SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION/GIFT OF CHARLES LANG FREER
SNIPPETS AND SCRAPS dominate among the earliest surviving copies of the Christian Bible. The original book form of these artifacts is difficult to determine because they are fragments. Written in Egypt in the fifth to seventh centuries C.E., the two miniature leaves of parchment pictured here contain Psalm 36:2–9 in Coptic. They come from a codex of the Book of Psalms that originally consisted of about 350 leaves. How exactly (if at all) this Psalter was originally bound remains unexplained.