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Vatican displays Bible that traveled to moon, and oldest Gospel on record

2014-04-05

Between the Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest biblical texts in the world, and this microfilm, which contains the Bible and traveled to the moon on board Apollo 14, there is a 2,000-year span.

Both pieces are intended to show the uniqueness of the Bible. They're part of the "Verbum Domini” exhibit, which includes 150 other precious artifacts.

CARY L. SUMMERS
Museum of the Bible, Oklahoma City (USA)
"The technology that we have today that didn't exist many years ago, we're able to look at the writing underneath writings, For example in this collection, it's called the Climaci Rescriptus, and in that, there is a layer of Syriac writing and you can barely see it. But, with the right lighting, it comes alive and it's the oldest known complete text in Palestinian Aramaic, the language of Jesus.”

The exhibit will be on display next to St. Peter's Square. Among the other treasured pieces, are these papyrus scrolls, the oldest Gospel texts in the whole world.

The entire Bible can be found inside this, the Codice Vaticanus, one of the exhibit's main draws.

Many artifacts come from within the Vatican, but a majority are part of the private collection from the Green Family, a wealthy American family, which owns 44,000 items of a biblical nature.

STEVE GREEN
The Green Collection
"We believe that the book in itself says that it  will live forever. And so, we believe the story is for all the people, of all the times. And so, in that sense, we do believe that it is never-ending, and will have a message for people throughout all the ages.”

Throughout the exhibit's journey, tracking the Bible throughout history, visitors will also find the Bodmer Papyri, which has the oldest known Lord's Prayer in recorded history. 

But there's more than just texts in this exhibit depicting the Word of God. It includes these colorful Ethiopian and Russian icons, or these music sheets from Medieval times, when music became an integral part of worship.

Some time later, Luther parted ways with the Church in Rome and translated the Bible into German. He himself drafted this copy.

At about the same time period, missionaries carried the Gospel around the world. In doing so, the need arose to translate the Bible to different languages like Cherokee, in the United States. Or in Chinese, as this wooden piece, depicting the Ten Commandments, shows.

Other hands, like those from astronaut Edgar Mitchell, took it even further. But definitely in a more compact format, which condensed 1245 pages from the greatest story ever told, into just 1.5 inches.


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