- (Photo: http://cudl.lib.cam.ac.uk)
The Cambridge University Library in the U.K. has released a copy of the Ten Commandments dating back two millennia in what is one of the oldest known manuscripts from the Old Testament.
"Cambridge University Library preserves works of great importance to faith traditions and communities around the world," University Librarian Anne Jarvis said in a statement.
"Because of their age and delicacy these manuscripts are seldom able to be viewed – and when they are displayed, we can only show one or two pages. Now, through the generosity of the Polonsky Foundation, anyone with a connection to the Internet can select a work of interest, turn to any page of the manuscript, and explore it in extraordinary detail," Jarvis added.
"I am delighted to see such important materials being made freely available to the world, and I look forward to the many other exciting collections the Library is preparing," said Dr Leonard Polonsky of the Polonsky Foundation that gifted the sophisticated technical infrastructure used by the library to create the digital copies.
The Nash Papyrus will be available for viewing online as part of a Cambridge University digital project, and joins Isaac Newton's notebooks and the Nuremberg Chronicle as rare texts found only in the collection of the university's library, Reuters reported.
The papyrus, which contains the Ten Commandments given to Moses by God as described in Exodus, was the oldest known Hebrew manuscript before the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947.
Cambridge University Library is making over 25,000 new images of ancient copies of other texts, such as the New Testament, which have been viewed by tens of millions of people when the online project was launched in Dec. 2011.
"Now... anyone with a connection to the Internet can select a work of interest, turn to any page of the manuscript, and explore it in extraordinary detail," Jarvis added, noting that the library offers not only Christian and Jewish artifacts for viewing, but also important texts from Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism.
The Daily Mail added that other important texts include the 10th century Book of Deer, a Latin Gospel book believed to be the oldest surviving Scottish manuscript which contains the earliest known examples of written Gaelic, one of the oldest languages on the British isles.