Religion: Oldest Texts

Biblical scholars periodically get excited when, in the sands of Egypt or the Near East, someone turns up what is called "the world's oldest Biblical text." Famed for its comparative completeness is Codex Sinaiticus of the 4th Century, sold by Soviet-Russia to England (TIME, Jan. 1, 1934 et seq.). For a time the oldest known gospel fragments were some 3rd Century papyri owned by Alfred Chester Beatty, onetime U. S. millionaire, now a British subject. Year ago the British Museum acquired some unidentified 2nd Century Greek papyri paralleling St. John (TIME, Feb....

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