Our Oldest Bible: The Codex Sinaiticus

Christians have long relied on scribes’ copies of Biblical texts; J. K. Elliot describes how the Codex Sinaiticus, discovered in 1844, dates from the fourth century.

The recently published ‘Good News Bible’ is yet another attempt to translate the Christian scriptures into modern English. Some translations of the Bible stand out as milestones, such as the Authorized Version of King James, the Revised Version of 1881 and the Revised Standard Version of 1947.

To most readers the Authorized Version is The Bible. Others prefer the contemporary idiom of the New English Bible and the Jerusalem Bible. Whether the ‘Good News Bible’ will prove to be another milestone remains to be seen.

The multifarious versions of the scriptures on the market show that no one translation is perfect. The original language of the Old Testament was, for the most part, Hebrew. The New Testament was written entirely in Greek. Biblical scholars, however, are concerned not only with the rendering of these languages into modem English, but also with the reliability of the ancient manuscripts in Hebrew and Greek.

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