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Codex Climaci Rescriptus

Codex Climaci Rescriptus is an important and complex manuscript containing much biblical text and many mysteries. It is a palimpsest, which is the word used to describe a manuscript in which the first layer of writing has been rubbed off and a second layer of writing has been added. This means that the top layer is easy to read and the layers underneath are often very difficult to read.

The top writing of this 137 leaf manuscript is in Syriac and contains two works by John Climacus, a sixth-century head of St Catharine's Monastery in Sinai. To write this, a scribe from around the ninth century used parts of manuscripts from eight previous manuscripts, which are now known as CCR1-8. Two of these contain Greek text, some of which has previously proven too difficult to read. The Greek covers parts of the Old Testament and Gospels, and for the latter contains a form of text containing mysterious omissions.

The other six previous manuscripts contain the world's largest corpus of Christian Palestinian Aramaic, a dialect of Aramaic close to the language Jesus would have used. Amongst these much of the text contains the Gospels.

Formerly housed at Westminster College, Cambridge, the codex is now part of the Green Collection which has been described as ‘the world’s newest and largest private collection of rare biblical texts and artifacts’ and contains numerous unpublished cuneiform, classical, and biblical texts, one of the most important being the Codex Climaci Rescriptus.

Tyndale House is now joining with the Green Scholar’s Initiative to describe and publish this extraordinarily complex and intriguing manuscript.

 

The results of multispectral imaging, used to visualise each layer of text.

 

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Honorary Senior
Research Associate

Dr Jerry Pattengale

Executive Director of the Green Scholars Initiative