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Erasure on Quire 86 folio 2 recto
Erasure on Quire 86 folio 2 recto.

History

Codex Sinaiticus is named after the Monastery of Saint Catherine, Mount Sinai, where it was preserved for many centuries. It is generally dated to the middle of the fourth century. Leaves and fragments of this manuscript were taken by Constantine Tischendorf on three occasions – in 1844, in 1853, and in 1859 – so that they might be published. The principal surviving portion of the Codex, comprising 347 leaves, was purchased from the Soviet government in 1933 and is now held by the British Library. A further 43 leaves are held at the University Library in Leipzig. Parts of five leaves are held at the National Library of Russia in St. Petersburg. Twelve leaves and twenty-four fragments remain at Saint Catherine’s Monastery, recovered by the monks from the northern wall of the monastery in June 1975.

On 9 March 2005 a Partnership Agreement was signed between the four institutions listed above for the conservation, photography, transcription, and publication of all surviving pages and fragments of Codex Sinaiticus. Much progress has been made since that time towards the completion of these goals. Among the aims and objectives of the Project was a provision:

To undertake research into the history of the Codex …, to commission an objective historical narrative based on the results of the research which places the documents in their historical context, written by authors agreeable to all four Members, and to publish the outcomes of the research through the project website and other related print publications, such publications to include the full texts of relevant documents (either as transcripts or digital surrogates) wherever the permission of the owners can be secured to publish the documents in this way.

The recent history of Codex Sinaiticus is even now under investigation. The resulting historical narrative will be based on documents that have never been published. Upon its completion, we shall have a clearer understanding than ever before of the recent history of this important manuscript.

The Holy Monastery of Sinai has, after some initial hesitations, joined the other partners in London, Leipzig and St. Petersburg in this Project. All Partners are committed to the principles set out in the above agreement of 9 March 2005 and are looking forward to the scholarly and spiritual benefits of this Project.