The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 United States Friday, September 19, 2014


Oldest Biblical manuscripts in the world online from Chester Beatty Library in time for Easter
Mark 7: 25-37 and 8: 1(P45): The Gospel According to Mark, ca. AD 200 - 250. BP I, f. 6r© The Trustees of the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin.
DUBLIN.- The Chester Beatty Library in Dublin Castle has some of the finest treasures of the great cultures and religions of the world. Among the priceless treasures in the Library is the Biblical Papyrus Collection of incredible texts dating to the 2nd century, discovered in Egypt in 1929. And now these texts can be seen online in time for the Easter Christian celebrations.

The Papyrus collection includes some of the oldest and most important biblical manuscripts in the world. The oldest manuscript of Paul's letters (dated c AD 200), the oldest surviving copy of all four Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles in one codex, and portions of the Book of Revelation dating to the 3rd century are among the important manuscripts on display. With this wealth of material it is small wonder that the Library has become one of the major centres in the world for the study of the Christian Bible.

Highlights of the Papyrus collection

• Gospel of Saint John ca. AD 150-200. This fragment is among the oldest Gospel texts in the world. It contains part of John’s account of the Crucifixion wherein Jesus asks John to take care of his mother.

• Four Gospels and Acts of the Apostles ca. AD 200 - 250. One of the most striking objects in the collection is the codex of the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John alongside the Acts of the Apostles.

• The Letters of Paul ca. AD 200 – 250. The manuscript contains the earliest known copy of the Pauline Epistles and the early date of this codex and the content make it extremely important for the study of the text of Paul's letters.

• The Book of Revelation ca. AD 250 – 300. This contains chapters 9 through 17 of the Apocalypse, or Revelation of John. It is likely that the codex originally contained the entire book, but the beginning and end of the manuscript have been lost.

• The Book of Genesis ca. AD 300 – 350. The codex consists of 51 leaves, along with additional fragments, which contain a significant portion of the Book of Genesis.

• The Books of Numbers and Deuteronomy Late 2nd Century AD This is not only the earliest manuscript within the Chester Beatty Biblical Papyri collection, but until the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the mid-20th century, it was the oldest known manuscript containing a portion of the Old Testament.



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