Secrets of Mount Sinai

James Bentley, Author, James Bentley, Author Doubleday Books $17.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-385-23297-5
The excitement of a detective story fills this tale of discoverythe object in question being the ""only known complete copy of the Greek New Testament in uncial (that is, round capital) script,'' the Codex Sinaiticus. Bentley's telling of the manuscript's complicated history reaches a climax with the obsessive pursuit by an indefatigable 19th century German scholar, Constantin Tischendorf, and his ``liberation'' of the treasure from the monks of St. Catherine's Abbey on Mount Sinai, who had held it for centuries. (The 347-page Codex is housed today in the British Museum.) Duplicity and unscrupulousness abound in the fight for possession, but beyond the human frailties is the religious impact of the discovery. The Codex raises questions about the traditional form of the Gospels as accepted by Christendom. Bentley, an Anglican priest, tells the story with a simplicity that makes it as gripping to the general reader as to the scholar. Illustrations. January 24
Reviewed on: 12/02/1985
Release date: 12/01/1985
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