For the first time ever, people around the world are able to digitally explore all 800 extant pages of the world’s oldest surviving Christian bible, Codex Sinaiticus. The book, which dates from the fourth century, was beautifully handwritten in Greek on parchment around the time of Constantine the Great, the Roman emperor who embraced Christianity. The text was written on vellum, a type of animal hide, and the pages that have survived include the entire New Testament and the earliest surviving copy of the Gospels.
The Codex digital re-unification project is the product a remarkable four-year remarkable collaboration between the British Library in London, the Monastery of St. Catherine in Sinai, Egypt, the National Library of Russia and Germany’s Leipzig University. To mark the online launch of the reunited Codex, the British Library is staging an exhibition, From Parchment to Pixel: The Virtual reunification of Codex Sinaiticus, which runs until September 7. Visitors will be able to view a range of historic items and artifacts that tell the story of the Codex and its virtual reunification, along with interactive representations of the manuscript and a digital reconstruction of the changes to a specific page over the centuries.
In addition, on display for the very first time in the Library’s Treasures Gallery are both volumes of the Library’s copy of the Codex Sinaiticus. Virtual visitors to the library’s website can click here to hear curator Juan Garces talking about the project and to view pages online with audio commentary.
[Image courtesy of The British Library]