Uncovering the text

Codex Zacynthius
6th or 7th century

This manuscript originally contained the earliest known New Testament text to be accompanied by a Greek commentary (the ‘under-text’). In the twelfth or thirteenth century the ink of this text was scraped off and the sheets written over with another Gospel text. The earlier text was only discovered in the nineteenth century, and modern imaging techniques are making it possible to read even the most thoroughly scraped off sections. The exhibition traces many lines of religious thought and discovery from the major world faiths to understand how religious ideas are expressed, from the humble pocket prayer-book to the most extravagantly decorated volumes intended as gifts.