Nash Papyrus, Newton’s notebooks, Kalpasutra go on-line

Nash Papyrus at Cambridge

Nash Papyrus at Cambridge

(Reuters)A copy of The Ten Commandments dating back two millennia and the earliest written Gaelic are just two of a number of incredibly rare manuscripts now freely available online to the world as part of a Cambridge University digital project.

The Nash Papyrus — one of the oldest known manuscripts containing text from the Hebrew Bible — has become one of the latest treasures of humanity to join Isaac Newton’s notebooks, the Nuremberg Chronicle and other rare texts as part of the Cambridge Digital Library, the university said on Wednesday.

“Cambridge University Library preserves works of great importance to faith traditions and communities around the world,” University Librarian Anne Jarvis said in a statement.

“Because of their age and delicacy these manuscripts are seldom able to be viewed – and when they are displayed, we can only show one or two pages.”

The university’s digital library is making 25,000 new images, including an ancient copy of the New Testament, available on its website (, which has already attracted tens of millions of hits since the project was launched in December 2011.

The latest release also includes important texts from Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism.

In addition to religious texts, internet users can also view the 10th century Book of Deer, which is widely believed to be the oldest surviving Scottish manuscript and contains the earliest known examples of written Gaelic.

Treasures of the Library

Nash Papyrus

The Nash Papyrus is a second-century BCE fragment containing the text of the Ten Commandments followed by the Šemaʿ. Prior to the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls it was the oldest known manuscript containing a text from the Hebrew Bible.


Traditionally attributed to Bhadrabāhu, the Kalpasūtra is a major canonical text of the Śvetāmbara Jains, composed in ArdhamāgadhīPrakrit, in a mixture of prose and verse, and containing the life-stories of the twenty-four Jinas, in particular Neminātha, Pārśvanātha and Mahāvīra.


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