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Oldest known Bible goes online

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posted on Jul, 6 2009 @ 12:46 PM

LONDON, England (CNN) -- The world's oldest known Christian Bible goes online Monday -- but the 1,600-year-old text doesn't match the one you'll find in churches today.

Discovered in a monastery in the Sinai desert in Egypt more than 160 years ago, the handwritten Codex Sinaiticus includes two books that are not part of the official New Testament and at least seven books that are not in the Old Testament.

The New Testament books are in a different order, and include numerous handwritten corrections -- some made as much as 800 years after the texts were written, according to scholars who worked on the project of putting the Bible online. The changes range from the alteration of a single letter to the insertion of whole sentences.


I'm not a devout Christian, but have read the Bible a few times in my youth when searching for what was right for me. I find this very interesting that the older the findnids become, the more changed they are. Things have been moved around, new books are surfacing and there could be a real debate over what truly is suppose to be in the holy scriptures.

Now as I said, I am not an expert of this type of thing, nor do I claim to know everything that's in the Bible already.

I'm sure there are tons of ATS members who are better versed in this than me and could shed some light on what this means for the Christian community.

Edit to add, here's the link to the actual text.

Oldest Known Bible


[edit on 7/6/2009 by tothetenthpower]

posted on Jul, 6 2009 @ 12:48 PM
I just saw this as well. They have a story on about it. I thought it was interesting that some things are missing, like the resurrection of Jesus. I'm sure there will be much ado about that.

posted on Jul, 6 2009 @ 12:55 PM
This is great news to me.

I Have a stupid question-----Will it soon be or is it already translated to English?

I have always felt the King James version was not the whole story.

And how ignorant to think Jesus and others spoke like the people of England when King James had the Hebrew Bible translated.

posted on Jul, 6 2009 @ 12:58 PM
reply to post by tothetenthpower

Fantastic find!!! This will add an interesting new wrinkle on all of the threads where members love to post Biblical quotes! I can't wait to read it! Of course, they will just deny it, calling it a fake. Much like the discovery of Jesus' tomb.

posted on Jul, 6 2009 @ 01:14 PM
This probably still will be translated to help the church and politicians get their way. The true, TRUE, bible is probably in a vault in the Vatican where the missing link in evoultion is. The true bible probably says alot of things that would make every religion agree with it. Maybe it willreveal a few truths like: maybe that psychic abilities, alchemy and magic aren`t evil, there wasn`t a god just ailens with abilities, gay is ok, the universe and earth isn`t just 6000 years old.

posted on Jul, 6 2009 @ 01:37 PM
A couple years ago they announced this project would be going online and I was very excited about it.

But debunkers of Christianity: Don't get too excited about this.

1). The codex is very fragmentary in some sections. By their admission it's not a complete collection of the entire Bible. It does not contain all parts of all the books. It has little existing snippets here and there (similar to the Dead Sea Scrolls).

Example (Genesis Fragment):

Some books of the Bible only contain little snipets like you see above from maybe 20% of a book's chapter. However some books are complete or near complete.

2). The claim the resurrection story is missing is false. It is actually mentioned several times.

Example (John 20):

So their claim of the missing resurrection account is very misleading, if not flat out dishonest.

I'd like them to mention specific examples and where to find them. I did a browsing of where the resurrection story is mentioned in our NT and all references that I knew of off the top of my head are in the codex.

So I'm not sure if whatever they're referring to is due to the fragmentary nature of the find or is something like the Mark 'cut off' that is widely known to the point even many modern translations offer disclaimers about it. If so, they are again being misleading.

3). The codex containing apocryphal books really isn't the conspiracy the articles are trying to make it out to be. The codex was not meant to be a official cannon necessarily and only sought to gather a compilation of various Christian texts. It wasn't 'The Bible.' It was a compilation of various Christian works, both inspired and non inspired. The various writings being included in the codex is not their official authorization of the texts. It was only a preservation means or for teaching.

The books are no secret and have been reproduced for centuries and are available to the common man- they're even found online or in your public library. Even the early century church fathers (PREDATING this codex) knew of their existence and even quoted them at times although they agreed they were not inspired Bible books.

So although I am excited about the project and its value, the conspiracy angle they are trying to put forth is so misleading that it is really hard not to accuse them of blatant dishonesty.

Anyways, Nice find and I'm glad it's finally online. Hopefully they will fix their site since it's taking me about 2-3 minutes to load each page. I'd really like to research it more but so far, they are not impressing me very much with their personal spin but the texts themselves do interest me.

***Edit to make a correction.

[edit on 7/6/2009 by AshleyD]

posted on Jul, 6 2009 @ 01:40 PM
Whenever I hear news about "alternate" texts and stories that have either been left out or grossly changed I can only think of one thing. It's called the "telephone game" and it has answered many questions I've had over the years when certain individuals point to their favorite text and say it must be true because it says so right here and this is the word of God.....

If you are not familiar with the telephone game it goes like this:
Pick a simple story or make one up and write it down on a piece of paper. The story doesn't have to be too long but should contain a few "facts" like dates and the names of central characters and some type of plot with a beginning, middle, and an end. Now line up about 20 people and read the story to the first person. Then have that person repeat the story to the second, the second to the third, etc. Finally have the 20th person write down the story and compare his with the original.

I probably don't have to describe what the end result will be but the two stories will seldom match and quite often will be so bastardized that they don't resemble each other at all. Don't believe me? Try it. It will change the way you view any historical text that has been first handed down orally, then written down years later, then translated a few times....I think you get my drift. And we all know how history can be recorded to favor a particular view...Bush and Cheney are trying to do it now and they just left office!

posted on Jul, 6 2009 @ 01:41 PM
For everyone who is asking: There are English translations of the text on the website itself. Just go to whatever page you want to view (it takes A LONG time to load each page, unfortunately). In the bottom right hand corner, you'll see a scrolling square that translated each fragment into English.

There is also a site somewhere when this project was first being announced a couple of years ago and they had some of the English translations posted online for a sneak peak.

posted on Jul, 6 2009 @ 02:04 PM

Maybe it does not contain all the books or parts of the books because they did not exist at that time and were made up later?

posted on Jul, 6 2009 @ 02:27 PM

Originally posted by The Killah29
This probably still will be translated to help the church and politicians get their way. The true, TRUE, bible is probably in a vault in the Vatican where the missing link in evoultion is. The true bible probably says alot of things that would make every religion agree with it. Maybe it willreveal a few truths like: maybe that psychic abilities, alchemy and magic aren`t evil, there wasn`t a god just ailens with abilities, gay is ok, the universe and earth isn`t just 6000 years old.

Thats abit of wild speculation there. How could you know they have such things? Plus "the" missing link? Are you serious? You do realize there would likely be like more than 1 of those?

With the kind of bias you are showing here, is it really going to matter what it says?

posted on Jul, 6 2009 @ 02:34 PM
I just opened this up and looked at John 14, and it's the same exact words as the KJV. Even with "thee" and such in it.

Are those translations accurate? It certain doesn't seem logical at all to me that it would be so "old" and have a 16th century writing style. I thought it's been common knowledge that the KJV was translated into a more poetic version of the words - which I happen to like, but I surely wasn't expecting that to be in an older version.

There are some small differences in the verses, but it still has the "thee" and such, which throws me off a bit.

A difference:

John 14(old version)

16 And I will entreat the Father, and anther Advocate will he give you, that he may be with you for ever,

John 14(KJV)

16And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

Advocate and Comforter is much different.

1. One that argues for a cause; a supporter or defender: an advocate of civil rights.
2. One that pleads in another's behalf; an intercessor: advocates for abused children and spouses.
3. A lawyer.

posted on Jul, 6 2009 @ 02:38 PM

Originally posted by LucidDreamer85
Maybe it does not contain all the books or parts of the books because they did not exist at that time and were made up later?

The reason I doubt that is because parts of the books not included in the codex (Exodus, II Chronicles, etc.) have been cited in other works that predate the codex. Examples: The early church fathers (New Testament), the Dead Sea Scrolls (Old Testament), etc. So we know the books themselves at least existed. Since you can see some of the books of the codex are fragmentary, it's more likely that they simply didn't preserve well.

As for the missing fragments, we'd have to have more info. Like the DSS's, we only have fragments preserved from certain books as well due to decomposition since the papyrus was organic material and they don't last forever. We can always resort to 'But what if!?!' in the case of missing fragments.

I'm sure there are some legitimate differences and changes, though, so I'm not trying to say the Bible is 100% unchanged (since it's a known fact there are discrepancies). However, that again is something Christians are already aware of but this article is trying to make it sound like it's a breaking conspiracy. There will be certain characters, words, or sentences that are different but they don't change the theology or teaching at all.

For instance, even in one of the most famous examples, Mark, it is still very obvious in the cut-off ending that Jesus arose from the tomb and it is stated 'He is risen' even though the oldest manuscripts stop at that point. So there have been changes. Or there some differences between the Vulgate's OT and the Septuagint, as another example. None of them change the theology.

Hopefully the site will get a little faster once they tweak some things so we can learn more. At first I thought all the books were included but after looking at some more pages, I see some books like Exodus were missing.

And I cannot speak for the OT but I know it has been said that something like 98% of the NT has been reproduced in the works of the ECF's that predate the codex. Not sure if those statistics are accurate though since they have been disputed, mainly due to the fact writings in antiquity were not cited by chapter and verse like they are in modern times.

At this point, it would only be relegated to a 'What if.'

So this find really doesn't unsettle a knowledgeable Christian and they appear, in my honest opinion, to have some sort of agenda here. I'm more interested in the Islamic prophecies that state the Mahdi will allegedly discover Jewish and Christian texts that prove our religions false.

[edit on 7/6/2009 by AshleyD]

posted on Jul, 6 2009 @ 02:40 PM
reply to post by AshleyD

So glad to see your insights here again! Hopefully this means you are 'tanned, rested and ready'! LOL! Thanks for pointing out the 'fallacies' in the claims in the OP. I'm still very interested in checking it out to see what is different from the current 'edition'. I tried to check it out earlier (and you aren't kidding about the slow load times! I felt like I was on dial up again!
), but it said that the English translation was unavailable. Given that you are one of the few 'Bible thumpers' that engages in an honest, informative and civil debate, I look forward to further discussion on this. Hopefully, we won't kill the thread like we did that one time when we agreed (can't remember what it was about though). LOL! You are one of the few who come to the table with a firm faith and an open mind at the same time. Rare on both sides of the issue of faith. Again, it's good to see you back!

[edit on 6-7-2009 by JaxonRoberts]

posted on Jul, 6 2009 @ 03:16 PM
reply to post by JaxonRoberts

I agree- I'm really wanting to poke my nose through it but my desire to see is being over shadowed by my impatience for slow loading times.

Maybe it's just lagging since a lot of people are checking it out right now since it's on CNN or maybe the 'flash' like presentation they are using is what it making it so slow. Either way, it's frustrating. lol I checked out about a dozen pages then gave up for now.

posted on Jul, 6 2009 @ 03:29 PM
reply to post by AshleyD

Well, I hereby designate you to let the rest of us know when it's finally up and running smoothly! You are probably right about the CNN effect on it's speed, although the flash layout probably isn't helping either!

posted on Jul, 6 2009 @ 03:36 PM
reply to post by badmedia

You are right bad media...the difference between comforter and advocate is very different.

Advocate implies that you are your own entity, however, you are represented.

Comforter implies that you need to be cared for and are powerless without that comfort.

At least that is how I'm reading it at present...maybe someone could change my mind and point out something different.

posted on Jul, 7 2009 @ 02:09 AM
This Codex was supposed to be trashed 1600 years ago. It's bogus. It's part of the "minority" texts that were intended to corrupt the Christian movement. Codex Vaticanus, also. For more information, go to these locations:

These manuscripts were generated by gnostic jerks called Alexandrians who wanted to get rid of things in the Christian texts they didn't like. Older is not better in this case.

These manuscripts are one of the reasons that the modern translations are so screwed up. Too many people out to make the big bucks selling new translations of the Bible. The King James Version is not copyrighted, so you or I can publish it. That's not enough for some, so they make up crap to sell to you and me, using these errant texts.

[edit on 7-7-2009 by Jim Scott]

posted on Jul, 7 2009 @ 08:35 AM
Yes the Codex is incomplete, at that time bibles were pretty much pieced together from whatever work the author of that particular bible was able to get his hands on. Some had texts that no longer appear in today's bibles, some had left out entire books etc.

Then they had a meeting and decided what books were to be in the biblical cannon and deemed everything else heresy.

posted on Jul, 7 2009 @ 01:22 PM
The Alexandrians who wrote the Codices were intentionally removing parts of the gospel that they did not believe. It is corrupted text, and should have been destroyed. However, that being said, it makes more dirt for the atheists to dig up and sling in the face of Christians. We are not responsible for the multiple accounts that were written to destroy the gospels.

Stay with the KJV, as it is based on the Textus Receptus, and has been reverified countless times as the most correct. It does not include these gnostic heresies.

[edit on 7-7-2009 by Jim Scott]

posted on Jul, 7 2009 @ 02:27 PM

Originally posted by Jim Scott
...intentionally removing parts of the gospel that they did not believe...

Which is exactly what those at the Council of Nicea did. The only 'true' versions of the Bible would be the original texts written by the original authors in their original languages. Everything else is suspect, IMHO.

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