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Bibles on Vellum

December 17, 2023  -  Comments 0
Did you know . . .
. . . that how the Bible was copied and preserved changed around the fourth century when Christianity was more accepted as a mainstream religion? Before then, individual books were written on the cheaper and more accessible papyrus (a type of grass) rather than the more expensive and durable vellum (animal skin). By the fifth century vellum was in continuous use until the advent of the printing press in 1455 – upon which a great sigh of relief was heard from the animal kingdom.
. . . that Christians from the outset preferred the newly invented codex (book-like papyrus) over the traditional vellum scroll?
. . . that Jews and Christians copied and preserved their scriptures differently? Jews meticulously copied their scrolls, noting the number of letters per column, page and book; then they destroyed the old exemplars. Christians however, were rather sloppy about the copying process and required several editors to check the work. But they preserved all the old exemplars, leading to over 5000 known scraps or fragments of earlier manuscripts.
. . . that, apart from the Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest Torah scroll dates from around 950; that the oldest New Testament manuscript fragment, a papyrus scrap from John 18, dates to about 125; that the oldest whole Bible, on vellum, dates to about 325.

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