dates from the period when the Roman Empire split and the Emperor Constantine, who ruled the Eastern Empire, adopted Christianity. Greek heritage dominated this Empire and the Codex was produced in response to the wish to gather together Greek versions of the principal Jewish and Christian scriptures. It is the earliest surviving book to encompass in one volume the great wealth of texts that have come to be recognised as forming the Christian Bible. It marks a dramatic shift from a culture in which texts were transmitted in scrolls to the bound book. The Codex Sinaiticus is arranged in eight narrow columns across a double-page and may be modelled on the arrangement of columns on papyrus scrolls.