Codex Sinaiticus is one of the oldest, famous, and most important manuscripts of the Bible. At least three scribes copied the text manually, and they were faced with many decisions: What do I do when I spot an error in the text I just copied? What is the right spelling of this word? Is it time for a new paragraph? This book studies a variety of textual and non-textual phenomena in Codex Sinaiticus. We discover more about this important biblical manuscript as well as the individuals with their own habits, qualities, and skill levels who produced it.
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Codex Sinaiticus is the oldest manuscript containing the complete text of the New Testament. Besides the New Testament, this codex from the fourth century also contains large parts of the Greek Old Testament, though quite a large part of this section did not survive. Codex Sinaiticus is much more than simply a particular instance of the Greek text of the Bible. At least three different scribes copied the text out by hand, and these scribes were faced with many decisions in the process of writing: How many letters do I put on this line? Will I contract this word as a nomen sacrum or will I spell it out in full? What do I do when I spot an error in the text I have just copied? What is the right spelling of this word? Is it time for a new paragraph? How do I fit the text I have copied to that of my colleague?
This book studies a wide variety of textual and non-textual phenomena of Codex Sinaiticus. Thus we not only learn more about this important biblical manuscript, but are also able to discern much about the individual scribes. The Codex Sinaiticus is not a homogenous book, but the product of individuals with their own habits and different qualities. This study shows that it is possible to rate the scribes of the New Testament according to their individual copying ability.
Dirk Jongkind finished his doctoral work at Cambridge University in 2005. Before taking up a research fellowship at Tyndale House, Cambridge, he was employed by the British Library in London to work on the curatorial preparation of the Codex Sinaiticus Digitisation Project. He is a fellow of St Edmund's College, Cambridge.