Anciet Biblical Manuscript To Be Auctioned Off

Forbes reports that Sotheby’s is offering a 1,500-year-old biblical document that includes layers of text and meaning–in three languages.

Known as the Codex Climaci Rescriptus, the piece was written over the span of three centuries and stowed in a sacred monastery until landing in the hands of a pair of British twins by way of local Egyptian dealers. The codex (Latin for “book”) dates to the sixth century, when Christian Palestinian scribes wrote down the words of Christ in Aramaic, the ancient language that is believed to have been close to the dialect spoken by the messiah himself.

It includes the despairing plea Jesus was said to have uttered on the cross: “Eli Eli, lema sabachthani [My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?]”

The 137 leaves on auction is vellum made of sheepskin. Sotheby’s medieval manuscript specialist Timothy Bolton says that these leaves feel like stiff leather. He further said that nothing like the Codex Climaci has ever come on the market and it’s an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

The ancient manuscript could sell for close to $1 million, according to Sotheby’s estimate.

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