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 — 96 mm (3.8 inches) by 136 mm (5.4 inches) — fits easily in the palm of a hand. Its elaborately tooled leather cover, and the text of the Gospel of John in Latin, 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.

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