10 of the Oldest Known Surviving Books in the World
We take a look at ten of the oldest known surviving books in the world today, including what may be the earliest known siddur, a Jewish prayer book. Writing and literature are thought to have first developed between the 7th and 4th millennia BC.
The Madrid Codex, written in Yucatecan, a group of Mayan languages that includes Yukatec, Lacandon, and Mopan, was discovered in Spain in the 1860s and is one of the only surviving books attributable to the pre-Columbian Maya culture.
The Gutenberg Bible, also known as the 42-line Bible, was printed in 1454-1455 AD and is the oldest known printed book in the West using movable type. There are 48 known original copies, 21 of which are complete.
The Celtic Psalter, also known as Scotland’s Book of Kells, is a pocket-sized book of Psalms housed at the University of Edinburgh and is Scotland’s oldest surviving book. It is thought to have been written in the 11th century AD.
The Diamond Su016btra is a Buddhist holy text that is thought to be the world’s oldest surviving dated printed book. It was discovered in a walled up cave in China with other printed materials and is made up of Chinese characters printed on a scroll of grey printed paper.
Book of Kells
The Book of Kells is an incredibly ornate illuminated manuscript Gospel book written in Latin that contains the four Gospels of the New Testament and dates back to the early Christian era. It is thought to have been created by Celtic monks around 800 AD.
St Cuthbert Gospel
The British Library has digitized Europe’s oldest known intact book, the St Cuthbert Gospel, which is thought to be around 700 years old.
Nag Hammadi Library
A local man discovered some of the world’s oldest surviving bound books in Nag Hammadi, Upper Egypt. Written in the Coptic language, the codices are thought to have been copied from Greek and date from around the first half of the fourth century AD.
Pyrgi Gold Tablets
Three Bronze Age gold plates, two of which are written in Etruscan and one in Phoenician, have been discovered in Pyrgi, Italy.
Etruscan Gold Book
The Etruscan Gold Book, made of 6 sheets of 24 carat gold bound together with rings, was discovered 70 years ago and donated to Bulgaria’s National History Museum in Sofia by an anonymous 87-year-old donor.
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What is the oldest known book in history?
The Diamond Stra, a Buddhist holy text, is thought to be the world’s oldest surviving dated printed book.
Is the Bible the oldest known book?
Some people believe that the Bible was written soon after the world was created, making it the oldest book. However, biblical scholars know that the books that make up the Bible were written over many centuries, and that many of the stories in it were written centuries after the events they recorded occurred.
What is the oldest text known to man?
Cuneiform is an ancient writing system that dates back to around 3400 BC and is distinguished by its wedge-shaped marks on clay tablets. It is the world’s oldest form of writing, predating even Egyptian hieroglyphics.
What books are older than the Bible?
Ten of the world’s oldest religious texts are listed below.
- Written: Circa 2600 BC.
- Pyramid Texts. Written: Circa 2400u20132300 BC.
- The Coffin Texts. Written: Circa 2100 BC.
- The Epic of Gilgamesh. Written: Circa 2100 BC.
- The Rigveda. Written: Circa 1700 BC.
- The Book of the Dead.
What was written 1000 years ago?
The Tale of Genji, a Japanese epic written 1,000 years ago, is often referred to as the world’s first novel.
Which is the first Bible written?
The Codex Sinaiticus, which was u201cdiscoveredu201d at the St Catherine monastery at the base of Mt Sinai in Egypt in the 1840s and 1850s, is the oldest surviving full text of the New Testament. It dates from circa 325-360 CE and is unknown where it was scribed u2013 perhaps Rome or Egypt.
What was the first language?
The Sumerian language, a language isolate and the world’s oldest written language, was first recorded in southern Mesopotamia around 3100 BCE and flourished during the 3rd millennium BCE.
Which is oldest text?
a collection of ancient texts
- 2600 Sumerian texts from Abu Salabikh, including the Shuruppak Instructions and the Kesh temple hymn.
- 2600 Egyptian The Life of Metjen from Saqqara.
- 2500 Egyptian Diary of Merer (Oldest papyrus)
- 2400 Egyptian Pyramid Texts, including the Cannibal Hymn.
- 2400 Sumerian Code of Urukagina.
How old is the oldest book in the world?
The Diamond Sutra, a Buddhist religious text that dates back to 868 AD but was only discovered in 1907 after being hidden for nearly 1,000 years.
Which language is oldest in the world?
Seven of the world’s oldest languages are still spoken today.
- Sanskrit: Origin (according to first appearance as script) – 2000 BC.
- Greek: Origin (according to first appearance as script) – 1500 BC.
- Chinese: Origin (according to first appearance as script) – 1250 BC.