world : Oldest Christian book sells for more than £3m

world : Oldest Christian book sells for more than £3m
world : Oldest Christian book sells for more than £3m

Wednesday 12 June 2024 10:53 PM

Nafeza 2 world - Christianity's oldest religious book, according to auction house Christie's, has been sold for more than £3m.

The Crosby-Schøyen Codex, written in Coptic script on papyrus in Egypt, dates to between 250 to 350AD.

The book, believed to be one of the oldest in existence, was auctioned off for £3,065,000 on Tuesday, Christie's in London told BBC News.

A spokesperson said they could not reveal who bought the book due to client confidentiality.

The liturgical book was produced in one of the first Christian monasteries and contains the complete texts of two Bible books.

Eugenio Donadoni, senior specialist for books and manuscripts at Christie's, told BBC News in April that the text is of "monumental importance as a witness to the earliest spread of Christianity around the Mediterranean".

"The earliest monks in Upper Egypt in the earliest Christian monastery were using this very book to celebrate the earliest Easter celebrations, only a few hundred years after Christ and only a hundred or so years after the last Gospel was written."

The manuscript itself contains texts including the first complete epistle of Peter, the Book of Jonah, and an Easter homily.

The book is part of the Bodmer Papyri, a collection of several texts which were discovered in the 1950s, and include Christian writings, Biblical extracts and pagan literature.

It was bought by the University of Mississippi where it remained until 1981, and was acquired several times before being purchased by Norwegian manuscript collector Dr Martin Schøyen in 1988.

The codex was among several lots to be auctioned from Dr Schøyen's collection.

Another item, an ancient manuscript known as the Codex Sinaiticus Rescriptus, external, sold for £1.25m.

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