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Thread: research on the Falconer Madan account of Simonides markings

  1. Default research on the Falconer Madan account of Simonides markings

    The writer has a fine reputation, and he was close to the times and would have spoken to principals from the controversy times. As an aside, the trimming of the ms. by Tischendorf was not well known.

    There could be support material in the English archive spots.


    Falconer Madan (1851-1935)
    Bodleian librarian

    Books in Manuscript (1893)
    Falconer Madan

    After this Simonides appeared only once with any prominence before the public, when in 1861 he boldly asserted that he himself had written the whole of the Codex Sinaiticus, which Tischendorf had brought in 1856 from the Monastery of St. Catherine on Mount Sinai. The statement was, of course, received with the utmost incredulity ; but Simonides asserted, not only that he had written it, but that, in view of the probable scepticism of scholars, he had placed certain private signs on particular leaves of the codex. When pressed to specify these marks, he gave a list of the leaves on which were to be found his initials or other monogram. The test was a fair one, and the MS., which was at St. Petersburg, was carefully inspected. Every leaf designated by Simonides was found to be imperfect at the part where the mark was to have been found. Deliberate mutilation by an enemy, said his friends. But many thought that the wily Greek had acquired through private friends a note of some imperfect leaves in the MS., and had made unscrupulous use of the information.
    Thanks to my BDVD fan club and support team for noting the principal error above. Always remember, the principal is our pal!

  2. Default

    brandpluckt on the BVDB Anti-Avery forum:
    (when it is not Bill Brown, somtimes the questions are at least sensible)

    Falconer Madan
    But many thought that the wily Greek had acquired through private friends a note of some imperfect leaves in the MS., and had made unscrupulous use of the information." [Emphasis mine]”

    “Avery ignored this part of the quotation. When one reads Elliott's book, one discovers that this was Simonides M.O. This one sentence undermines his whole point. He also quotes this author as if he was favorable to Avery's position. I would also like to know if Madan saw the MS portion in St. Petersburg? If he didn't see it, then it is hearsay. If he did see it, he did not complain about the different colors of the sections of the MS.”
    (on iPad .. plan to spiff up shortly)


    First, access in both locales has been quite restrictive. I’ve never heard of Falconer Madan seeing either the Leipzig or Saint Petersburg sections. In fact, there would be few other than Tischendorf and Kirsopp Lake who are known to have seen both sections, until the 2009 Codex Sinaiticus Project. (And that would be technicians like the cameramen, and library employees who would understand that raising authenticity issues might not be appreciated by their employers.)

    Seeing just Leipzig or just St. Pete would not show the colour tampering evidence, which is dependent on seeing both sections.

    Afawk, even the Russian scientist Morozov only saw the St. Petersburg section when he said the ms. could not be very old.

    Second, the “wily Greek” conjecture presumes quite a bit. Simonides having great contacts in St. Petersburg, quiet and effective communications, their having access to the ms, and nobody spilling the beans.

    The accusation of “hearsay” is funny. Falconer Madan, as the Bodleian Librarian, clearly would have good written and personal contact sources (e.g. over a decade later, Hodgkin was a source for Farrer.) And Madan was clearly simply sharing from his sources. It would be excellent to check more Brit and Russian sources, since there is, so far, little corroboration from the 1860s of these exact events.

    It is notable that this was missed by James Keith Elliott, and the modern Sinaiticus scholars.

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