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Scholars plan to reunite ancient Bible — online
07/21/08 at 19:34:29
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Scholars plan to reunite ancient Bible — online

By RAPHAEL G. SATTER, Associated Press

LONDON - The oldest surviving copy of the New Testament, a 4th century version that had its Gospels and epistles spread across the world, is being made whole again — online.

The British Library says the full text of the Codex Sinaiticus will be available to Web users by next July, digitally reconnecting parts that are held in Britain, Russia, Germany and a monastery in Egypt's Sinai Desert.

A preview of the Codex, which also has some parts of the Old Testament, will hit the Web on Thursday — the Book of Psalms and the Gospel of Mark.

"Only a few people have ever had the opportunity to see more than a couple of pages of the (Codex)," said Scot McKendrick, the British Library's head of Western manuscripts. The Web site will give everyone access to a "unique treasure," he said.

Discovered at the Monastery of Saint Catherine at Mount Sinai by German Bible scholar Constantine Tischendorf in the mid-19th century, much of the Codex eventually wound up in Russia — just how exactly the British Library won't say, citing lingering sensitivity over the circumstances surrounding its removal from the monastery.

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