I, as many of you know, am a recovering academic. One of the things that I’ve always loved studying is the Bible, Biblical Literature, and Koine period Greek. I’ve even written my own translation of the Gospels.
The oldest existing text of the Bible, the Codex Sinaiticus, is now available for perusal online. I’ve seen the original before, but incased in a big block of don’t look too closely glass at the British Museum. It’s not as easy to read as my Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament or my copy of the Septuagint, as both these modern editions feature actual spaces between words, punctuation, and diacritical marks. The Codex Sinaiticus is written in all capital Greek letters with no spaces between words and no punctuation, so even if you’re nicely versed in ancient Greek, you have to do some basic deciphering TOGETPASTEVERYTHINGLOOKINGLIKETHIS. See my point?
I love that this is available, and all I want now is an iPhone app edition of the Codex Sinaiticus, so that I can zoom in and out and poor over the text while on the go. ;-)
Also, if you’re at all interested in how you get from this text to our modern day Bibles, I highly recommend that you pick up and read Bruce Metzger’s The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration (4th Edition). There are whole sections of the book that will only interest philologists, but there are very interesting bits as well. My favorite is the discussion of life in a scriptorium and Irish scribes writing “Man, it’s freezing in here!” in Gaelic in the margins of the Greek texts they were writing down as a priest stood at the front of the room and read it aloud for them to copy.