Codex Climaci Rescriptus (Uncial 0250)

By: John Climacus

Collection ID





ca. AD 500s (Western Palestinian Aramaic), ca. AD 700s (Greek), and ca. AD 800s–900s (Syriac)


St. Catherine's Monastery, Sinai, (Egypt)


Upper text Syriac; lower text Western Palestinian Aramaic and Greek


Ink on Vellum


137 folios; dimensions of a typical bifolio: 9.06 × 14.56 in. (23 × 37 cm)

Exhibit Location

On View in The History of the Bible, The Written Tradition and Translating the Bible

Monks at the monastery of St. Catherine produced this palimpsest manuscript in the ninth or tenth century. They recycled leaves from at least ten different Greek and Western Palestinian Aramaic manuscripts by erasing the text, and then writing a Syriac translation of John Climacus’s works on the reused vellum. Using multispectral imaging, modern scholars can see and analyze the underlying texts. The original Greek writings are a mixture of classical and biblical texts. All the Western Palestinian Aramaic texts are biblical. The biblical passages in both languages are a mixture of continuous texts and excerpts for lectionaries or use in homilies. To date, some of the classical texts have not yet been identified.

Original (under) texts copied between AD 500s and the 700s. Syriac (over) texts copied at St. Catherine’s Monastery, Sinai, (Egypt) in AD 800s or the 900s. Acquired in Egypt between 1895 and 1906 by Agnes Smith Lewis and her twin sister Margaret Dunlop Gibson; [1] Bequest in 1926 to Westminster College, Cambridge University; Privately purchased in 2010 by the Green Collection, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; [2] Donated in 2012 to Museum of the Bible, Washington, DC.

Notes: [1] Agnes Smith Lewis, "Codex Climaci Rescriptus: Horae Semiticae, No. VIII," Cambridge University Press, 1909; reprinted Wipf and Stock Publishers (Eugene, Oregon: 2004), pp. xi-xii. [2] Roger Pearse, blog post May 29, 2009, ; see also . The manuscript was offered for sale by Sotheby’s in 2009, but failed to sell.

Selected References:

Victor Gysembergh, Peter J. Williams, and Emanuel Zingg, “New Evidence for Hipparchus’ Star Catalogue Revealed by Multispectral Imaging,” Journal for the History of Astronomy 53, no. 4 (November 2022): 383–393,

Steve Green, Jackie Green, and Bill High, “This Dangerous Book” (Harper Collins, 2017).

Agnes Smith Lewis. "Codex Climaci Rescriptus: Horae Semiticae, No. VIII," Cambridge University Press, 1909. (Reprinted by Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2004).

Agnes Smith Lewis. "A Palestinian Syriac Lectionary containing Lessons from the Pentateuch, Job, Proverbs, Prophets, Acts and Epistles." Studia Sinaitica 6. London: C.J. Clay and Sons, Cambridge University Press Warehouse, 1897. Pages cxxxviii-cxxxix. “A Palimpsest Leaf of Palestinian Syriac” contains the description of the first leaf of CCR the sisters acquired. Accessed online at

Ian A. Moir. "Codex Climaci Rescriptus Graecus." (Cambridge University Press, 1956).

Museum of the Bible Publications:

Lawrence H. Schiffman and Jerry Pattengale, eds., “The World’s Greatest Book: The Story of How the Bible Came to Be” (Worthy Books, 2017).

Roland S. Werner, "Unser Buch: Die Geschichte der Bibel von Mose bis zum Mond (Our Book: The Story of the Bible from Moses to the Moon)." (Vandenhoek & Ruprecht GmbH & Co. KG and Museum of the Bible, 2017), 100-101.

Jerry A. Pattengale, ed., “Museum of the Bible Curriculum” (Museum of the Bible and Compedia Software & Hardware Ltd., 2016-2017).

Jennifer Atwood and Stacey Douglas, eds. "Passages: Exploring the Bible in Four Movements. An Exhibition Guide." (Museum of the Bible, 2015), 24, 26.

David Trobisch, Jennifer Atwood, Jonathan Kirkpatrick, and Rory P. Crowley. "Verbum Domini II: God’s Word Goes Out to the Nations." (Museum of the Bible and Abilene Christian University Press, 2012), 28-30.

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