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 Codex Sinaiticus (the oldest Bible) is now online
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 07/06/2009 :  19:04:46  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The scattered fragments of the 1600 year old Bible which was found in the St. Catherine monastery in Sinai have finally been collected in one place, if only in cyberspace.

The Codex Sinaiticus is the oldest known surviving Bible. It contains books in both the Old and New Testaments that didn't make the cut for the modern Bible. It also lacks certain verses, such as the description of the Resurrection. It also contains clear insertions and deletions.

It's an example of how the Bible kept being revised and "improved" by its human scribes.

CNN.com has an article on the book.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.

Edited by - HalfMooner on 07/06/2009 20:16:48

Cuneiformist
The Imperfectionist

USA
4954 Posts

Posted - 07/06/2009 :  20:19:36   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Cuneiformist a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by HalfMooner

The scattered fragments of the 1600 year old Bible which was found in the St. Catherine monastery in Sinai have finally been collected in one place, if only in cyberspace.

The Codex Sinaiticus is the oldest known surviving Bible. It contains books in both the Old and New Testaments that didn't make the cut for the modern Bible. It also lacks certain verses, such as the description of the Resurrection. It also contains clear insertions and deletions.

It's an example of how the Bible kept being revised and "improved" by its human scribes.

CNN.com has an article on the book.
This really is quite interesting. Certainly NT study is outside of my area of expertise, but I'm always fascinated by early Christian history. I'm looking forward to having a look through it!
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 07/06/2009 :  20:25:04   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm looking forward to the English translation, which so far doesn't seem to work on the site. The whole book is in Greek, which is Sumerian to me.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26007 Posts

Posted - 07/06/2009 :  20:29:53   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It's a shame, in some ways, that it doesn't contain some of the more embarrassing Apocrypha.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 07/06/2009 :  20:35:02   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dave W.

It's a shame, in some ways, that it doesn't contain some of the more embarrassing Apocrypha.
Probably the Roman-centered church had already rooted out the Gnostic stuff.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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Cuneiformist
The Imperfectionist

USA
4954 Posts

Posted - 07/06/2009 :  20:40:38   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Cuneiformist a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dave W.

It's a shame, in some ways, that it doesn't contain some of the more embarrassing Apocrypha.
I haven't read it yet, of course, but the CNN blurb notes the lack of resurrection stories. I imagine that this would be somewhat embarrassing in its omission. I mean, if the primary focus of your religion is that some quasi-divine figure died for the sins of humanity-- and that this is an original focus of said religion, then one should imagine that it would feature heavily in the Gospel stories. That they don't-- even in the 4th century!-- simply sustains what scholarship not driven by theological agenda has been saying already.
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lorddix
New Member

USA
22 Posts

Posted - 07/06/2009 :  21:04:26   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send lorddix a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I was glancing through some of the codex. It appears that there are english translations of some parts, but other sections do not have any translations as of yet. The resurrection stories are in there in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John with the contradictions that are currently known to exist, but having neither the time nor inclination to compare them to a current bible as published there are probably individual passages that are not in the codex, but are in the bible as published now. The CNN blurb doesn't note the lack of resurrection stories, but says that some passages are missing which implies that a later editor/writer fleshed out the resurrection stories and added passages.
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 07/06/2009 :  21:10:22   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Cuneiformist

Originally posted by Dave W.

It's a shame, in some ways, that it doesn't contain some of the more embarrassing Apocrypha.
I haven't read it yet, of course, but the CNN blurb notes the lack of resurrection stories. I imagine that this would be somewhat embarrassing in its omission. I mean, if the primary focus of your religion is that some quasi-divine figure died for the sins of humanity-- and that this is an original focus of said religion, then one should imagine that it would feature heavily in the Gospel stories. That they don't-- even in the 4th century!-- simply sustains what scholarship not driven by theological agenda has been saying already.
Here's a little non-scholarly speculation:

If the Resurrection was added to the Christian Bible after the 4th Century, as its absence in the Codex Sinaiticus apparently implies [Edit: My assumption was wrong (See Dave W.'s finding below)], then perhaps it came into Christian theology directly from the mystery cult of Mithras.

Mithras was one of several Classical gods and demigods who were resurrected. Mithras' cult was very wide-spread and very popular in the late Roman era, but died out suddenly and completely, with nary a lingering trace, after Theodosius I issued an edict in 394 outlawing "paganism." Most religions do not disappear without a fight, particularly one like Mithraism, which was most popular among Legionnaires. Yet Mithraism disappeared almost without an historical trace, aside from many an abandoned "mithreaum" throughout the Empire.

Mt idea is to suggest that a deal was proposed by Theodosius to the Mithraist heirarchy: "Join the Christian church, and we will make Jesus more like Mithras. You can still worship Mithras, but you must call him Jesus. Agree, or we will wipe you out."

I think they took the deal. If they hadn't, I suspect there'd be records of some serious fighting throughout the Empire. And Christianity got a resurrected Jesus out of the compromise.



Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
Edited by - HalfMooner on 07/07/2009 00:04:50
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Simon
SFN Regular

USA
1992 Posts

Posted - 07/06/2009 :  21:16:05   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Simon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Interesting stuff!

I will read the article and think about it.
But once again, it does show how the whole fundamentalist idea that the Bible is the 'perfect word of God' is nothing but delusion.

Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
Carl Sagan - 1996
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26007 Posts

Posted - 07/06/2009 :  21:20:16   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, I'm not more disappointed because I can already hear the wails of "that wasn't ever a real Bible" from the biblio-idolators. To those who think their particular Bible is inerrant, all other Bibles are simply fakes or hoaxes. So what this one says or doesn't say isn't of any relevance to those theists I think of as most dangerous.

Really, who can say that the Codex Sinaiticus isn't the work of some 4th-century Thomas Jefferson, inspired directly by Satan?

Years ago, Scientific American described attempts to create an "evolutionary history" of a chain letter. I recall that the determinations of which versions came from which other versions wasn't particularly solid, and "Horizontal Meme Transfer" (to coin a phrase) abounded. I can't help but think that the same problems encountered when trying to discover the history of thousands of copies of a short text wouldn't be multiplied exponentially with millions of copies of a huge book. Sure, we can compare the KJV to the books we know it was cribbed from, but for the New Testament (especially), such isn't the case the further we go back in time (especially since the earliest stuff we have is highly fragmentary and probably post-dates much oral retelling). And so I see problems with even "not-quite-inerrantists" simply pooh-poohing any attempts to show that this Codex not only pre-dated but was perhaps the great-great-great-grandfather of the Bible they know now.

But that's probably too much of a burden to place on the Codex Sanaiticus. Academically, it is awesome, and my disappointment at not being able to use it as a weapon against foolishness should take nothing away from that awesomeness. It kills me that an English translation isn't available on the site, since I once dabbled in finding the commonalities and differences between the four Gospels in the KJV, creating a four-column webpage on which I could re-arrange and color-code the verses, adding blank spaces as needed to make things line up. It was an interesting exercise (until something more interesting came along), which I never finished. But doing the same sort of thing between the Codex Sanaiticus and some modern Bible might be pretty entertaining.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 07/06/2009 :  21:22:46   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Simon

Interesting stuff!

I will read the article and think about it.
But once again, it does show how the whole fundamentalist idea that the Bible is the 'perfect word of God' is nothing but delusion.
And even more laughably, think of the many "King James Only" fundamentalists who believe the only proper version of that book is the one written in English by James' committee of theologians.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26007 Posts

Posted - 07/06/2009 :  21:34:42   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by lorddix

It appears that there are english translations of some parts, but other sections do not have any translations as of yet. The resurrection stories are in there in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John with the contradictions that are currently known to exist, but having neither the time nor inclination to compare them to a current bible as published there are probably individual passages that are not in the codex, but are in the bible as published now. The CNN blurb doesn't note the lack of resurrection stories, but says that some passages are missing which implies that a later editor/writer fleshed out the resurrection stories and added passages.
Actually, the CNN piece says,
And some familiar -- very important -- passages are missing, including verses dealing with the resurrection of Jesus, they said.
That is rather vague.

But translations of the Gospels are in there. I must have been impatient with the site (it's taking a long time to load). Here is Luke 24:1-12 in NIV:
1 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.

2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb,

3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.

4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them.

5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead?

6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee:

7 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.' "

8 Then they remembered his words.

9 When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others.

10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles.

11 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense.

12 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.
Here are the verses in the Codex Sanaiticus:
1 But on the first of the week, very early in the morning, they came to the sepulcher, bringing the spices that they had prepared.

2 And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulcher;

3 but entering, they found not the body of the Lord Jesus.

4 And it came to pass as they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in bright clothing

5 and the women being afraid and bowing their faces to the earth the angels said to them: Why see among the dead for him that lives?

6 He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he spoke to you while he was yet in Galilee,

7 saying of the Son of man that he must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and rise on the third day.

8 And they remembered his words,

9 and returned from the sepulcher and told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest.

10 And they were Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James; and the rest with them told these things to the apostles.

11 And these words appeared in their sight as idle tales, and they believed them not.

12 But Peter arose and ran to the sepulcher, and stooping down, he saw the linen clothes lying by themselves; and he departed, wondering in himself at that which had come to pass.
Those are essentially identical. I wish I had time for more poking around.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 07/06/2009 :  22:08:41   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dave W.

Those are essentially identical. I wish I had time for more poking around.
Indeed, they are. Thanks for finding and posting that!


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26007 Posts

Posted - 07/07/2009 :  07:13:32   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Is it just me, or is the Codex site down? All I'm getting is "Service Unavailable."

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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Ricky
SFN Die Hard

USA
4907 Posts

Posted - 07/07/2009 :  07:36:55   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message Send Ricky a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dave W.

Is it just me, or is the Codex site down? All I'm getting is "Service Unavailable."


Weird. There are several sites on that server, but codexsinaiticus.co.uk/en/ is the only one actually working. I would imagine if the site got an overload from visitors, the entire server would go down. No?

Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.
- Isaac Asimov
Edited by - Ricky on 07/07/2009 07:37:45
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Simon
SFN Regular

USA
1992 Posts

Posted - 07/07/2009 :  07:50:42   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Simon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dave W.

Originally posted by lorddix

It appears that there are english translations of some parts, but other sections do not have any translations as of yet. The resurrection stories are in there in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John with the contradictions that are currently known to exist, but having neither the time nor inclination to compare them to a current bible as published there are probably individual passages that are not in the codex, but are in the bible as published now. The CNN blurb doesn't note the lack of resurrection stories, but says that some passages are missing which implies that a later editor/writer fleshed out the resurrection stories and added passages.
Actually, the CNN piece says,
And some familiar -- very important -- passages are missing, including verses dealing with the resurrection of Jesus, they said.
That is rather vague.

But translations of the Gospels are in there. I must have been impatient with the site (it's taking a long time to load). Here is Luke 24:1-12 in NIV:[bq][i]1 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. (...)




You are looking at Luke, which was written relatively late (after the temple's destruction).

More interesting might be to look at Mark's ending (Mark 16:8 and up) as the earliest known version appear to be truncated with the resurrection story we have in the modern version to be a later addition.


Edited: 'cause I can't type.

Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
Carl Sagan - 1996
Edited by - Simon on 07/07/2009 07:55:26
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