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[[ Read Epub ]] ò The Sisters of Sinai ⚢ A Christian Science Monitor Best Book of the Year A Washington Post Best Book of the Year A Library Journal Best Book of the Year Agnes and Margaret Smith were not your typical Victorian scholars or adventurers Female, middle aged, and without university degrees or formal language training, the twin sisters nevertheless made one of the most important scriptural discoveries of their time the earliest known copy of the Gospels in ancient Syriac, the language that Jesus spoke In an era when most Westerners male or female feared to tread in the Middle East, they slept in tents and endured temperamental camels, unscrupulous dragomen, and suspicious monks to become unsung heroines in the continuing effort to discover the Bible as originally written From the Trade Paperback edition I can t say enough about these two extraordinary women who, not typical Victorian and not college educated because women were denied college entrance in the 1800s , mastered French, German, Italian, Spanish, along with Arabic, Greek, Hebrew and Syriac, traveled by camel, slept in tents, unaccompanied, to the Middle East six times, the first time in 1868, discovering in 1893 at Mount Sinai in Egypt an ancient manuscript of the Four Gospels written in antiquainted Syriac They photographed 400 pi I can t say enough about these two extraordinary women who, not typical Victorian and not college educated because women were denied college entrance in the 1800s , mastered French, German, Italian, Spanish, along with Arabic, Greek, Hebrew and Syriac, traveled by camel, slept in tents, unaccompanied, to the Middle East six times, the first time in 1868, discovering in 1893 at Mount Sinai in Egypt an ancient manuscript of the Four Gospels written in antiquainted Syriac They photographed 400 pictures of the manuscript, helped translate them, found other valuable manuscripts, wrote over 20 books, hob nobbed with scholars, and received honorary doctorates from three universities Both married late in life, Margaret at 40, Agnes at 43, only to have their husbands die after three years Their discovery of the Syriac Gospels is considered one of the most important manuscript finds ever Incredible story with incredible research and deftly written Back when I was an undergraduate I spent two years living in the Colony , the sprawl of buildings owned by Clare College at the foot of Castle Hill The central building of the complex is a late Victorian mansion called Castlebrae, which had the following inscription on a plaque in the front hall This house was originally the home of DR AGNES SMITH LEWIS 1843 1926 and DR MARGARET DUNLOP GIBSON 1843 1920 Inseparable twins, tireless travellers, distinguished Arabic Syriac scholars.Lampada T Back when I was an undergraduate I spent two years living in the Colony , the sprawl of buildings owned by Clare College at the foot of Castle Hill The central building of the complex is a late Victorian mansion called Castlebrae, which had the following inscription on a plaque in the front hall This house was originally the home of DR AGNES SMITH LEWIS 1843 1926 and DR MARGARET DUNLOP GIBSON 1843 1920 Inseparable twins, tireless travellers, distinguished Arabic Syriac scholars.Lampada Tradam Let me hand on the torch I never went much to Castlebrae but was always intrigued by the plaque and hope that some day I would find out the story behind it Thanks to Janet Soskice s book, I now know muchthe Smith sisters, Agnes and Margaret, born in Scotland and fabulously rich, developed a strong interest in the roots of ancient scripture and had the means, motivation and ability to cultivate the monks of St Catherine s monastery in Sinai, where in 1892 they discovered a palimpsest which contained the oldest Syriac text of the Gospels known today Then in 1896 they alerted Jewish scholars to the existence of the Cairo Genizah, which is still being transcribed in Cambridge to this day For these efforts the University of Cambridge gave them no official recognition at all it was not until 1921 that women were even awarded degrees for which they had qualified, and not until 1948 that they were given formal equality with men in the university They also founded Westminster College, which nestles at the corner of Madingley Road Janet Soskice has made it a fascinating story of women infiltrating the intellectual establishment granted, rich women who had no children and no need to actually work in the social and geopolitical context of the day Strongly recommended In one sense, this is a charming tale of two sisters whose passion for truth led them to learn ancient languages, travel through deserts, negotiate academic squabbles, and discover folios previously unknown to modern scholarship On another level, this is a story of how work from the fringes often re orients the center of social and religious life through the work of a faithful few The church should always be in reform so saith Karl Barth , and the heart of reform be it how we read scriptur In one sense, this is a charming tale of two sisters whose passion for truth led them to learn ancient languages, travel through deserts, negotiate academic squabbles, and discover folios previously unknown to modern scholarship On another level, this is a story of how work from the fringes often re orients the center of social and religious life through the work of a faithful few The church should always be in reform so saith Karl Barth , and the heart of reform be it how we read scripture, or understand the mysteries of God is often located at the edges of religious establishment The sisters and their discoveries testify to this This book was a rare surprise for me I don t normally read history or adventure or biblical textual criticsm, but this book contains elements of each This is the TRUE story of twin sisters, Agnes and Margaret, who lived during the second half of the 19th century They were born in Scotland and raised Presbyterian Due to Providence who is an unseen but very real character in the story , they end up inheriting a fortune Women were not permitted to attend university in Victorian England, but t This book was a rare surprise for me I don t normally read history or adventure or biblical textual criticsm, but this book contains elements of each This is the TRUE story of twin sisters, Agnes and Margaret, who lived during the second half of the 19th century They were born in Scotland and raised Presbyterian Due to Providence who is an unseen but very real character in the story , they end up inheriting a fortune Women were not permitted to attend university in Victorian England, but this did not stop the twins They were self taught, especially gifted in languages They also loved to travel.Although each was married for three years before becoming widowed, the twins spent most of their lives together On a journey to St Catherine s monastery on Sinai, Agnes discovered a manuscript of all four gospels in Syriac a form of Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke which pre dated anything known at that time She steamed the pages apart over a camp kettle and photographed them Upon her return to Cambridge, she showed the prints to professors in paleography and linguistics It was the real deal, and soon another trip to Sinai is planned, this time with three Cambridge scholars in tow.The twins had an amazing life hunting down ancient manuscripts in Cairo, Jerusalem and Sinai They learned translation and editing They wrote volumes of books and gave lectures All along, they take note of a Greater Providence at work in their lives Sometimes the twins Presbyterianism bumped up against the Greek monks sacramentalism Here too, the twins grew in their understanding of other branches of Christendom The author keeps the story moving She does not get bogged down in detail, yet you can tell the book was meticulously researched