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Great Sphinx The Nile
Leisure Temple
The mummy
Book of the Dead
The Gods
Old and New Kingdom
The writing and scribes
Room Campana
Room of Bronzes


The convent of Sainte - Catherine

inv 3689


Sully 2nd Floor Room 71

The Bible and its manuscripts

This painting is a souvenir of a journey
painted by the artist in 1830.

The monastery has no door
it is accessed in a basket hoisted through

a high window.

 It was in this monastery of St. Catherine
that was found the Codex Sinaiticus

It is in this monastery nestled at the foot of Jebel Musa, identified at Mount Sinai that the fourth century biblical manuscript known today as the Codex Sinaiticus was discovered. It is one of the oldest known complete copies of Greek Scriptures.
Monastery of St. Catherine

The monastery at the base of Jebel Musa preserves the tradition of Byzantine in identifying this mountain as Mt Sinai.
Named after the saint martyred in Egypt
in 307 AD, the monastery has a library
with the second most refined collections
of  ancient manuscripts of the world
(after the Vatican), including 3,500
manuscripts and 2,000 rolls. 

Monastery of St. Catherine

Most of them are in Greek and were copied by the monks of the monastery. In 1844, the German scholar Friedrich von Tischendorf discovered the Codex Sinaiticus, one of the oldest copies of the Bible.
Jar containing the Dead Sea Scrolls
AO 20147 Unexposed

In 1947 a young Bedouin discovered
in the caves of Qumran several
terracotta jars. One of them is in the Louvre. AE46

These containers contained fragments
of more than 200 rolls and extracts
all the books of Hebrew Scriptures,
except the book of Esther.


One of these very well preserved leather rolls contains among others the prophecy of Isaiah. It is about a thousand years earlier than the oldest known manuscript of the Masoretic text existing. AE47

The comparison reveals that copies the Bible have not undergone major changes. These variants are negligible, and pertain to spelling or grammar differences and not on doctrine. This suggesting that the Jewish scribes were extremely careful in their transmission and faithful. AE48

"The interval between the date
of the writing the original manuscripts
and that of the oldest documents
becomes so small that it is negligible.
The authenticity and integrity of General
books of the NT can be
regarded as proved. "  
Sir F. Kenyon   AE45

"An examination of papyrus allows us
to draw a first important conclusion,
that they confirm the general accuracy
of existing texts.

The changes concern only minor things. "

Sir F. Kenyon AE43


Letter hieratic   E 11006

The Hebrew word for book, Sepher, is related to
the name Sopher which means scribe or copyist. Only students at the temple learned the hieroglyphics; the sacred writing.

The others are initiated only in longhand, the hieratic script.

The term Bible comes from the word papyrus.

Letter written on papyrus       E 25360

Sully Ground floor room 6

The word Bible comes from Greek biblia or "little books", derived from a term that refers to the
inner part of the stem of the papyrus. None of the original writings exist today.

But the comparative study of some 6,000 manuscripts of the Hebrew Scriptures reveals that the text has been transcribed. In order to promote the dissemination of the Scriptures and to facilitate their consultation, the early Christians were pioneered in the use and publication of the codex which replaced the scrolls to leaf through books.  AE43AE44

The oldest known Christian codices now, which have been preserved in the dry climate of Egypt, are papyrus. The wonderful care given to preserving the sacred text and its transmission has confirmed that "the green grass has dried up, the blossom has withered; but as for the word of our God, it will last to time indefinite." - Isaiah 40:8, 1 Peter 1:24.


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