Bidzina Ivanishvili purchases John Zosimos’s unique manuscript from Schøyen collection to donate it to Georgian National Museum

11-06-2024 19:01:42 Society

Bidzina Ivanishvili, the founder and the Honorary Chair of the ruling Georgian Dream party, on Tuesday purchased a unique manuscript (5th-7th century) of the Georgian famed calligrapher, author, translator and bookbinder-monk John Zosimos.

The unique manuscript will be donated to the National Museum.

The manuscript contains the earliest textual witnesses of the Gospels in the nearest dialect of Aramaic to that spoken by Jesus, composed within a living tradition based in the Holy Land.

The palimpsest is overwritten with Georgian text written by John Zosimos, and survives here in his 10th-century binding from St Catherine’s Monastery in Sinai, the earliest known signed, dated and localisable binding.

In the summer of 1955 in Florence, a 15-year-old Martin Schøyen acquired his first antiquarian book. From its binding emerged a fragment of a French manuscript of Sermons written c.1300.

By the end of the 1980s Martin Schøyen had become well known to auction houses, academics and dealers. It should not have been possible to build a collection of such scope and quality in the second half of the 20th century, but Martin Schøyen succeeded against all odds.

The sale spans 1,300 years of cultural history and includes world heritage manuscripts such as the Crosby-Schøyen Codex, the Holkham Hebrew Bible, the Codex Sinaiticus Rescriptus and the Geraardsbergen Bible, but also Greek literature, humanist masterpieces, early English law, a historically important Scottish chronicle, and the earliest known book-binding.


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