The oldest Christian texts are being auctioned for astronomical prices

The Crosby-Schøyen Codex was created in the mid-third or early fourth century and contains a collection of early Christian texts that provide a rare glimpse into the period when “the first Christians were finding their footing.”

According to the Code By telegraph, was written by a monk in Egypt and contains the earliest complete text of the Book of Jonah and the first letter of Peter. For unknown reasons, it remained buried for nearly 1,500 years before being discovered in 1952 along with more than 20 other codices near Disna, Egypt. These manuscripts are commonly known as the “Disna Papers” or the “Bodmer Papyri”. , named after Swiss collector Martin Bodmer.

The auction will be held on June 11 by Christie’s in London, and the book is estimated to sell for 2.5-3.5 million euros.

Speaking to the BBC on Sunday, Christie’s book and manuscript expert Eugenio Donandoni said: “The oldest books in the world date from around the third or fourth century. The codex was originally dated to the second century, but it was finally written in the third century. We cannot say for sure that it is the oldest book in the world. , but we cannot rule it out either.”

He added that the texts in the Codex are of great importance for early Christianity: “It is the cornerstone of the original faith and a witness to the early spread of Christianity around the Mediterranean Sea. What is particularly interesting is that it is a collection of texts compiled by monastic communities in upper Egypt to celebrate one of the first Passovers.

The ancient manuscript was written in Coptic script and on Egyptian papyrus. Christie’s

It is one of the three major discoveries of the 20th century that revolutionized the study of Christianity. We are talking about the first people who are still rooted in Jewish traditions and found their place as Christians.”

After its discovery, the Codex was purchased by the University of Mississippi and remained there until 1981. After several changes of ownership, finally in 1988 the Norwegian manuscript collector Dr. It was bought by Martin Sojen and bears his name. It is the oldest book in private hands. Its excellent preservation is believed to be due to Egypt’s dry climate.

Soyen is selling 61 manuscripts through the auction house, including a 13th-century Hebrew manuscript valued at €2.5 million. It holds one of the largest manuscript archives in the world, 20,000 texts, including 400 related to the Bible.

104 pages of the Code were written by one scribe over a period of 40 years.

The auction house said on its website: “The sale spans 1,300 years of cultural history and includes world heritage manuscripts such as the Crosby-Schøyen Codex, Holkham Hebrew Bible, Sinaiticus Rescriptus Codex and the Geraardsbergen Bible, as well as Greek literature, early English law, a historically significant Scottish chronicle and is the oldest known example of bookbinding.

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