NewsOn6.com

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. has purchased one of the earliest known near-complete Bibles in the world, the Oklahoma company announced Monday.

The so-called Codex Climaci Rescriptus includes the only surviving New Testament texts in Jesus' household language, Palestinian Aramaic. The company made the acquisition from Westminster College at Cambridge University for an undisclosed amount.

Hobby Lobby is collecting a vast array of ancient antiquities, biblical papyri, Hebrew scrolls and Judaica, important medieval manuscripts and a comprehensive assortment of Bibles and rare books.

"We are committed to preserving the history of our faith and excited about the opportunity to share our collection with others through the development of the National Bible Museum," said Steve Green, president of Hobby Lobby.

Currently, leaders of Hobby Lobby and the National Bible Museum are evaluating sites for the museum.

"Our goal is to acquire a site in a major metropolitan area that will allow visitors from around the world to enjoy the collections housed in the museum and participate in special educational programs," Green said.

"We are looking for at least 300,000 square feet of space and ample parking and have been evaluating various opportunities, including several in the Dallas area."

Hobby Lobby also recently purchased the earliest known scripture in English, dated 1341, Richard Rolle's translation and commentary on the Book of Psalms, which predates Wycliffe's translation by nearly half a century.

Hobby Lobby is affiliated with Mardel Christian Bookstore.