Monday, August 16, 2010


From Hendrickson's Advertisement:

"The Codex was hand-written in Greek by fourth-century scribes, only 300 years after the time of the New Testament, making it one of the earliest and most reliable witnesses to the biblical text. It contained the Old and New Testaments in Greek, the text adopted by early Greek-speaking Christians.

The Codex was preserved for centuries at the monastery of St. Catherine’s, Mount Sinai, until Constantin von Tischendorf drew worldwide attention and notoriety to it in 1844. In the years following, its pages were divided and dispersed. Now, over 160 years later, after an extraordinary and historic collaborative effort by the British Library, the National Library of Russia, St. Catherine’s Monastery, Leipzig University Library, and Hendrickson Publishers, all the extant pages of Codex Sinaiticus have been brought together in print form to a worldwide audience in this handsomely bound, one-of-a kind, facsimile edition.

Drawing on the expertise of leading scholars, conservators, and curators, and painstakingly photographed using the latest high-quality digital technology and a careful imaging process, this facsimile provides a life-like view of the original pages of the Codex. The delicate beauty of this important text—its parchment, inks, and scars, all visible in incredible detail—allows the fascinating textual history of the Christian Bible to come alive in a fresh, meaningful way. The generous trim size, protective cloth covering, and slipcase make this facsimile an attractive part of any biblical scholar’s library. Accompanied by a 32-page booklet, the Codex would be a stunning addition to a church, university, or seminary library, as well as to a museum or personal collection.

What texts can I find in the Codex Sinaiticus?

As it survives today, Codex Sinaiticus comprises just over 400 large leaves of prepared animal skin, each of which measures (13.6 inches) wide by 380mm (15 inches) high. On these parchment leaves is written around half of the Old Testament and Apocrypha (the Septuagint), the whole of the New Testament, and two early Christian texts not found in modern Bibles. Most of the first part of the manuscript (containing most of the so-called historical books, from Genesis to 1 Chronicles) is now missing and presumed to be lost. .
The Septuagint includes books which many Protestant Christian denominations place in the Apocrypha. Those present in the surviving part of the Septuagint in Codex Sinaiticus are 2 Esdras, Tobit, Judith, 1 & 4 Maccabees, Wisdom and Sirach. .

The number of the books in the New Testament in Codex Sinaiticus is the same as that in modern Bibles in the West, but the order is different. The Letter to the Hebrews is placed after Paul’s Second Letter to the Thessalonians, and the Acts of the Apostles between the Pastoral and Catholic Epistles. .

The two other early Christian texts are an Epistle by an unknown writer claiming to be the Apostle Barnabas, and ‘The Shepherd’, written by the early second-century Roman writer, Hermas."

We tend to lust after the things we want but cannot have. Hendrickson's Advertisement tells me that there are seven hundred and ninety-nine reasons why neither I nor the theological institute I work for are likely to get our hands on this masterpiece.


Andrew Reid said...

Hi Peter,

I know it's not the same for you literary lusters, but you can access high resolution photographs of the codex at:

The historical account of its "dispersal" is a whitewash - "robbery" and "deception" is how the monks at St Catherine's describe those events!


Peter Carrell said...

In other words, Andrew, that iPad purchase might be just the ticket: two for the price of one!