The National Library of Israel (NLI) in Jerusalem is offering footage of rare Christian manuscripts online.
The NLI has announced that some 1,600 Christian manuscripts, as well as dozens of photos and rare film footage, can be viewed by the public online.
"The digital images of these manuscripts are truly priceless, particularly for scholars of Orthodox Greek Christianity. They show us how the collection's manuscripts looked more than fifty years ago and are now safely preserved and long-term," says Dr. Stefan Litt, curator of the National Library of Israel's Humanities Collection.
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The photographed manuscripts come from Saint Catherine’s Monastery, which sits at the foot of Mount Sinai, about 8,200 feet above sea level. According to a Christian tradition, the monastery was built on the very spot where Moses saw the burning bush.
The library inside the monastery is the world's oldest working library, functioning since Byzantine Emperor Justinian I founded the monastery in the sixth century CE.
In the late 1960s, all these manuscripts were finally microfilmed by the Israeli team, according to their news release. After it become clear that the original microfilms were rapidly deteriorating, the collection was urgently digitized recently.
The manuscripts date back to the 12th century onwards in an impressively diverse array of languages including Greek, Arabic, Syriac, Georgian, Armenian and others; a treasure-trove of ancient texts related largely to early Christianity and Church Fathers.
The film was digitized with the help of the Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive and the Jerusalem Cinematheque.