Sunday, May 27, 2007

Celebration of speech technology

Today it is a free day in the Western World as the Christian feast of Pentecost is celebrated. It basically is the celebration of speech technology, as Jesus’ disciples started to speak in different tongues. It can not be a coincidence that the court case against the speech technology company Lernout & Hauspie Speech Products (LHSP) in the catholic country of Belgium started in the week before Pentecost.

But to celebrate this holiday I picked up the announcement that the oldest bible in the world, the Codex Sinaiticus, will be put on internet integrally by 2009.

This manuscript has a long history. Parts of this 402 pages bible were found in Egypt in the 19th century by the German scientist Konstantin von Tischendorf. The manuscript has been produced on parchment by the monks of the Saint Catherine monastery in the Sinai between 330 and 350. The pages are now spread over museums. Only 12 pages are still in the Saint Catherine monastery in the Sinai. 43 of the pages are located in Leipzig. The Russian National Library in Saint Petersburg has only 5 pages left of the 347 it possessed in the 19th century; the communist leader Jozef Stalin sold 342 pages to the British Library (at least he did not destroy the manuscript).

The project is an initiative of the British Library, after that the monks of the monastery requested the return of the other pages. The monks have now agreed that all the pages will be digitised and published on internet. The project must be finished by 2009.

Update 24 July 2008: Pages from the Codex Sinaiticus will be available on the web. The pages are the first batch of the reproduction project. Next year the project will be completed.

Blog Posting Number 766

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