Category Archives: Literature

Codex Sinaiticus online

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.

Bibliotech: Mark Jeffrey speaks with Otis Chandler, Goodreads founder and CEO

My good friend Mark Jeffrey, the CTO of Mahalo and author of The Pocket and the Pendant, is hosting a new online video show about books and technology: Bibliotech.

On the first episode, he speaks with Otis Chandler, the founder and CEO of Goodreads, which is a great social networking site for people who love to read. If you sign up for it, make sure you add me as a friend, so we can compare books. The show is interesting, because they not only talk about books, but they talk about emerging publishing models of ebooks, new technical innovations like the Amazon Kindle, the rise of e-ink readers, book piracy, and how the rise of online media has removed the power once held by the New York Times Book Review to make a book an instant best seller. The first episode of Bibliotech is embedded below:

Mark, you should be a guest on Let’s Talk Lit! and discuss your books and things like the recent announcement that Scribd will be getting Simon & Schuster titles.

Infinite Summer

kindleinfinitejestThis morning, I spotted Kottke’s post about Infinite Summer, which is a book club that aims to read David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest in its entirety (endnotes and all) between June 21st and September 22nd. The book club has a Twitter account that you can follow and a Facebook group that you can join. Neat.

Since I bought a copy of the Kindle edition of Infinite Jest, I’m in, and I’ll probably even talk at length about the book and the process of reading it on my literature podcast, Let’s Talk Lit! (subscribe via iTunes). However, there’s one odd thing that I commented on over on the wall of the Infinite Summer Facebook group. The Kindle edition of Infinite Jest doesn’t have any indication in the text of the copious endnotes. At the end of the book, they are all there and they even link actively back to their locations in the text itself, but there are no hovering superscript endnote numbers as you go through and read. Because of this, I’m somewhat at a loss for how to read it. Do I read it straight through and then read all the endnotes and reread the connecting bits? Do I call the money spent on the Kindle edition a loss and just read the heavy and cumbersome paperback version that is buried in a box in storage somewhere? I’d love thoughts on how to best proceed.