Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Codex Sinaiticus- wow!

Can't go past this. Thanks to David Schutz for the head's-up.

The Codex Sinaiticus is online! A fact which combines elements of unspeakable awesomeness with sleep deprivation-inducing fascination. Oh, if only I could read Greek without the constant aid of a lexicon! Where to start? How to delineate the multifaceted brilliance of it? The Providence that has preserved this Bible for over fifteen centuries! The significance for the history of books in general, for the formation of the very concept of "the Bible" as a self-contained entity! The curious ordering and what it means (what on earth is Acts doing between Philemon and James?! And why is Hebrews grouped with the Pauline epistles? Did the fourth century Church know something that we don't, namely that Hebrews was written by Paul after all, despite evidence to the contrary?). The fascinating and curious implications for the Canon!

The latter is what really interests me. It has the Septuagint books, including the deuterocanonicals, naturally, but also other random inclusions such as 4 Maccabees and 2 Esdras, neither of which are regarded as canonical by any Christian group. Plus at the end you find the Epistle of Barnabas and the Shepherd of Hermas. If memory serves me, neither are included in any of the lists of canonical books by any of the Fathers after the second century (although I remain subject to correction on that as its been a while since I read them- although I do know for certain they're not included by Eusebius, who was writing c.320 or so, probably a decade or so earlier than the Codex Sinaiticus was made). Does their inclusion mean that there wasn't yet a consensus on their non-canonical status in the Church yet after all? A fascinating idea.

Oh, and take a look at 1 John 5:8. No three heavenly witnesses. Or John 1:1. There's a definite article in there. And there's so much more to discover. What do all these marginal notes signify? I've no idea but I'm keen to find out. This is an amazing thing. Do check it out.


Sch├╝tz said...

Hi, Glen! Just a quick word to say that Kiren reminded me of your blog and I realised that I hadn't put up a link to it on my site yet. Problem rectified!

GAB said...

Thanks very much, David. Cheers!