New Bible document launched at British Library

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Representatives from a number of Christian churches joined Catholics at the British Library on Friday for the launch of The Gift of Scripture, the new teaching document by the English & Welsh bishops and Scottish bishops.

The event at the British Library marked the 40th anniversary of the publication of Dei Verbum, Vatican II’s document on revelation.

Sponsored by Bible Society, the audience included representatives from a number of Christian communities, including Anglican, Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Salvation Army and the Armenian Apostolic Church.

Introducing the event, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor said The Gift of Scripture should be seen in conjunction with One Bread, One Body, the 1998 document on the Eucharist published by the Bishops of Britain and Ireland.

Bible Society chief executive James Catford told the audience that if the Bible was going to make an impact in society, then it needed to be made relevant to the four key change drivers in culture: politics, arts, media and communication.

In his lecture Father Wansbrough, general editor of the New Jerusalem Bible, said the Bible should not be treated “as a mechanical search- engine for answers to contemporary moral and religious questions”.

But read within the tradition of the Church, he went on, the Bible can provide guidance on countless contemporary issues, such as the rights and responsibilities of individuals, the value of human life from conception to death, the need to protect the created world and the search for peace and justice.

Scot McKendrick, curator of earlier and medieval manuscripts, gave an illustrated talk about some of the biblical treasures at the Library. He also spoke about the Codex Sinaiticus, said to be the world’s oldest Bible, part of which is on display in the Library.

The Library is currently working with St Catherine’s Monastery, Sinai, The Library of Russia, and the University of Leipzig to make this third century document accessible to the general public through modern technology.

The full text of Fr Henry Wansbrough’s address is available on the website.

For more Information and photographs of the event contact Greg Watts on 020 7901-4804 or