Oldest Bible goes online today

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    Jul 06, 2009 9:43 PM GMT
    Would be interesting to read it. I wonder what material differences will be identified

    http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/europe/07/06/ancient.bible.online/index.html
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    Jul 06, 2009 9:49 PM GMT
    Scholars have had this text for many, many years. No-one with the ability to make intelligent comments about the text has had problems getting hold of it for several generations.
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    Jul 06, 2009 10:18 PM GMT
    didn't know that - i'm looking forward myself to read the parts that apparently talk about same sex couplings
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    Jul 06, 2009 10:23 PM GMT
    Although the article in question states that various texts are missing, including the portions that deals with the Resurrection of Christ, in 1947 in a cave at Qumram, the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered by an Arab shepherd. These were texts written on animal skins dating back to the 1st Century BC.
    One of the texts was the complete Book of the Prophet Isaiah, the manuscript now housed in the Shrine of the Book, in West Jerusalem. What is significant about this manuscript is that it is exactly identical to the modern Hebrew text from which our Bibles are translated. Only one or two spellings of proper nouns were slightly diffrerent.
    This seem to indicate that the Bibles we read today are accurate in text content and translation, the result of centuries of carefully supervised copying with the aim of retaining the original content the authors wanted to convey.
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    Jul 06, 2009 10:30 PM GMT
    NotThatOld saidAlthough the article in question states that various texts are missing, including the portions that deals with the Resurrection of Christ, in 1947 in a cave at Qumram, the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered by an Arab shepherd. These were texts written on animal skins dating back to the 1st Century BC.
    One of the texts was the complete Book of the Prophet Isaiah, the manuscript now housed in the Shrine of the Book, in West Jerusalem. What is significant about this manuscript is that it is exactly identical to the modern Hebrew text from which our Bibles are translated. Only one or two spellings of proper nouns were slightly diffrerent.
    This seem to indicate that the Bibles we read today are accurate in text content and translation, the result of centuries of carefully supervised copying with the aim of retaining the original content the authors wanted to convey.


    awwwww shucks!!!!!!!! I was hoping there would be major differences
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    Jul 06, 2009 10:39 PM GMT
    Here is the manuscript website. No english translation yet, as I was immediately drawn to the book of Leviticus. Just click on the manuscript tab and give it a minute to load....

    http://www.codexsinaiticus.org/en/
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    Jul 06, 2009 10:41 PM GMT
    NotThatOld saidAlthough the article in question states that various texts are missing, including the portions that deals with the Resurrection of Christ, in 1947 in a cave at Qumram, the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered by an Arab shepherd. These were texts written on animal skins dating back to the 1st Century BC.
    One of the texts was the complete Book of the Prophet Isaiah, the manuscript now housed in the Shrine of the Book, in West Jerusalem. What is significant about this manuscript is that it is exactly identical to the modern Hebrew text from which our Bibles are translated. Only one or two spellings of proper nouns were slightly diffrerent.
    This seem to indicate that the Bibles we read today are accurate in text content and translation, the result of centuries of carefully supervised copying with the aim of retaining the original content the authors wanted to convey.


    Sorry the two textual discoveries have nothing to do with each other. The Greek translation of the OT plus the greek NT were preserved in christian communities. The hebrew texts, both those from Qumran and those of the medieval rabbis, had no connection with sinaiticus. 1QIsb is substantially the same as codex leningradensis, which has formed the basis of modern critical editions of the Hebrew bible (the differences are a great deal more than "one or two spellings of proper nouns"). Then again, at Qumran you have but then you have texts like 4QJerb and 4QJerd which follow a text type much closer to the divergent one preserved in the LXX. (You do know that there are two totally different books of Jeremiah which were both used by the church as the bible, don´t you?)

    Bottom line: don´t draw facile conclusions about the relevance of ancient manuscripts to the claims of modern evangelicalism.
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    Jul 07, 2009 2:14 AM GMT
    Oh i thought someone said there were translations of it icon_sad.gif well that sucks. i'm too old to go learn greek now
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    Jul 07, 2009 3:11 AM GMT
    i would soo love to get my hands on this. IT is not the oldest bible however. Last night while watching the history channel...yes im addicted to it , a program came on that talked about the "Codex Gigas"---the devils bible. It is reported that this bible was written in one night after a monk sold his soul to the devil who granted him freedom from a cell as he was about to be walled up for having fornication thoughts. Anyways the Gigas is said to be the other half of religion, the last book that was supposed to be added to the old testament. i would love to read both and compare them. Just for pure fun as i love old documents. The thing is they are both locked away in high security vaults. The Codex Gigas is in Sweden and the the oldest know bible is scattered all over Europe.....damn those historians are lucky to even read those texts.
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    Jul 07, 2009 3:52 AM GMT
    This is not a new discovery, it is just the first time it has been presented like this:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/07/06/historic-bible-pages-reco_n_226045.htmlLONDON — The surviving pages of the world's oldest Christian Bible have been reunited _ digitally. The early work known as the Codex Sinaiticus has been housed in four separate locations across the world for more than 150 years. But starting Monday, it became available for perusal on the Web at so scholars and other readers can get a closer look at what the British Library calls a "unique treasure."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codex_Sinaiticus

    The differences have been long known. Despite what the "inerrant bible" people will tell you, some manuscripts contain different books as well as variations in biblical text. The Christian Bible is largely pieced together and certainly they are copied from copies and other sources. As you might know, the "original" texts were not typically put together or written at the same time or in the same languages. This codex, like the bibles we have today, was pieced together from different sources and handwritten by probably 3 or 4 scribes (and then several "correctors" also had a hand in it.

    This particular Codex has numerous books that are not in other Codex.
    In some places you can see where the scribes revise what other scribes write.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codex_SinaiticusAlong with Codex Vaticanus, Codex Sinaiticus is one of the most valuable manuscripts for establishing the original text — see textual criticism — of the Greek New Testament, as well as the Septuagint. It is the only uncial manuscript with the complete text of the New Testament, and the only ancient manuscript of the New Testament written in four columns per page which has survived to the present day.[2] Only 300 years away from the original manuscripts of the New Testament, it is highly important and considered a very accurate copy as opposed to most of the later copies, "preserving obviously superior readings where the great mass of later manuscripts is in error".[5]

    In the Gospels, Sinaiticus is the second most important witness of the text (after Vaticanus); in the Acts of the Apostles, its text is equal to that of Vaticanus; in the Epistles, Sinaiticus is the most important witness of the text. In the Book of Revelation, however, its text is corrupted and not good quality; it is inferior to the texts of Codex Alexandrinus, Papyrus 47, and even some minuscule manuscripts in this place (f.e. Minuscule 2053, 2062).[8]


    The Bible people have today (especially the Christian bibles) are largely a best guess at what the "originals" were. There is no "one" accurate text.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_manuscript

    The Textus Receptus for example which is used for the base of translations like the King James bible has been noted to have more than 30,000 text variations with other sources:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Textus_Receptus#Textual_criticism_and_the_Textus_ReceptusJohn Mill (1645-1707), collated textual variants from 82 Greek manuscripts. In his Novum Testamentum Graecum, cum lectionibus variantibus MSS (Oxford 1707) he reprinted the unchanged text of the Editio Regia, but in the index he enumerated 30,000 textual variants.

    You see it is quite impossible to say that there is such a thing as an inerrant bible because some have different text and even complete missing books or chapter segments. That means people over the past 2000 years have had to pick and choose what is and error or not for modern day readers. You cannot say that all the texts are correct and have to conclude that some of the texts are in error.
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    Jul 07, 2009 4:20 AM GMT
    ActiveAndFit saidThe Bible people have today (especially the Christian bibles) are largely a best guess at what the "originals" were. There is no "one" accurate text.

    I wouldn't say "best guess". We are talking about some intelligent scholars whose classification is based on literary, grammatical, syntactical as well as metaphysical/theological qualities. The classification is far from "best guess" but is the fruit of intelligent work no matter what the text actually says. This does, however, not mean that every classification is correct. The same aforesaid qualities are not apparent in certain texts as well but did make it into official Judeo-Christian canon.
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    Jul 07, 2009 4:22 AM GMT
    Here is another wikipedia entry about this particular event .. the significance is that the text is now made available to everyone

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codex_Sinaiticus#Later_story_of_codexMore than 1/4 of the manuscript was made publicly available at The Codex Sinaiticus Website on July 24, 2008. On July 6, 2009, 800 more pages of the manuscript were made available, showing over half of the entire text, although the entire text was intended to be shown by that date.

    The complete document is now available online in digital form and available for scholarly study. The online version has a fully transcribed set of digital pages, including amendments to the text, and two images of each page, with both standard lighting and raked lighting to highlight the texture of the parchment.
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    Jul 07, 2009 4:26 AM GMT
    Lostboy said
    NotThatOld saidAlthough the article in question states that various texts are missing, including the portions that deals with the Resurrection of Christ, in 1947 in a cave at Qumram, the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered by an Arab shepherd. These were texts written on animal skins dating back to the 1st Century BC.
    One of the texts was the complete Book of the Prophet Isaiah, the manuscript now housed in the Shrine of the Book, in West Jerusalem. What is significant about this manuscript is that it is exactly identical to the modern Hebrew text from which our Bibles are translated. Only one or two spellings of proper nouns were slightly diffrerent.
    This seem to indicate that the Bibles we read today are accurate in text content and translation, the result of centuries of carefully supervised copying with the aim of retaining the original content the authors wanted to convey.


    Sorry the two textual discoveries have nothing to do with each other. The Greek translation of the OT plus the greek NT were preserved in christian communities. The hebrew texts, both those from Qumran and those of the medieval rabbis, had no connection with sinaiticus. 1QIsb is substantially the same as codex leningradensis, which has formed the basis of modern critical editions of the Hebrew bible (the differences are a great deal more than "one or two spellings of proper nouns"). Then again, at Qumran you have but then you have texts like 4QJerb and 4QJerd which follow a text type much closer to the divergent one preserved in the LXX. (You do know that there are two totally different books of Jeremiah which were both used by the church as the bible, don´t you?)

    Bottom line: don´t draw facile conclusions about the relevance of ancient manuscripts to the claims of modern evangelicalism.


    I'll translate for my learned friend Lostboy. Don't be making shit up, rewriting history and outright lying in reference to these texts to support your own beliefs.
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    Jul 07, 2009 4:30 AM GMT
    Pinny said
    ActiveAndFit saidThe Bible people have today (especially the Christian bibles) are largely a best guess at what the "originals" were. There is no "one" accurate text.

    I wouldn't say "best guess". We are talking about some intelligent scholars whose classification is based on literary, grammatical, syntactical as well as metaphysical/theological qualities. The classification is far from "best guess" but is the fruit of intelligent work no matter what the text actually says. This does, however, not mean that every classification is correct. The same aforesaid qualities are not apparent in certain texts as well but did make it into official Judeo-Christian canon.
    I would definitely say best guess. If you have several versions of a text as well as completely missing sections and "books" .. you have to make a "best guess", or even one that suits a doctrinal view point. In fact there are thousands of "best guesses" and interpolations. It is that simple. You have to say one or the other is in error. By what measure did the original writers of the documents ascribe an "intelligent" choice? The "Bible" sources were never even meant to be one book, but letters and accounts of events addressed to very specific people.
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    Jul 07, 2009 11:49 AM GMT
    depends what is meant by "best guess". The process is not as "scientific" as many would like to believe (including some who do it).that said, it´s not random either. But more of an art than a science
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    Jul 07, 2009 1:14 PM GMT
    well i'm still gonna go have a read of certain parts of it
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    Jul 07, 2009 2:14 PM GMT
    Lostboy saiddepends what is meant by "best guess". The process is not as "scientific" as many would like to believe (including some who do it).that said, it´s not random either. But more of an art than a science
    Yes, I also used the word interpolate. Having worked in the scientific field doing data analysis and algorithm analysis, interpolate is being generous. But if you read some of the critical analysis you see these opinions coming through and then when you throw in "belief systems" you find all kinds of suspect "reasoning". For example:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Textus_Receptus#Textual_criticism_and_the_Textus_ReceptusThe majority of textual critical scholars since the late 19th Century, have adopted an eclectic approach to the Greek New Testament; with the most weight given to the earliest extant manuscripts which tend mainly to be Alexandrian in character; the resulting eclectic Greek text departing from the Textus Receptus in around 6,000 readings. A significant minority of textual scholars, however, maintain the priority of the Byzantine text-type; and consequently prefer the "Majority Text". No school of textual scholarship now continues to defend the priority of the Textus Receptus; although this position does still find adherents amongst the King-James-Only Movement, and other Protestant groups hostile to the whole discipline of text criticism—as applied to scripture; and suspicious of any departure from Reformation traditions.
    But you also have noted changes and corrections closer to when the codex was originally compiled .. what method did they use? When certainty is not present .. guessing methods will creep in as well as the "politics of religion"
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codex_Sinaiticus#The_text_of_the_codex# Luke 23:34, "Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" — it was included by the first scribe, marked by the first corrector as doubtful, but a third corrector removed the mark.
    My "guess" would be in the days when religious factions had much more vested interest in politics and political control neutrality may have taken a back seat.
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    Jul 07, 2009 2:39 PM GMT
    As far as "intelligent scholars", and on a similar vein, some people that dedicate themselves to really studying all this academically go in as evangelicals, but leave as agnostic. Here is something from a good segment on NPR:
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=101389895Now a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Ehrman began his studies at the Moody Bible Institute. He was initially an evangelical Christian who believed the Bible was the inerrant word of God. But later, as a student at Princeton Theological Seminary, Ehrman started reading the Bible with a more historical approach and analyzing the contradictions among the Gospels. Eventually, he lost faith in the Bible as the literal word of God. He now describes himself as an agnostic.
    And here is the audio http://www.npr.org/templates/player/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=101389895&m=101390433
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    Jul 07, 2009 10:49 PM GMT
    GuerrillaSodomite said
    Lostboy said

    (You do know that there are two totally different books of Jeremiah which were both used by the church as the bible, don´t you?)

    Bottom line: don´t draw facile conclusions about the relevance of ancient manuscripts to the claims of modern evangelicalism.


    I'll translate for my learned friend Lostboy. Don't be making shit up, rewriting history and outright lying in reference to these texts to support your own beliefs.


    Guerrilla,
    Sorry to disagree with you, but in 1994, I have visited the Shrine of the Book in West Jerusalem, and I have seen the manuscript with my own eyes, along with panels of explanations printed in both Hebrew and English. In the middle of the room is a duplicate of the whole manuscript, set up in such a way that one has to walk right round the central exhibit to see it all. The whole of the building in which the manuscript is housed is a giant replica of the clay jar in which the original was found, well preserved. So really, it is not me who making up shit, it was the archaeologists, the Hebrew scholars and other well educated professors and experts who made the shit up, not me. Then the Israeli Government, who were Jews, not Christians, according to you, were thoroughly gullable and stupid enough to waste taxpayer's money on such a daft folly of an expensive building!

    Lostboy,
    An interesting statement about the two books of Jeremiah you say the Church used over the centuries. There are two books written by Jeremiah in the Old Testament. The other is Lamentations, a short book about the prophet's weeping over the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonian army.
    But if you are referring to some other book written by him, and it's not found in the Bible, then there is a high chance that it contradicts the original, and such, the Jews at the time did not recognise it as genuine. You must realise that the Old Testament we have today was decided and finalised by the Jews centuries before Jesus Christ himself was born.
    Have you ever read Jeremiah?
    The prophet writes that if Israel does not reform itself, then a foreign army will arrive and raze their city to the ground. The Jews of his day refuse to listen. Over and over again he warned, and was met with a wall of hostility. Then, years later, Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon razed Jerusalem to the ground, in 586 BC. Before the foreign king arrived, the prophet declared that the Exile would last seventy years. So it happened. He also wrote that one day the whole nation of Israel would one day be fully restored to its own land. Today we have seen this happen. No man can foretell future events with such stunning accuracy, unless there is some Divine power behind it.
    Whatever book you are referring to, if it's not Lamentations, then it is not genuine, and it is to be discarded.