Hilgenfeld and the German date debate of the 1860s

Steven Avery

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p. 495-500

Theological Review (1864)
Notes on the Codex Sinaiticus
signed by "T."
p. 214-222

excellent article

....and it was thought the wiser course to reserve a final judgment till the Codex had been subjected to a more thorough examination by those who have made palaeography their special study. The means for doing this are now placed within reach of scholars, not only by the splendid facsimile edition of all the fragments recovered by Tischendorf, brought out last year under the auspices of the Emperor of Russia,—but also by the publication in one volume of the text of the New Testament.

Especially interesting is to see if there is any discussion about the physical flexibility, colour, etc. of the manuscripts.

The American Presbyterian and Theological Review (1866)
Literary Intelligence

Brockhaus has published another edition, (8vo, price 4 thlr.) of Tischendorf’s Novum Testamentura grace, ex Sinaitieo Codice, giving also the readings of the Vatican Codex, and of the Elzevir edition. The previous edition by Brockhaus, Novum Test. Sinaiticum, 1863, is out of print. This later edition omits the palaeographic peculiarities, and corrects the evident blunders of the original; nor does it contain the Epistle of Barnabas, nor the Pastor of Hermas. Tischendorf has also written an Appendix on this Codex for the 8th edition of Theile's New Test. ; and another collation for the Polyglot of Stier and Theile. He replied sharply in 1863 to the impudent claim of Simonides, in a pamphlet, entitled “Assaults on the Sinai MS.;" and there too refuted the theory of the Russian Archimandrite, Porphyry Uspenski, that the Codex had a heretical origin. In another pamphlet, “Weapons of Darkness against the Sinai Bible,” 1863, he replied to an anonymous writer in the Sächsisches Kirchenblatt, who assigned the MS. to the 6th century. Hilgenfeld also tried to bring it down to the 6th century ; Tischendorf replied to him in the Tübingen Zeitschrift, 1864. But while this MS. is generally conceded to belong to the fourth century (e. g. by Weizsäcker on the Epistle of Barnabas, 1863 ; and by Tobler in an essay on the Epistle to the Hebrews in Hilgenfelds's Zeitschrift), several recent writers put it below the Vatican MS. as an authority, on account of its evident carelessness and numerous mistakes. Thus, Prof. Buttmann, in Hilgenfeld’s Zeitschrift, 1864, examines it carefully and finds in the Gospels alone some 360 plain errors or mistakes. Dr. Bömel, in a work on the Galatians, Frankfort, 1865, comes to a kindred result, and says, that Tischendorf himself, in the last, edition of his New Test., in the part on Matthew, i. to xvi. 23, "adopts the Sinaitic reading against the Vatican in 130 places, but the Vatican against the Sinaitic in 164 places.” The above is condensed from the Neue Evang. Kirchenzeitung. The editor of the Journal of Sacred Literature (April, 1865), Mr. Cowper, assigns the Sinai Codex to the 4th century, and a Coptic origin.

quick summary of some positions

Origin of the Four Gospels (1868)

Two men in particular have undertaken the task of assailing my work with the weapons mentioned above,—Dr. Hilgenfeld, of Jena, and Dr. Volkmar, of Zurich. The first has devoted to this task an article in the Review which he edits, heading it, “Constantine Tischendorf as Defensor Fidei.” ... and although I do not speak specifically of the whole'canon, and merely put together as of equal canonicity the four Gospels, the Pauline Epistles, the first of John, and the first of Peter,

Section with Tischendorf response to 1865 article by Hilgenfeld on dating of NT and canonicity.

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Steven Avery

With barely any examination of the ms. and apparently nobody except Tischendorf seeing both mss in the tale of two manuscripts, there was a mini-debate about the date of Sinaiticus in the 1860s.

Generally the range was fourth century (Tischendorf) to 6th and 7th century. Once Hortian theory was based on the early dating of Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, and the conceptual blunder of their presumed common ancestor, all this was ignored in textual circles.

To start there is, in addition to a separate Uspensky Russian debate.

The second Hilgenfeld article, One More Word About the Codex Sinaiticus, looks likes like the most interesting.

From Hilgenfeld's Journal there was a spirited debate about the 4th century date.

Who actually saw how young is the manuscript?
Who could handle it and knew other manuscripts?
And who could compare the white parchment Leipzig CFA with the yellow with age St. Petersburg CSP?

(Included below are all the articles on Sinaiticus, some are far more germane to our studies than others.)

The following issue with six German articles on aspects of Sinaiticus.



Zeitschrift für wissenschaftliche Theologie, Volume 7 (1864)
Title Page and TOC

VI Der codex Sinaiticus der Bibel.
Ein Bedenken - von D. A.Hilgenfeld. p. 74-81

XIV Berichtistung
von D. C. Tischendorf, p. 202-210

Koch ein Wort fiber den codex Sinaiticus
von D. A. Hilgenfeld. p. 211-219

Studien nach dem Codex Sinaitirus

über den Hebräer - Brief,
von J. T. Tobler. Pfarrer in
Zürich. p. 351-366

Tobler p. 351-395 - (Hebrew issues)

über einige Eigentümlichkeiten des Cod. J. T. Tobler. Pfarrer in Zürich
Sinaiticus im N. T., zun
ächst in den Evangelien,
von Ph. Huttmanii, Prediger in Berlin (Gesundbrunnen). p. 367-395

Buttmann p. 367-395


Zeitschrift für wissenschaftliche Theologie, Volume 8 (1865)
Title Page and TOC

Ein Nachwort zum Hebräerbrief nach Cod. Sinaiticus
von Gustav Volkmar. p. 108-112


Constantin Tischendorf als Defenstr fidei,
von D. A. Hilgenfeld. p. 329-343

This is more on the canon and the dating of the New Testament.

Caspar René Gregory did cover some of this in bibliographic style, mentioning the 1864 issue and Donaldson on p. 347, and lots on p. 354

Novum Testamentum graece: Ad antiquissimos testes denuo recensuit, apparatum criticum omni studio perfectum apposuit commentationem isagogicam praetexuit, Volume 3 (1894)
Caspar René Gregory
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Steven Avery

Theological Review (1864)
Notes on the Codex Sinaiticus
signed by "T."
p. 214-222

... perfectly natural; and it was thought the wiser course to reserve a final judgment till the Codex had been subjected to a more thorough examination by those who have made palaeoyraphy their special study. The means for doing this are now placed within reach of scholars, not only by the splendid facsimile edition of all the fragments recovered by Tischendorf, brought out last year under the auspices of the Emperor of Russia,—but also by the publication in one volume of the text of the New Testament. Hilgenfeld of Jena, in the last number of the Zeitschrift für Wissenschaftliche Theologie


uncial characters. An un-theological friend well versed in paleography, whose opinion he asked, drew from an inspection of the writing the same conclusion at which Hilgenfeld had arrived through another process,—viz. that the MS. could not be older than the sixth century. It is curious to notice how learned and ingenious men deduce opposite inferences from the same data. The text of this Codex of the New Testa-

Testament, for doubting the extreme antiquity (ultimae antiquitatis Christianaoe monumentum is Tischendorf’s own

search "antiquitatis Christianae monumentum"

p. 215
from the same data. The text of this Codex of the New Testament is disfigured by constant mis-spellings, and abounds in violations of all the laws of flexion and syntax. Tiscliendorf finds in all this the evidence of a primitive text, such as could never have been perpetuated by the more pedantic transcribers of the Byzantine school. He asserts ✙—on what




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Steven Avery

Here is Madden and the Literary Churchman with the late date,

along with the concerns of Cowper, Donaldson, Hilgenfeld , Uspensky and others.

In 1860 The Literary Churchman had a continuation of the discussion, with an interesting note:

The Literary Churchman: A Critical Record of Religious Publications, Volume 6 (1860)
Professor Tischendorf and the New MS.

We will only add to this account a circumstance which confirms the doubt which we expressed. whether the new MS. would eventually answer all the expectations which Tischendorf formed from it on a first inspection. We are enabled to assure our readers that Sir F. Madden , a man of more sober judgment than Tischendorf, and of great experience and sagacity in these matters, is firmly persuaded, from the form of the letters, that the Codex Frederico-Augustanus cannot be older than the sixth century. It will be remembered that Tischendorf considers the new MS . and the Frederico-Augustanus to be parts of the same MS. If Sir F. Madden is right, the new MS. is two centuries later than Tischendorf believes it to be, though still a MS. of great antiquity, and of extraordinary value. It will not escape notice that the description of the ovation of Tischendorf at Dresden is thoroughly German.

Many scholars rejected the unscholarly (maniacal might be a good word) push of Tischendorf for a 4th century date, since there were so many counter-evidences that "prove too much" against the 4th-century theory.

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Steven Avery

p. 76
Der Barbarisinus isl so gross, dass man wirklich schon den Eindruck der sinkenden Gratcitt erhüll und wohl Mönche des erst uin 530 gestifteten Klosters auf Sinai als die Schreiber anzunehmen hat1). Die Sache steht so, dass der Anfung solcher Verwahrlosung, von welcher der cod. Vat. noch rein ist, sich erst in dem cod. Alexandrinus (nach Tischendorf aus dem 5. Jahrhundert) findet, und dass dieselbe in cod. Sin. wo möglich ihren Gipfel erreicht 2,

The Barbarisinus is so great that one really already gets the impression of the declining rate and probably the monks of the monastery on Sinai, which was only founded in 530, have to be assumed as the scribes1). The situation is such that the beginning of such neglect, of which cod. Vat. is still pure, only in the cod. Alexandrinus (according to Tischendorf from the 5th century), and that the same in cod. sin peaked where possible 2,




Freilich hal der cod. Sin. eine eigenthümlichc, noch auf
filtere Zeiten zurückweisende Anordnung der NTlichen Schrif-
ten. Auf die Evangelien lösst er sofort die Paulus-Briefe
folgen, den Hebrfier- Brief nach 2 Thessalon., also mitten
unter den fichten Paulus-Briefen, dann erst die Apostelge-
schichte, die katholischen Briefe und die Johannes-Apoka-
lypse. Schliesslich ist unser codex noch so weitherzig, auch
den Barnahas-Brief, den Hirten des Hermas (bis Mand. 4),
und da zwischen diesen beiden Antilegomenen 6 Blatter aus-
gefallen sind, wohl auch die Apokalypse des Petrus folgen
zu lassen. Er schliesst sich in dieser Stellung der Paulus-
Briefe vor den katholischen, in dieser Hintansetzung der
Apokalypse lind in der Anerkennung solcher Anlilegomenen
namentlich an Eusebius (KG. III, 25) an. Auch trifft er in
gewisser Hinsicht zusammen mit dem Verzeichniss hinter cod.
Claromontanus‘). Nun wurden freilich zu Ende des 4. Jahr-
hunderts durch die Synoden zu Laodicea (um 364) und Kar-
thago (397) solche Anlilegomenen für Morgenland und Abend-
land von dem Kanon ausgeschlossen. Allein desshulb braucht
die Handschrift nicht nolhwendig noch aus der Zeit des Eu-
sebius zu stammen, dessen Ansehen ja lunge nachwirkte,
zumal da Constanlin d. Gr. gerade durch ihn 50 Abschriften
der ganzen Bibel für die Kirche von Constantinopel verferli-
gen liess*). Diese kaiserliche Hof-Bibel kunn noch im 6.
Jahrhundert durch neue Abschriften fortgcpilanzt sein. Dem
Hirten des Ilermas wahrte überdiess noch dus Ansehen des
Athanasius eine hulbkauonische Geltung. Und Tischendorf
weist selbst darauf hin, dass noch im 5. Jahrhundert der cod.
Alex, die beiden Briefe des römischen Clemens uu das Neue
Test, anschliessen konnte.



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