World's Oldest Bible to be Posted Online

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The oldest surviving copy of the New Testament and parts of the Old Testament will soon be available to the world --- online.

Parts of the fourth century "Codex Sinaiticus" were once scattered all over the world, from Britain to Russia to a monastery in the Sinai Desert.

Now, more than 1,600 years after it was first written, scholars have gathered all its pieces and will soon upload them on the Internet.

"I think it's just fantastic that thanks to technology we can now make the oldest cultural artifacts, ones that were once so precious you couldn't show them to anyone, accessible to everyone, in really high quality," Ulrich Johannes Schneider said.

Schneider is director of the Leipzig University Library, which - along with the British Museum - will sponsor the project.

"Only a few people have ever had the opportunity to see more than a couple of pages of the (Codex)," Scot McKendrick with the British Library said. He added that the Bible was a "unique treasure" Christians could now share with the world.

Sections of the Codex Sinaiticus will be available online beginning July 24. It will feature the Book of Psalms and the Gospel of Mark, along with notes and references on the Old Testament.

The entire work will be completely posted by July 2009. Online access will be free and will include a search and translation feature.

Sources: AFP, Reuters, Associated Press

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