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One Of The Oldest Books, Discovered From Egypt, To Be Auctioned For $2.6 Million

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One of the earliest books ever discovered, a book from Egypt, written during the early years of Christianity, will be auctioned off in June in London.

According to Christie’s, the Crosby-Schoyen Codex, which was created at one of the oldest Christian monasteries and was written in Coptic on papyrus between 250 and 350 AD, is expected to fetch between $2.6 and $3.8 million at auction.

According to Eugenio Donadoni, Senior Specialist for Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts at Christie’s, “it’s right at that period, that transitional period, when papyrus scroll starts turning into codex form. So, books as we know them today. And what we have in this book is the earliest known texts of two books of the Bible.”

The 104 pages (52 leaves) that are protected beneath plexiglass, were penned over the course of 40 years at an upper Egyptian monastery by a single scribe. The Book of Jonah and the first epistle of Peter are included in the codex.

Donadoni noted that only a small number of books from the third and fourth century have survived to the present day, attributing its preservation to Egypt’s arid climate. “All the major finds of Christian manuscripts that we had in the 20th century and at the end of the 19th century are all concentrated in Egypt for those very precise climactic conditions,” he said.

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