One of the oldest books Crosby-Schøyen Codex is up for sale

One of the oldest books Crosby-Schøyen Codex is up for sale
Published 1 months ago on Jun 10, 2024

Ancient Biblical Text Up for Auction: Unveiling the Crosby-Schøyen Codex (£3 Million Estimated Value) 

History buffs and religious scholars alike take note: a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity awaits. The Crosby-Schøyen Codex, an ancient biblical manuscript dating back to the dawn of Christianity, is going up for auction at Christie's in London.

Estimated to fetch a staggering £3 million (around $3.8 million), this remarkable artifact offers a glimpse into the early development of Christianity and the evolution of the book format.

Crafted around 1,700 years ago, the Crosby-Schøyen Codex is believed to be one of the oldest complete books in existence currently held in private hands. This Coptic manuscript, written in a language descended from ancient Egyptian, contains five distinct early Christian texts. Notably, it includes the earliest known complete versions of the Book of Jonah and the First Epistle of Peter.

While the precious manuscript no longer exists as a single bound volume, its individual leaves (104 pages in total) are meticulously preserved behind protective plexiglass. This fragmentation nonetheless underscores the codex's historical significance.

"It's right at that period, that transitional period, when papyrus scroll starts turning into codex form," explains Eugenio Donadoni, a senior specialist in medieval and renaissance manuscripts at Christie's. "There is evidence that codices existed earlier, but none has survived. That makes this a unique object in the history of Christianity and of information technology."

The Crosby-Schøyen Codex offers a fascinating window into the practices of early Christians. Likely copied by a dedicated Egyptian monk in the 3rd century AD, the text was meticulously inscribed onto papyrus sheets using a traditional reed pen dipped in ink.

Dr. Meredith Warren, a senior lecturer in biblical and religious studies at the University of Sheffield, emphasizes the codex's crucial role in understanding the birth of Christian culture and literature.

"What makes the codex so remarkable, apart from its age and completeness, are its contents," she states. The inclusion of the complete Book of Jonah and First Epistle of Peter provides invaluable insights into early Christian beliefs and interpretations.

The discovery of the Crosby-Schøyen Codex itself is shrouded in some mystery. Unearthed in Egypt in 1952 alongside other manuscripts buried in a jar, its exceptional preservation is attributed to the country's arid climate. As Donadoni points out, very few books from the 3rd and 4th centuries have survived to the present day.

Following its discovery, the Crosby-Schøyen Codex journeyed through various hands. Acquired by the University of Mississippi in 1955, it eventually found its way to the collection of Norwegian businessman and avid collector Martin Schøyen in 1988. Schøyen's collection, one of the largest private manuscript repositories globally, is now offering this exceptional piece for auction.

The Crosby-Schøyen Codex goes under the hammer on June 11th at Christie's King Street in London, with an estimated selling price of £2 million to £3 million. This unique opportunity to own a piece of early Christian history and a pivotal artifact in the evolution of the book format is sure to attract significant interest from collectors and institutions worldwide.

What is the Crosby-Schøyen Codex? 

The Crosby-Schøyen Codex is an ancient Egyptian biblical manuscript dating back to the 3rd-century AD. 

It's a 'codex', an ancient manuscript text in book form, using sheets of vellum or papyrus instead of paper.  

It contains five different religious texts: 

Book of Jonah 
First Epistle of Peter 
Second Book of Maccabees 
Peri Pascha of Melito 
An Easter homily 

The ruins that could prove the Bible was TRUE: Stretch of wall in ancient Jerusalem vindicates the holy book's account, experts claim  

A scientific breakthrough has exposed the truth about a site in ancient Jerusalem, overturning expert opinion and vindicating the Bible's account.  

Until now, experts believed a stretch of wall in the original heart of the city was built by Hezekiah, King of Judah, whose reign straddled the seventh and eighth centuries BC.  

He had seen his neighbours to the north, the Kingdom of Israel, destroyed by the Assyrian Empire, and it was thought that he built the wall to defend against the invaders.  

But now an almost decade-long study has revealed it was built by his great-grandfather, Uzziah, after a huge earthquake, echoing the account of the Bible.  

The wall is in the City of David – the historic archaeological site that formed the original town of Jerusalem, according to the Bible.  



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