British Library trying to buy ancient Gospel

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LONDON (AP) - The British Library has launched a major fundraising campaign to buy the St. Cuthbert Gospel, a remarkably preserved survivor from seventh-century Britain.

The British branch of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) has agreed to sell the book for 9 million pounds ($14.5 million), and the library already has commitments for 5 million pounds.

The small book, which fits easily in the palm of a hand, still has its elaborately tooled leather cover and the text is complete.

The book comes from the time of St. Cuthbert, who died in 687, and it was discovered inside his coffin at Durham Cathedral when it was reopened in 1104.

The library’s chief executive, Lynne Brindley, said Thursday the book is “an almost miraculous survival” from the Anglo-Saxon period.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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