The surviving parts of the world's oldest Christian bible will be reunited online today, generating excitement among biblical scholars still striving to unlock its mysteries.
The Codex Sinaiticus was hand written by four scribes in Greek on animal hide, known as vellum, in the mid-fourth century around the time of the Roman emperor Constantine the Great who embraced Christianity.
Not all of it has withstood the ravages of time, but the pages that have include the whole of the New Testament and the earliest surviving copy of the Gospels written at different times after Christ's death by four of the Apostles: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
The bible's remaining 800 pages and fragments – it was originally some 1400 pages long – also contain half of a copy of the Old Testament. The other half has been lost.
"The Codex Sinaiticus is one of the world's greatest written treasures," said Scot McKendrick, head of Western manuscripts at the British Library.
"This 1600-year-old manuscript offers a window into the development of early Christianity and first-hand evidence of how the text of the bible was transmitted from generation to generation," he said.
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