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World's Oldest Bible Going Online 1183

Posted by kdawson
from the what-the-web-is-good-for dept.
99luftballon writes "The British Museum is putting online the remaining fragments of the world's oldest Bible. The Codex Sinaiticus dates to the fourth century BCE and was discovered in the 19th century. Very few people have seen it due to its fragile state — that and the fact that parts of it are in collections scattered across the globe. It'll give scholars and those interested their first chance to take a look. However, I've got a feeling that some people won't be happy to see it online, since it makes no mention of the resurrection, which is a central part of Christian belief."On Thursday the Book of Psalms and the Gospel According to Mark will go live at the Codex Sinaiticus site. The plan is to have all the material up, with translations and commentaries, a year from now.
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World's Oldest Bible Going Online

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  • by UrinalPooper (1240522) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @04:26AM (#24300849)
    They took an OK script and tacked on a happy ending...
  • Not BCE (Score:5, Informative)

    by ebcdic (39948) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @04:27AM (#24300853)

    It would be a neat trick to have a gospel of Matthew from the fourth century BCE. It should be CE (or AD).

  • by oodaloop (1229816) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @04:39AM (#24300941)
    Everybod knows the Flying Spaghetti Monster hid them from us. He's such a prankster!
  • by dwm (151474) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @04:49AM (#24301033)

    Where to start, where to start...

    First of all, there's some dispute as to whether Sinaiticus is indeed the oldest -- a cursory Google will show that Codex Vaticanus is believed by some to be older [wikipedia.org].

    Second, it's patently untrue that Sinaiticus "makes no mention of the resurrection". The version of the gospel of Mark in it omits the last passage where Jesus appears to his disciples, but other post-resurrection appearances occur in the other gospels -- and even the Sinaiticus Mark version ends with an angel's pronouncement that he has risen. You can read an English translation for yourself here [jacksonsnyder.com].

  • by john-da-luthrun (876866) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @04:49AM (#24301035)

    First, as others have pointed out, the Codex is from the 4th century CE (i.e. "AD") rather than BCE (or "BC").

    Second, saying "it makes no mention of the resurrection" is inaccurate. It doesn't contain the final 8 verses from Mark's Gospel, which have been considered to be a late addition for years and are usually square-bracketed in modern Bible editions.

    However, if you actually *read* Mark's Gospel, it has plenty of references to the resurrection of Jesus earlier in the text. Plus the Codex Sinaiticus also includes the other three Gospels, all of which include post-resurrection appearances of Jesus.

    But apart from misdating the document by 800 years, misstating the impact of putting it online and misrepresenting the likely attitude of Christians to its publication, the summary is fine...

    • New Slashdot now combines the worst of both Old Slashdot and Reddit â" wildly inaccurate story blurbs combined with crude and inappropriate slurs directed towards anyone with faith. I can't wait for the dupe tomorrow.

    • by Louis Savain (65843) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @05:15AM (#24301259) Homepage

      But apart from misdating the document by 800 years, misstating the impact of putting it online and misrepresenting the likely attitude of Christians to its publication, the summary is fine...

      What do you expect from Slashdot? Honesty? That's a laugh.

    • by g4b (956118) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @05:29AM (#24301365) Homepage
      Mark's Gospel was considered by some theologians to been written in a style of "play". Mark writes like you could play it on a stage. People come in, talk, go out.

      Mark's ending, with the cross, was in many ways like the ending of a drama. It opened doors not just for talk about the play, but also for thinking about the matter.

      I cant recite what I have read further, but the theologian was going into detail, why the ending did suggest something else to happen, which would have been obvious for people of that time, so mark didn't need the resurrection to be mentioned. it was obvious for them that there was more to it, like it is obvious for us now, that "I am your father" is a reference to Star Wars, but later, when time passed, the resurrection was added to the book.

      Most christians know, that Mark did not mention the resurrection chronologically in the original. But, there were 3 other gospels, and plenty of people writing about the resurrection, and even Mark pointed the resurrection out in a lot of passages. So, no, there is no debate at all on our side.

      Still, thanx for the news. Accurate timing (BCE?) and some insights which books are in this old bible would have been better, though.
  • by alexj33 (968322) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @04:53AM (#24301067)

    However, I've got a feeling that some people won't be happy to see it online, since it makes no mention of the resurrection, which is a central part of Christian belief."

    This is a misleading statement by the poster and the article itself. The post-resurrection text in Mark (which is the only text the article seems to mention is in contention) has always been recognized by the modern Christian church as not appearing in the earliest manuscripts. Don't take my word for it; pick up the latest NIV Bible and look at Mark 16:9-20. It most likely mentions this very fact.

    The article only mentions the text in Mark missing. From the article:

    The Gospel of Mark ends abruptly after Jesus' disciples discover his empty tomb, for example. Mark's last line has them leaving in fear.

    "It cuts out the post-resurrection stories," said Juan Garces, curator of the Codex Sinaiticus Project. "That's a very odd way of ending a Gospel."

    Unfortunately, you still need to deal with the resurrection stories in the other three gospels (Matthew, Luke and John) as well as the Old Testament references such as Psalms 16:10.

  • by paylett (553168) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @05:08AM (#24301191)
    It will actually come as no surprise to bible readers that the additional details of the resurection are not found in the book of Mark in this version. Many modern and popular translations (NIV, ESV, NASB) note in the footnotes or the text itself that "Some of the earliest manuscripts do not include [Mark] 16:9-20"

    However Mark 16:6, which is included, still declares the resurection:

    "Don't be alarmed," he said. "You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him."

    Additionally, the article only refers to the book of Mark as making no reference to the resurection. No mention is made of the other three gospels.

    See Mark 16 in the Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

  • by sharperguy (1065162) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @05:26AM (#24301347)
    The oldest and the newest [lolcatbible.com] bibles on the same internets!
  • by vorlich (972710) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @05:37AM (#24301431) Homepage Journal
    I have no doubt that this topic will spiral into a squabble between both camps in the God divide but before that happens, the rest of us could give thanks (you choose to whom) that we are now in a position to be able to examine a growing wealth of original source material in a way that has never before been available to anyone. The opportunity that this portends for the future are quite possibly, of greater immensity than we can imagine.

    Not only that but in the very near future, when the pointless grandstanding that will soon render this topic unreadable happens, or when the discussion inevitably turns to the eternal question of how many polar bears can be balance on the point of an argument, we shall have a new moderation:
    Go See.
  • by fearsomepirate (1331339) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @08:15AM (#24302967)
    Sinaiticus has complete resurrection accounts in Matthew, Luke, and John and the entirety of Paul's resurrection theology (e.g. Romans). It doesn't have the post-resurrection appearences in Mark (the Gospel ends right when the disciples find the empty tomb), although it does have the pre-resurrection foretellings. It's also one of the four key texts behind the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament, which is the basis behind nearly every modern Bible translation and what ministry candidates study in most North American seminaries. The problem with many of you atheists is that you assume Christians don't do any of their own textual criticism or historical research, therefore you don't do it, either.
  • by Matt Apple (766065) on Wednesday July 23, 2008 @09:10AM (#24303791)

    Summary says "world's oldest Bible"
    Actually its the oldest extant New Testament

    Summary says "makes no mention of the resurrection"
    Actually the New Testament is rife with references to the resurrection. This particular book contains a shortened version of Mark that ends when the disciples discover the empty tomb. Any biblical scholar is familiar with this shorter version of Mark.

    In other words the summary is not merely bad but suggests an agenda.

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