Jacob W. Peterons - "physical condition should play little part in dating a manuscript."

[textualcriticism] Sinaiticus studies - emphasis on the physical condition
Jacob W. Peterson

Jacob W. Peterson tries harder than anyone to defend the wild and woolly "physical condition" problems of the two main sections of Sinaiticus. (At least he tries, compared to the nonsense and diversion from James Snapp, Thomas Wasserman, and others.)

Here is a recent July, 2018 example, working with his attempts:

Jacob W. Peterson struggles with the Sinaiticus colour disparity - 1844 Leipzig and 1859 British Library

Jacob claims that the Leipzig pictures are really not reliable indicators. At times he says that they really are pretty close to the British Library, and the problem is only photography.

On the other hand, he also said that this would only effect a part of the difference:

I'm not saying the (Leipzig) page will suddenly turn brown. I'm saying it will lose it's grey hue and look like actual parchment. It will be more yellow, but yes it will still be lighter than the other leaves. It just shouldn't look like a dead body.
Jacob is constantly fudging the issues, and earlier he wrote:

For anyone who knows anything about color science and digital photography, the differences between the pictures are fairly easily explainable. Admittedly, there are differences between the locations, but they aren't nearly as drastic as the images make them out to be.
So he is taken 2, or 3, distinct positions. The next was an email.

The colour chart definitively settles that the image is not correct and this is not a debatable point; the proof is in the colour chart, the cooling of the image tone, and the disparate appearance of the background material used across locations. This doesn’t mean CSP is a failure. It just means that the Leipzig team made a single mistake once that affected their entire shoot.
Jacob always seems to struggle with simple logic. The fact that there is some variance, that the Leipzig and British Library colours are slightly different, is understood by everybody. However, if the degree of difference by photography is only a small part of their variation (Leipzig and British Library), which is clearly the case, then the pictures are very usable and even excellent nonetheless, despite the imperfection in the methedology in the 2009 pics.

The problem is photography, that will "explain"
"Fixing" the photography, with his convoluted attempts, will still leave very substantive differences.
And Jacob will simply not go into details like the British staining and streaking.

His convoluted attempt to "explain" was a total disaster, his methodology was totally flawed, which can be seen in the 1-2-3-4 in this post, which demonstrates the major factors that Jacob totally overlooked or hid in his attempt to claim the two libraries are really actually close in colour (a position he dances in and out of) if you ignore the pictures and use the method based on the visual numbers followed by the computer generated colour patch.:

Steven Avery .

Elijah, the SART team (AND the British Library acknoweledges the difference) believe the CSP photography is far more accurate to reality than the side-by-side pics from Jacob that goes through the following sieve:

1) code given on pages based on visuals,
2) codes only having a small number of discrete points
3) one number for a page, a single page can vary widely
4) then go through a computer generated colour patch.

two posts deleted by James Snapp - Jacob's flawed methodology

And in response he did multiple back-tracks, and he skipped over the critical issues, like the limited discrete points, and the variations within the Brit pages. He did acknowledge that the colour generators vary, but he even made that discussion into logical gibberish, confusing correction quantity with direction.

The idea Jacob normally states (the above was a more honest moment) that photography is the issue, not a real difference, is, of course, total nonsense. Even the British Library accepts the difference. (Similarly, Jacob will not even mention the stains and streaks difference. Sinaiticus 4th century defenders want to pick and choose one or two minor areas, rather than having an intelligent discussion that works on the full evidences.)

Even in his weak colour arguments, Jacob concedes that Leipzig will be significantly lighter than the British Library pages, after whatever tweaking he tries. Jacob is only claiming that they will look a little less of a gray hue than they do in the pictures. That may well be true, but it is obviously quite irrelevant to the basic issues.

Leipzig 1844 is off-white, without stains and streaks

British Library 1859 is yellowed, very stained and streaky

Nothing that Peterson comes up with remotely touches the basic issue. These pages were the SAME MANUSCRIPT, supposedly, for 1500 years!!

And, on the other hand, he is absurdly dismissive of even looking at the physical condition of a manuscript.

And he was so confused he even gave this nonsense:

"Having handled scores of manuscripts now, I can attest to mss having great physical condition with terrible texts and mss in poor condition with excellent texts."

Terrible texts????
Excellent texts ???

What does that mean? Close to Westcott-Hort?
Who knows?

So Jacob criticizes "physical condition", a simple and clear choice of words and then gives us nonsense like terrible and excellent texts!! Which is barely relevant for forgery and authenticity considerations (unless you can find an exampler for the text, like studying the 1821 Zosimas to see if it fits for usage for Sinaiticus. Even that has NOTHING to do with terrible and excellent texts.) Amazing.

Of course, physical condition should be one of the primary considerations. That is why there is so much emphasis in real forgery analysis on parchment and ink testing. To get more information on the physical condition.

And this is why the two libraries do not want any testing of the manuscripts. Leipzig cancelled the 2015 tests. The British Library uses the comical claim of "scholarship consensus" as their excuse for no test.

Yet, anybody who actually handles the mss., with a little smarts, is going to wonder ...

"is this really 1650 years old ??" -

Why is it in such wonderful condition?
The parchment is youthful, supple.
So much ink is barely faded.
The ink from supposedly 350 AD looks just like the ink that Tischendorf wrote in 1845.

The physical condition anomalies of this nature go on and one, even before you look at the Leipzig issues.

Why is this pristine white parchment?
Why is Leipzig 1844 unstained, and the British Library 1859 is stained and streaky?

There is one sensible answer to these last questions. Between 1844 and 1860 the St. Petersburg section was coloured, artificially, to make it "yellow with age" -- exactly as was pointed out in 1862-1864 in the authenticity controversies.

"Physical condition" is poorly defined (if at all) here; from the quotes about Sinaiticus, I assume it means quality/condition of leaves and color? If that is what is meant, physical condition should play little part in dating a manuscript. Having handled scores of manuscripts now, I can attest to mss having great physical condition with terrible texts and mss in poor condition with excellent texts.
Physical condition is a better marker of production quality and use than age or "authenticity."
Sinaiticus is supposed to be 1700 years old. It was supposedly corrected and marked up centery after century.

Yet it is in "phenomenally good condition". (Helen Shenton)
And the parchment is incredibly supple as seen in the BBC video.

The modern "scholars" are so ham-strung that they cannot even consider the clearest evidences!!!

The Russian polymath Nikolai Alexandrovich Morozov could tell right away that this is not anything like a fourth century ms. A gentleman posted on the NT Textual Criticism forum sensed the same problem, looking at the ink and parchment, asking why the red ink did not fade over 1650 years of desert heat and use.

Jacob W. Peterson is a fine example of the bankrupt condition of modern schoarship. With an atomistic approach, he can only look at one element of the Sinaiticus history and authenticity issues.

(e.g. He never could write one word about the "Sinaitic" Barnabas and Hermas produced by Simonides before the Tischendorf thefts.)

And in that one element, he starts with the absurd statement above.


Back in 2016, I was a bit more conservative, I did not really understand how limited in perspective are the atomistic scholars.

The only direct discussion with Jacob (with some other fine posts) was placed on one of the other pages.

responses from those involved in textual criticism
Jacob Peterson, manuscript experience


[textualcriticism] Sinaiticus studies - emphasis on the physical condition