The Written World

BBC Radio 4 has produced an excellent series on the history of writing, based on the fantastic collections in the British Museum and the British Library. The five thirty-minute programs discuss a range of topics, from the invention of literacy to the relationship between books and the Enlightenment. All are worth downloading and listening to. The program website is available here; the episodes can be played through your browser or downloaded. Note that these are only available for one week, the first episode will be taken off on 9 Jan.

The podcasts are also available in iTunes, where you can download them and save them for later.

The two segments most relevant to the history of the Bible are sessions 3 and 4:

Session 3 includes a discussion of the oldest completely intact book (covers, binding, etc)  in the world — a seventh century copy of the Gospel according to John as well as the background of the Gutenberg Bible

Session 4 discusses the Codex Sinaiticus, one of the most significant manuscripts of the Bible. It also covers Mohammed and the origins of the Koran and, at the end, a discussion of devotional books from the Middle Ages.

Happy listening!

BTW, the British Library has been raising funds to purchase the Cuthbert St. John. Here is a youtube clip that shows off this amazing book (sorry, I can’t get the video to embed).

 

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