Sinai Palimpsests Project

Sinai Palimpsests Project image

Last updated: 8/1/18

The Sinai Palimpsests Project is a collaboration of St. Catherine’s Monastery of the Sinai and the Early Manuscripts Electronic Library, generously funded by Arcadia over a five-year period. Its primary goals are to make erased ancient texts in St. Catherine’s palimpsests legible using spectral imaging; identify the erased texts and describe their paleography; and publish an online digital library of Sinai palimpsests featuring high-quality digital images that are searchable through an electronic catalog.

Built between 548 and 565 CE, St. Catherine’s Monastery is the world’s oldest continually operating monastery, and its library holds an exceptional collection of manuscripts from the first millennium CE. Among these are more than 160 known palimpsests, the erased layers of which preserve unstudied texts from as early as the 4th century.

An international team of 23 world-renowned scholars, led by Claudia Rapp, are working with the project to identify and describe the undertexts of Sinai palimpsests, after they are rendered legible via spectral imaging.

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