breathings - chronology of scholarship (may include small letters, indentation on first letter, accents, coptic mu, omega etc)

Steven Avery

Amy Myshrall dissertation

p. 65
42, 160b, andl99b). Corrector D was dated to the 8th century, and he restored the writing in
the prophetic books. DHermas also added the breathings and accents in the book of the same
name. These correctors may well have been monks from Sinai, if we assume that Sinaiticus
was taken there for safe keeping at the time of the Arab invasions in the 7th century, and
stayed there.

p. 88
The B corrections are all at the start of Matthew as an ambitious scheme of correction,
annotation and general improvement Scribe A soon tired of a similar task in marking the Old
Testament quotes, accents, breathings, paragraphi and Eusebian apparatus, and as the B
corrections cease at the same point they too are probably by Scribe A.129 The script reappears
129 MILNE AND SKEAT, Scribes and Correctors, p. 45.

p. 765

Some of this work was also possibly done alongside the Eusebian notation, because Tischendorf does on occasion mention punctuation in red ink. Accents and breathings are rare.
Last edited:

Steven Avery

Codex Sinaiticus: New Perspectives on the Ancient Biblical Manuscript (2015)
Chapter 1
Codex Sinaiticus in its Fourth Century Setting
Harry Gamble p. 11
While the hand is quite clear in both (though much larger in Codex Sinaiticus), neither is well-furnished with reading aids: as in most early Christian manuscripts, accents, breathing marks, punctuation and paragraphing are relatively rare.

Steven Avery

The Authorship of the Fourth Gospel: And Other Critical Essays (1872)
On the comparative antiquity of the Sinaitic and Vatican manuscripts of the Greek Bible (1880)
Ezra Abbot

p. 152 (also p. 185)
Vaticanus ... (b) The work of the prima manus is rarely to be seen in the Vatican MS., a scribe of the tenth or eleventh century having retraced all the letters with fresh ink, adding accents and breathings, except in those places where he wished to indicate that something should be omitted (e. g. the accidental repetition of a word or sentence).

p. 222
The way in which the oldest MSS. were generally written, with no spaces between the words except at the end of a long paragraph (where a space about half the width of a capital letter is often left in the Vatican MS.), no distinction of the beginning of sentences by larger initial letters, with very few points, perhaps none for a whole page, and no accents or breathings, greatly increased the liability to mistakes in transcription. How easy it is to

p. 225
Vaticanus ... It is fortunate on one account that these mistakes were made, as it is only in such duplicated passages that the beautiful original writing has preserved its primitive form, a later hand having elsewhere retouched the letters and added accents and breathings.

p. 291-292
The collators of .MSS. have not usually noted the breathings. This has been done, however, by Dr. Scrivener, in the case of irregularities, in his Full Collation of Fifty Manuscripts, added to his edition of the Codex Angiensis (1859); and an
examination of his collation brings to light important facts. ...
In regard to the use of the breathings in the later uncials we have little information, except general statements as to their irregularity, and the evidence of this from fac-similes. There is an exception, however, in the case of Codex F of the Gospels, of which J. Heringa’s careful collation has been published by H. E. Vinke : Disputatio de Codice Boreeliano, nunc Rheno-Trajectino, etc., Traj. ad Rhen. 1843, 4to. ... Codex H .. .Codex 33



p. 185 and p. 152


Quibus omnibus expositis vix opus erit lit addarn, quem codici Sinaitico in nuraero praestantissimorum
codicum. nostrorum deberi locum pntem. Dignus videtur qui oiunium principatum teneat. Quod etsi non ita intellegi
veto ac si ubique, exceptis vitiis inanifestis, textum sacnim ad normam codicis Sinaitici edi iubeam, tarnen nullus
alius est quo tutiore fundamento textus constituendi uti possimus. Ut igitur iu re exercenda critica primas buic
libro partes defercndas, ita pristinam ex eo textus sacri integritatem non repetendain duco nisi adbibitis simul
diligenter religioseque Vaticano simillimisque summae antiquitatis testibus reliquis. Illud niilii quidem minime
dubium est, tliesaurum Sinaiticum pvovidente Deo ex tenebris protraetum lucique redditum litterarum sacrarum
studiis profuturum esse plurimum destinatumque ad id esse ut, quicumque quae litteris consiguarunt sanctissimi
apostoli aeternae salutis veritatisque divinae caussa maxiroi fadmus, quum salutis turn veritatis certiores

there is no doubt that the Sinaiticus was brought out of darkness by the visionary God and restored to the light of the sacred letters that he would benefit greatly from his studies, and that he was destined to that end, so that whoever had attained to the most holy letters To the apostles of eternal salvation and of the truth of the divine truth, we give the greatest cause, since they are more certain of the truth of salvation would have been. 4


* Quae ut mense Sept. anni superior is seripsi, ita
nunc tote pectore confirmo. At non praetereundum est
silentio prodisse nuper libellum Porphvrii Uspenskii, quo,
ut de iniuriis taceam mitii ipsi ac venerabili Sinaitarum
coilegio illatis, codicem Sinaiticum liaereticis ultimae anti-
quitatis Cbristianao rationibus imbulum esse contendit.
Quod quanta illc cum temeritate, quanta cum inscitia con-
tenderit, licet cuivis vem criticam vcl mediocriter docto
pateat, paucis docebo. Primum enim vult, scripturam

Verse Repetition Duplication
p. 225
There is a more extraordinary case of this kind in the
Sinaitic MS., 1 Thcss. ii. 13, 14, where twenty-five words
are repeated on account of the recurrence of rob (kov, “of
God.” This mistake was, however, corrected by the con-
temporary reviser of the MS. In a few other instances, as
Luke xvii. 16, Eph. vi. 3, a verse has been carelessly repeated
in the Codex Sinaiticus.
Last edited:

Steven Avery

Jack Finegan (1908-2000)

Light from the Ancient Past, Vol. 2: The Archaeological Background of the Hebrew-Christian Religion
Encountering NEW TESTAMENT Manuscripts A Working Introduction to Textual Criticism

The words are written continuously without separation and there are no accents or breathings, although high and middle points and colon are used for punctuation, initial Iota and Upsilon have the dieresis and sacred names are abbreviated.

Steven Avery

Stephan Huller

Another curiosity

One of the arguments used in favour of the theory that the manuscript was written in Egypt is the sporadic occurrence in it, both in the text itself and in the earlier corrections, of an omega of very curious shape. (⟒ as against the usual w
). This very rare form is found in one or two papyri from Egypt, notably in Papyrus 28 of the John Rylands Library, Manchester, but, apart from a few instances in the Codex Vaticanus, it appears to be unknown elsewhere. Now in 1839-40, the Codex Vaticanus was locked away and inaccessible to scholars in the Vatican Library, and the papyri in question were buried in the sands of Egypt. Whence then could Simonides have obtained it? Or what object could he have in inventing so strange a form?


DC Hindley
The letters eta (Η), omega (Ω), mu (Μ), upsilon (Υ), alpha (Α), kappa (Κ), etc, are much different between them. The scribe of Sinaiticus is using ligatures (e.g., Τω) while the scribe of Vaticanus does not, but the scribe of Vaticanus uses some accents while the scribe of Sinaiticus does not.
Last edited:

Steven Avery

CARM - compare to Kirk om Matthew

"When Greek was written for native Greek readers, or for those who were well acquainted with the language, accent and breathing marks were not normally used (any more than we indicate the accent when writing ordinary English). In papyri and the earlier uncial manuscripts marks of this sort are rare and sporadic. By about the seventh century scribes tend to introduce accent and breathing marks in greater numbers, and by the ninth century they are universally used in uncial and minuscule manuscripts."

Metzger, "MANUSCRIPTS OF THE GREEK BIBLE An Introduction to Greek Palaeography," 1981/91, p.12.


You can tell that the Siniaticus "breathing" marks are very ancient by their shape. You can easily see from the manuscript that they are in the ├ and ┤form, which is the very earliest. If the manuscript has been a Simonides production, he would have used the ‘ and ’ forms.

"The rough and the smooth breathings at first represented the left '├ 'and the right half '┤'of the letter H, which itself was originally the aspirate. They were soon worn down to └ and ┘ in which shapes they are found in early MSS. : and eventually these square forms beeame the rounded ‘ and ’, the period at which they definitely arrived at this last stage being the twelfth century. Only occasionally are marks of breathing found in the more ancient MSS.. and then it is generally the rough breathing that is distinguished"

Last edited:

Steven Avery

Matthew accents and breathings - Kirk DiVietro


(I should make an easier URL)

We are trying to work in WordPerfect or Word. More on that later

One page in PDF for the same CSP page.


The Accents in the first (5) (7) pages of Matthew in the Codex Sinaiticus

The pictures on this page can be seen on the Codex Sinaiticus Project site.



1) ADD urls to pages

1st page of Matthew
Matthew, 1:1 - 2:5 library: BL folio: 200 scribe: A

2nd page of Matthew
Matthew, 2:5 - 3:7 library: BL folio: 200b scribe: A

After the section with accents, prophecy markings, etc.
Matthew, 11:5 - 12:6 library: BL folio: 205b scribe: A

Let’s try to indicate what MIGHT be the last accent in the seven pages (it might be on page 5)

2) We need at least one CLOSEUP View of a word where the accent is visible .

3) Some wording improvement (see below, Kirk decide)

4) Add a Hermas Pic to show accents not related to first hand

5) I will add a supporting doc with lots of history

Steven Avery


p201 Ms of homer with accents breathing marks and punctuation


June 15, 2023

1st word Hor dash acc accnt Circu hd Breat sf breath colon period quote Par Spc Or Omeg Kai Lig
Q75 f1v 3 25 8 18 19 41 4 31 23 8 8 1

i enlarged p2, and carefully looked for markings
Page 8 col 1 (unless I am counting wrong) has markings but by a different hand in different form.
Now that i know Kai ligatures i am seeing more of them