Books have always played a major role in our lives giving us knowledge about many things thus shaping up our characters. Literature is thought to have been developed as soon as writing become a thing but the fact is we are not sure. So, here are few of the well-known, surviving oldest books in the world:
1. THE GUTENBERG BIBLE
Estimated Age: 561 years old
The Gutenberg Bible, also known as the Forty Two Line Bible is one of the oldest books in the world. It was created by Johann Gutenberg; inventor of modern day printing press in Mainz, Germany around 1455. He printed 180 bibles, out of which 49 exist and 21 of those are incomplete.
2. CELTIC PSALTER
Estimated Age: 938 years old
The Psalter is described as Scotland’s version of the famous Book of Kells in Dublin. The origin of the book is a mystery but experts believe it was probably produced monks in Iona. This pocket sized book, housed at the University of Edinburgh, is one of the oldest books in the world. It went on public display in 2009.
3. DIAMOND SUTRA
Estimated age: 1,145 years old; Printed date: May 11, 868 AD
The list of oldest surviving books in the world is incomplete without the Diamond Sutra. The Buddhist Sutra is one of the most influential Buddhist sutras in East Asia. Moreover, it is a key object of devotion and study in Zen Buddhism. This book is considered to be the oldest surviving dated printed book in the world. Among the manuscripts found in the cave of Dunhuang; a copy of Chinese version of the text was also found. It was printed from wooden blocks onto a scroll over 5 metres (16.4 ft.) long.
4. SIDDUR, JEWISH PRAYER BOOK
Estimated Age: 1,173 years old
This prayer book is written in Hebrew, contains about 50 pages and is still in its original binding. Scholars working for the Green Collections – world’s largest collection of rare biblical artifacts discovered it in the year 2013. Thus, Siddur is ultimately a part of Green Collection Museum of the Bible in Washington D.C.
5. THE BOOK OF KELLS
Estimated Age: 1,123 years old
The Book of Kells a fantastic, Ireland’s one of the greatest treasures is one of the oldest books in the world. The book mainly contains four gospels; created by Celtic monks around 800 AD. Three different scribes and four artists have been identified in creating the book. Since 1953, it is bound in four volume; two if them are on display at Trinity College in Dublin. One volume shows an illumination and the other volume shows the script.
6. ST. CUTHBERT GOSPEL
Estimated Age: 1,315 years old
The St. Cuthbert Gospel, the oldest European intact book is one of the oldest books in the world. It is thought to have been produced in the late 7th or early 8th century. The book contains gospel of John – an early British Leader. In 1104 AD, gospel was again rediscovered . Further, in year 2012 the British Library raised £9 million to buy the gospel. It is now in the Treasures Gallery at the British Library, London.
7. THE LEIDEN HERBARIA
Estimated Age: 1,416 years old
A copy of the Pseudo-Apuleius herbarium from around 600 AD; oldest known Latin manuscript with botanical drawings. It currently is in the Leiden University Library, Germany. The herbaria, a guide to plants and their medicinal uses; originally written in Latin. The earliest known edition of this text is the copy in Leiden. Further, it was produced in Southern France.
8. NAG HAMMADI LIBRARY
Estimated age: 1,693 years old
Discovered buried in a jar, by an Egyptian farmer near the town of Nag Hammadi in 1945, this book is one of the oldest books in the world. The Nag Hammadi Library is a collection of 13 leather-bound papyrus codices written in Coptic Egyptian. The texts enclosed are mostly early-Christian religious writings, such as non-canonical Gnostic texts and, most notably, the Gospel of Thomas. The Nag Hammadi codices are currently in the Coptic Museum in Cairo, Egypt.
9. PYRGI GOLD TABLETS
Estimated Age: 2,513 years old
Found during an excavation of a sanctuary in ancient Pyrgi, Italy in 1964. They contain holes around the edges which further led the scholars to think that they were once bound together. Two tablets are inscribed in the Etruscan language and the third in Phoenician. They record a dedication by Thefarie Velianas, king of Caere, to the phoenician goddess Astarte. Displayed at the National Etruscan Museum in Rome, Italy, these inscriptions are considered to be one of the oldest books in the world.
10. ETRUSCAN GOLD BOOK
Estimated Age: 2,673 years old
It is the oldest multi-page book in the world and was discovered 70 years ago in a tomb along the Strouma River in Bulgaria. The book contains six gold pages held together with golden rings. Written in Etruscan characters it further depicts a horse, horseman, a Siren, a lyre, and soldiers. The book is displayed now in Bulgaria’s National History Museum in Sofia and it is one of the oldest books in the world that still exists.
So, these are the oldest books in the world that have survived for centuries and preserved by mankind!
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