In my last post I began to relate an anecdote about a traveling adventure I had several years ago, when giving lectures for a UNC trip to Egypt and Jordan with a stop at the famed St. Catherine’s monastery in the southern part of the Sinai peninsula, the place where Tischendorf had discovered the biblical manuscript Codex Sinaiticus in the mid 19th century, and where a fire at the monastery in the 1970s had uncovered a hidden room found to contain manuscripts, including the pages from the Old Testament of the Codex Sinaiticus that Tischendorf had not come away with from the monastery when he took the bulk of the manuscript with him back to Russian. (Now THAT’S a long sentence!)
For me, one of the highlights of this trip was to be a visit to the monastery, a place that I had wanted to see for years. It is located in a completely barren location in the wilderness and is the one and only thing to see in the entire region. It’s not the kind of place that you can take in while seeing other regional sites. There aren’t any regional sites. And so we had one day set aside to see the monastery while heading up north on a cruise on the Gulf of Aqaba, traveling toward Jordan where we were scheduled to go to Petra.
And then something really disappointing happened.