Ancient Christian Manuscript Poised to Break Auction Records

A rare and ancient Christian manuscript, the Crosby-Schoyen Codex, is expected to fetch up to £3 million at an upcoming auction.

This remarkable manuscript is part of the Bodmer Papyri, a collection unearthed in the 1950s that includes Christian writings, Biblical excerpts, and pagan literature.

Eugenio Donadoni, a senior specialist at Christie’s auction house, shared insights with BBC News, noting that while dating ancient texts can be imprecise, the Crosby-Schoyen Codex could be one of the earliest known Christian books.

“It’s a cornerstone of early faith and a witness to the earliest spread of Christianity around the Mediterranean,” Donadoni said. He emphasized its significance by calling it one of the three significant discoveries of the 20th century that revolutionized the study of Christianity.

The Codex, containing essential texts from early Christian history, owes its preservation to the dry climate of Egypt, where it lay hidden for around 1,500 years.

The manuscript is part of Dr. Martin Schoyen’s private collection, which includes over 20,000 texts, 400 related to the Bible. This collection is a significant repository of religious heritage.

Dr. Schoyen has decided to auction 61 manuscripts from his collection at Christie’s in London.

Initially acquired by the University of Mississippi, the Codex changed hands several times before Dr. Schoyen, a Norwegian manuscript collector, obtained it in 1988, making it the oldest known book in private hands.

The auction is set for 11th June, promising to be a landmark event for collectors and historians alike.

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