The British Library recently digitized the New Testament of the Codex Alexandrinus, the oldest complete Bible in existence. Because the modern binding was too stiff to allow the pages to be safely opened enough for photography, the book first had to be disassembled and rebound. I can’t imagine what it must be like to work on a book made in the 5th century. Whether or not you believe in its contents, the sheer antiquity of it is thrilling. Not only it is an old object, it comes out of the tradition that made the book the dominant technology for transmitting knowledge nearly 2000 years ago and which we still use today. Long live the book!
If you’d like to know more about the history of the Bible as a book (and by extension, all books), I highly recommend Christopher de Hamel’s “The Book.”