World's Oldest Bible Makes Web Debut Thursday

German university, British Library compile 390 pages of 4th-century parchment
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 21, 2008 5:17 PM CDT
A Codex Sinaiticus manuscript is the earliest near-complete New Testament, dating from the fourth century.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – The world's oldest nearly intact Bible—a fourth-century manuscript written in ancient Greek—will be published online later this week, Deutsche Welle reports. The Codex Sinaiticus, rediscovered in a Sinai Peninsula monastery in 1844, contains half the Jewish Old Testamant and most of the Christian New Testament. The University of Leipzig teamed up with the British Library to compile the version to hit the Web on Thursday.

390 sheets of parchment, along with a transcript and translations, will be available. The text appears as four columns to a sheet in ancient Uncial script, with no spaces dividing the words. Though fragments of scripture found at the Dead Sea and in Egypt are older, the Sinai Bible provides a unique perspective into what Greek-speaking Christians read around 350 AD.