British Library facsimile 2011-2012 "sensitive adjustments"

Steven Avery

Here is a bit of the info from the Hendrickson Preface, emphasis added:

Codex Sinaiticus, Facsimile Edition.
Hendrickson Publishers Marketing, LLC. PO Box 3473, Peabody, Massachusetts 01961-3473
ISBN 978-1-59856-577-5 (facsimile edition with reference guide)
Published in Great Britain by The British Library 96 Euston Road London NW1 2DB
ISBN 978-0-7123-4998-7 (facsimile edition with reference guide)

Published by agreement with the British Library Board, National Library of Russia, monastery of Mount Sinai (Saint Catherine's), and Leipzig University Library. (2010)

The printed facsimile of Codex Sinaiticus is based on the digital photographs taken as part of the Codex Sinaiticus Project at The British Library in London by Laurence Pordes, at Leipzig University Library by Elisabeth Fritsch-Hartung, at St Catherine's Monastery in Sinai by Michael Phelps and Father Justin and at the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts in St Petersburg by Svetlana Shevelchinskaya. The images, taken according to agreed technical standards, were processed to represent faithfully the actual appearance of the pages and were minimally reduced in size by approximately 5%. This reduction was essential to bring the pages down to the maximum size which could be bound by machine. The processing of the images required sensitive adjustments, since the appearance of the parchment and ink varied somewhat between the leaves at the four libraries and from page to page, owing to many factors, including the difference of the absorption of the ink on the 'flesh side' and the 'hair side' of the animal skin. p.5

There is a certain amount of irony in calling the smoothing away of the major parchment colour evidence, the effective hiding of the colour distinction between Leipzig and Britain (and the rest), a "sensitive adjustment".

An interesting point is the timing. Afawk, there had been no public notice of the colour distinction at the time. However, the editors of the book likely thought the colour distinction would be glaring, would jar the reader, and might raise ... uhhh.. questions. So let's change the lighting, or, more likely, do a little photoshopping. Our "sensitive adjustments" can make for an apology cover line if it is noticed.


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Steven Avery

parchment colour - CSP shows the two pages as noticeably different, Hendrickson shows them the same

First from the CSP site (taking from the notated pic on )

Q37 3V

Q37 4r

Q37 - CSP.jpg

Next the pic from the Hendrickson and British Library book of the same two pages.

One set of pictures at the British Library, the second book pic in California, there a difference in the yellow shading (different lighting) but note that the book shows NO difference between the two pages.

Q37 f3v-4r.jpg

The only sensible explanation?

The page in the book at the bottom left was changed by the publishers to hide the huge parchment colour disparity.


In addition, the top pic also shows you what the publishers did not want you to see:

1844 Leipzig BEFORE - white parchment

1950 British Library AFTER - yellowed


Which matches exactly the repeated accusations by Simonides and Kallinikos starting in 1862 that the ms. had been tarmpered in the 1850s.

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Steven Avery

Colouring the Truth - vlog

This is covered nicely on the David W. Daniels vlog:

Coloring the Truth Part 2 - length-11:19

And below, starts directly at 4:10
Composite pictures start at 4:30
Hendrickson & British Library book starts at 5:15 and pics at 5:55
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Steven Avery

inquiries to British Library and Hendrickson Publishers

We made many inquiries to the British Library and to Hendrickson to try to find out who authorized these changes, under what authority, and to what purpose.

The inquiries led nowhere. Although the issue is still important for the integrity of the presentation of the manuscript. And for people involved in palaeographic dating. Many purchasers paid $500 and more for an edition, without being told that 86 pages were deliberately tampered by changing the colour.

Just to hide the possibility that the readers would wonder whether 86 pages were deliberately tampered and coloured in the 1850s, in order to bolster the yellow appearance of age. True scholars however, will note the anomalies and begin their studies.
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Steven Avery

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Palaeographic Puzzles and the Tischendorf Plug-in-the-Date Game

The fact that they went to such extraordinary efforts to radically change the Leipzig colour is a solid indication that they had .. concerns... before there was any public mention of the colour disparity.

Scot McKendrick back in 2009 hints at certain concerns in this video at 2:45:

The world's oldest bible reunited online

2:45 - but the challenge was you have four parts of the same manuscripts in four different locations, how do you ensure that in imaging there's four parts. You don't make them look the same, because they have their own history and undoubtedly have started to look different, but how can you ensure that you capture the image, or images, of parts of those manuscripts in the same way."
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Steven Avery

There were many attempts to point this out, find out who was responsible, correct the public perception that this was a true manuscript picture.

In 2016 we wrote to the reviewer of the Facsimile edition, no interest was shown in the colour tampering of the edition.

From: Steven Avery
Sent: 18 January 2016 15:20
Subject: Sinaiticus review in Expository Times colour
Hi Professor Foster,
Your two reviews of the (three = Parker, facsimile, Porter) Sinaiticus books in the Expository times are interesting.
There was an unusual part of the manuscript that really needs attention and that you may have missed, concerning the condition of the parchment. If you compare the 2010 book with the 2009 Sinaiticus online Sinaiticus, you will see that the pages of the book were smoothed out to the rest, significantly darkened, on the part that went to Leipzig in 1844. The Preface only talked about "sensitive adjustments" and sounded like trimming the edges, not changing the color. Since you are well-versed in the Sinaiticus codicology and history, I was wondering if you noticed this, and have any thoughts on why it was done.
Steven Avery
Dutchess County, NY
(347) 218-3306

Dear Steven,
Thank you for your email. I must confess I am unaware of the features that you have observed.
I wish you well with your further examination and research into the manuscript.
Very warmest wishes,
Prof. Paul Foster
Head of the School of Divinity
University of Edinburgh
Mound Place
Edinburgh EH1 2LX
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