James Snapp attempts to defend authenticity of Sinaiticus - multiplication of nothings

Steven Avery

James Snapp - using Scrivener for the multiplication of nothings

Before going into his 3-part blog article, a review of the Facebook discussions and some earlier notes:

[TC-Alternate-list] Sinaiticus Is Not a Forgery
James Snapp - Nov 18, 2011
James Snapp - Nov 20, 2011
[TC-Alternate-list] Daniel Wallace and Chris Pinto on Sinaiticus and Simonides - the Vitaliano Donati 1761 report
James Snapp- Oct 7, 2013

We have a summary of some of the 2014 discussions here, and I am only giving a smidgen.

Tischendorf Discussion - TC Alt List
Nazaroo - March 27, 2014

NT Textual Criticism
Oct 24, 2014

(some early sparring)

NT Textual Criticism - Oct 27, 2014

(New Finds)

[textualcriticism] 2017-03 - Claromontanus --> Sinaiticus homoeoteleutons



FACEBOOK section

King James Bible Debate - April, 2014 (not on authenticity)
"The Arabic Glosses"

King James Bible Debate - April, 2014 (not on authenticity)
Acts 8:37 - Brandon Staggs - James White forum deletes posts

King James Bible Defense -
Codex Sinaiticus and the Ending of Mark
[h=3]King James Bible Debate - Jan 30, 2016[/h]https://www.facebook.com/groups/21209666692/10153417122291693/
"A transcript (abridged, and reformatted, with a few extra notes) of Scrivener's Critical Introduction to Codex Sinaiticus (1864),"

David Daniels - Feb 4, 2016

(short comments)

King James Bible Debate - Feb 2, 2016
Colouring and Staining, c. 1850s, of 90% of the Sinaiticus Manuscript, to Russian, 1859 - Any other Explanations?


Sinaiticus - Dec 19, 2017
multiplication of nothings


King James Bible Debate - Dec 26, 2017

(Paul Artale asks about Sinaiticus blog posts)
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Steven Avery

FACEBOOK section - these are the James Snapp threads

King James Bible Debate - April, 2014 (not on authenticity)
"The Arabic Glosses"

King James Bible Debate - April, 2014 (not on authenticity)
Acts 8:37 - Brandon Staggs - James White forum deletes posts

King James Bible Defense - Sept 29, 2015

Codex Sinaiticus and the Ending of Mark

King James Bible Debate - July 21, 2016

James Snapp - Sinaiticus vs. Cyprius: Which Is More Accurate?


SINAITICUS AUTHENTICITY - these are the James Snapp thread

King James Bible Debate - Jan 30, 2016
James Snapp
"A transcript (abridged, and reformatted, with a few extra notes) of Scrivener's Critical Introduction to Codex Sinaiticus (1864),"

King James Bible Debate - Feb 2, 2016
Steven Avery
Colouring and Staining, c. 1850s, of 90% of the Sinaiticus Manuscript, to Russian, 1859 - Any other Explanations?

David Daniels - Feb 4, 2016
(short comments)

King James Bible Debate - March 30, 2016
James Snapp - Ending of Mark - SA margin notes trimmed

King James Bible Debate - March 21, 2017
James Snapp

Sinaiticus Is Not a Forgery - Setting the Stage - (first blog post, analysis and answers planned for below)

King James Bible Debate - March 24, 2017
James Snapp
Ten Reasons Why Sinaiticus Was Not Made by Simonides

Kings James Bible Debate - March 25, 2017

James Snapp
Ten More Reasons Sinaiticus Was Not Made by Simonides

FACEBOOK section - these are the James Snapp threads

King James Bible Debate - April, 2014 (not on authenticity)
"The Arabic Glosses"

King James Bible Debate - April, 2014 (not on authenticity)
Acts 8:37 - Brandon Staggs - James White forum deletes posts

King James Bible Debate - April, 2014 (not on authenticity) More
"This picture is a composite of screenshots of the conversation Richard C Pierce and I were having about James White's recent video-response to a video by Brandon "

King James Bible Defense - Sept 29, 2015

Codex Sinaiticus and the Ending of Mark

King James Bible Debate - July 21, 2016

James Snapp - Sinaiticus vs. Cyprius: Which Is More Accurate?

King James Bible Debate - Dec 22, 2016
The Text of Phoebadius - (small mention of Sinaiticus forgery, but this is a great topic)


SINAITICUS AUTHENTICITY - these are the James Snapp thread

King James Bible Debate - Jan 7, 2014
Chris Pinto - James White Debate

King James Bible Debate - April 10, 2014
Deon Rudon question
long thread, a little about authenticity toward the very end

King James Bible Debate - Jan 30, 2016

James Snapp
"A transcript (abridged, and reformatted, with a few extra notes) of Scrivener's Critical Introduction to Codex Sinaiticus (1864),"

King James Bible Debate - Feb 2, 2016
Steven Avery
Colouring and Staining, c. 1850s, of 90% of the Sinaiticus Manuscript, to Russian, 1859 - Any other Explanations?

King James BIble Debate - Feb 6, 2016
Logan Ross
discussion, Mike Hopper mentions James, note the Samuel Cheetham reference

David Daniels - Feb 4, 2016

(short comments)

King James Bible Debate - March 30, 2016
James Snapp - Ending of Mark - SA margin notes trimmed

King James Bible Debate - March 21, 2017
James Snapp

Sinaiticus Is Not a Forgery - Setting the Stage - (first blog post, analysis and answers planned for below)

King James Bible Debate - March 24, 2017
James Snapp
Ten Reasons Why Sinaiticus Was Not Made by Simonides

Kings James Bible Debate - March 25, 2017

James Snapp
Ten More Reasons Sinaiticus Was Not Made by Simonides

Kings James Bible Debate - April 5, 2017
Steven Avery
Weakly Attempts to Support Sinaiticus Authenticity.

King James Bible Debate - May 6, 2017
Bryan Ross
I just finished my fourth book regarding Constantine Simodines and Codex Sinaiticus
(James is mentioned in the thread)

Sinaiticus - Dec 19, 2017
multiplication of nothings


King James Bible Debate - Dec 26, 2017

(Paul Artale asks about Sinaiticus blog posts)

Sinaiticus - Dec 19, 2017
multiplication of nothings


King James Bible Debate - Dec 26, 2017

(Paul Artale asks about Sinaiticus blog posts)

Note: should we place the non-Snapp threads here or where? - including the Sinaiticus forum.


A few other forums can be found here:

Posts on Facebook with Snapp and Simonides.

Bryan Ross - May 16

Pure Bible -
Bryan Ross - May 9
J. K. Elliot - ancient catalogues

NT Textual Criticism - Dec 20, 2013
Chris Pinto James White debate

Confessional Bibliology - March 21, 2013
#1 of 3

NT Textual Criticism - #2 of 3-part
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Steven Avery

three-part article by James Snapp trying to claim "Sinaiticus Is Not a Forgery"

Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Sinaiticus Is Not a Forgery - Setting the Stage

Friday, March 24, 2017
Ten Reasons Why Sinaiticus Was Not Made By Simonides

Saturday, March 25, 2017
Ten More Reasons Sinaiticus Was Not Made by Simonides

Notice that James is not addressing the evidences that show Sinaiticus to be 1800s. His focus is on a group of supposed improbabilities, and the reader is then supposed to ignore the evidences that Sinaiticus is not an antiquity document.


If you want to learn and discuss more, when you want the bigger picture (not just the three blog posts from James and the three response posts right here), please note this post:

Sinaiticus authenticity - where to discuss the issues, also basic research and study spots
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Steven Avery

James Snapp #1 - Setting the Stage

Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Sinaiticus Is Not a Forgery - Setting the Stage

A recommended read in full in full, including the comments.

Much of this first article is about the deceptions of Tischendorf, about which I also make a comment. James also shows the amazing "any scholar..." claim of the bumbling James White, who still does not understand the Sinaiticus history, even after 20 years and many people trying to help him with correction.

In terms of main topic we have:

James Snapp:
In the past few years, a conspiracy theory has developed about Codex Sinaiticus, consisting of the claim that the manuscript is not from the 300’s but is instead from the 1800’s – specifically, that it was made by Constantine Simonides, who was both a scholar and a notorious forger. ...

This brings us up to the time when Constantine Simonides enters the picture. In a letter that was published in The Guardian newspaper on September 3, 1862, Simonides claimed that he had produced Codex Sinaiticus in 1839, while he had resided at Mount Athos (an important monastery-center in Greece which has a vast manuscript-library), using, as its basis, the contents of a printed copy of the text of Codex Alexandrinus, three manuscripts from Mount Athos, and a printed Greek Bible published by Zosima, based in Moscow. He claimed to have obtained the required amount of parchment from an ancient codex at Mount Athos that consisted almost entirely of blank pages.

Simonides claimed that after finishing this large project, he donated it to a retired church-leader, Constantius, whose home was on the Greek island of Antigonus. Constantius, in turn (again – it is claimed by Simonides), after sending a contribution to Simonides, donated the codex to Saint Catherine’s monastery, and that, according to Simonides, is how its pages turned up there in 1844, when its pages were first encountered by Tischendorf. Simonides also claimed that he himself had visited Saint Catherine’s monastery in 1844 and 1852, and had seen the codex there.
With a couple of tweaks, and various important omissions, this is a reasonable history. The understanding that Tischendorf had pulled a fast one is not just the last few years, this was a major issue in the 1860s, in the linguistic analysis of James Donaldson into the 1870s, in the astute notice of the Russian scientist Morozov and others.

The question resurfaced the last few years because the internet gave a platform for the ground-breaking journalism of Chris Pinto, and this was followed by the amazing evidences that were available, especially after the Codex Sinaiticus Project went online. Thus, all previous studies (e.g. Scrivener or James Keith Elliott) that were based on very limited resources and knowledge were totally superseded. Plus the internet provided a platform for corroborative research with quick, real-time communications. Facebook, with its quick chat and picture upload capabilities, turned out to be especially effective. Our team, with help and labours from Mark Michie, was able to place up the www.sinaiticus.net website, bringing forth the evidences in a visual and effective and informative manner.

Continuing from the James Snapp extract:
An important omission is that Simonides talked about the preparation work of his learned uncle Benedict in the long-term project. And indicated assistance on the project, mentioning scribes from Athos (whose names show up on the Sinaiticus manuscript.)

And the fundamental fact of Benedict, Simonides and Kallinikos working on manuscripts at Athos was confirmed in the 1895-1900 catalogues of Spyridon Paulou Lambros, the Catalogue of the Greek manuscripts on Mount Athos - two volumes.

These types of "coincidences" (one of the writings on this forum documents about a dozen), actual historical connections that corroborate the essential Simonides account and participation in the creation of the "Sinaticius" manuscript, show up everywhere.

The Hermas coincidence, which even includes an awkward linguistic accusation retraction by Tischendorf, is a good example. The 1843 Barnabas coincidence is extremely significant.

Then we have the coincidence of the lemon-juice and herbs colouring accusation of the manuscript (to make it look aged) made in 1863. This was referring to Tischendorf actions in the 1850s. And we are able to see that this colouring occurred today! And the accusations were clearly true, as we saw after the 2009 Codex Sinaiticus Project placed the two sections of the manuscript online. We have a visual BEFORE and AFTER! 1844 and 1859.

What a providential research and forgery discernment gift! The Codex Sinaiticus Project (CSP) was planned to be halcyon days for the Sinaiticus mythology, as well as a celebration of the photography and coordination and technological skills that brought it to pass (which were quite impressive.) Ironically, the wonderful project simply unraveled the 150 year Sinaiticus deception.

btw, I use the word forgery, because even if the manuscript was originally designed as a replica, by the time Tischendorf was aggressively promoting the manuscript as 4th century, it had graduated up to full-blown forgery.

Now, James Snapp, Jr. in these articles, rather craftily does not really address ... anything. James has his own little hobby horse of supposed improbabilities. So, to be fair and honest, we will go over each one, and watch the "multiplication of nothings." It sounds impressive to give 20 arguments, but many of the arguments vaporize immediately when you realize that the Simoneiodos manuscript was clearly not only a one-man endeavor. And this can be seen in the words of Simonides, if you do not simply extract one quote without the full contexts.


Here are the main comments that I put in on this page:

It is ironic that you can disassemble the fabrications of 1844 (to a degree, he actually stole the 43 leaves from an intact volume), recognizing the Tischendorf conspiracy theory, yet still accept Tischendorf fabrications about the later visits in the 1850s.


"according to Simonides, is how its pages turned up there in a basket in 1844"

- the basket story was a total fabrication. We know from Uspensky that the ms was whole. And the basket was not referenced by Simonides (which is what your quote says). It was created by Tischendorf in 1859, 15 years after the first theft.


"the contents of a printed copy of the text of Codex Alexandrinus..."

- this was written by William Kelly in 1870 in the Bible Treasury article. Afaik that is the only place Alexandrinus is mentioned.

> James White
. “Any “scholar” who can’t even get this story straight is not really worth reading, to be honest.

When in fact, James White has not got this story straight for over 30+ years! Through two editions of his book. And from his own blunder White has attacked the honesty and integrity of David Hunt (now passed away,thus the needed apology would be very late), Douglass Stauffer and Jack Moorman and likely others. And James White and his AOMIN staff have simply censored and ignored the many attempts to request a simple correction, whether made in private or public.

This is why James Snapp took the time to review this above. At this point it has become a remarkable and exceptional case of dishonesty and railing accusation and strikes at the heart of real discourse. Note that it just incidentally has to do with Sinaiticus.

And I heartily applaud the review by James Snapp above.

The title of the post has a major error. Simonides never claimed this manuscript was a "forgery". It was a replica designed as a gift to the czar, in hope or expectation of receiving a printing press, in view of the cache of unpublished mss at Mt. Athos. The evidence supports this assertion, although, to be fair, it is remotely possible that the goal was deception.

"Forgery is the process of making, adapting, or imitating objects, statistics, or documents with the intent to deceive for the sake of altering the public perception, or to earn profit by selling the forged item. Copies, studio replicas, and reproductions are not considered forgeries, though they may later become forgeries through knowing and willful misrepresentations."

A replica is not a forgery.

When Simonides published the first Greek Barnabas edition in 1843 (when you hear that Sinaiticus was the first Greek Barnabas, a chuckle is appropriate.) it was published in Smyrna. Afaik, no printing press at Mt. Athos.

So the fundamental claim from James is way off base.

To be fair, we could say that Tischendorf turned the replica into a forgery. He tested out the 43 leaves of 1844 and saw that pristine white parchment, supple and easy turning like a Life magazine, in "phenomenally good condition" (Helen Shenton of the British Library) could be pawned off to a gullible textual establishment as a manuscript that was 1500 years. And, when the full Tischendorf story was unraveled, even have suffered from heavy use century after century. Oh, and not a word missing from the New Testament!

Amazing. Bridge for sale. Conspiracy theory.

Even before the Before and After colouring. Even before the coincidence of Simonides publishing Hermas and Barnabas. Even before the Claromontanus-->Sinaiticus homoeoteleutons. And the mountain of "coincidences".

So in a very difficult sense, you could say that Tischendorf morphed the replica into a forgery.

A better question, less charged, would be whether Sinaiticus is an authentic antiquity (c. 350 AD.) manuscript

Let's make one more point clear from this first post by James.

There should not be any ambiguity about the 1844 heist of 43 leaves to Leipzig. Tischdorf took the leaves from an intact manuscript, which is consistent with what was seen by Uspensky in 1845. His phantasamogorical saved-from-burn-basket claim was a very successful lie, it was not a misunderstanding.

Here are more reasons why:

In 1844, Tischendorf wrote to his wife only that the leaves had come into his possession (a type of thieve's description). Without a hint of baskets or saving from fire or even any involvement of the monks. -- "ich bin in den besitzgelangt von"

The basket and fire story did not exist anywhere until 1859, when he needed political cover for his second, more sensitive, heist.

Tischendorf even hid the connection of the 1844 Codex Friderico-Augustanus with Sinaiticus for years after 1859. Although the scholars were able to put 2+2 together in the early 1860s.

His supposedly loose, somewhat random, fragments were precisely five full quires. And three more folia. And, incidentally, these white parchment leafs had on them written, or were used for, the critical colophons. The colophons were needed for the aggressive early dating push. With the very last of the 43 leaves being the Esther colophon. Coincidences abound.

Bottom line: Every element of the story of Tischendorf accidentally finding 43 leaves should be discarded. The evidence is super-clear. It was all one big fabricated story. To disguise a theft of leaves taken out of the full manuscript and to gain sympathy for his larger 1859 heist.

And if you doubt that Tischendorf would do such a thing, read about the Archimedes Palimpsest, along with other manglings and thefts.

Steven Avery
updated: January 3, 2017
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Steven Avery

James Snapp #2 - Ten Reasons Why Sinaiticus Was Not Made By Simonides

James Snapp - March 24, 2017
Ten Reasons Why Sinaiticus Was Not Made By Simonides

James Snapp:
Today, we shall explore reasons why Codex Sinaiticus was not made in 1839-1841. I intend to provide twenty such reasons; today I will settle for ten.

In the previous post, we saw that there is some question about the manner in which Codex Sinaiticus, or at least the main portion of it, was obtained by Constantine Tischendorf at Saint Catherine’s Monastery – 43 parchment sheets in 1844, and a much larger portion in 1859, which included every book of the New Testament.

It is easy to document that the 1844 heist was a simple theft. As Kallinikos saw and wrote, Tischendorf had been the receipient when the librarian had "given the manuscript to a German, who visited the monastery in 1844 in the month of May, and who having had the MS. in his hands several days, secretly removed a part of it".


And this matches perfectly with the fact that Uspensky also saw the full manuscript in 1845, OT as we have today, NT, Hermas and Barnabas. (Not, of course, the 5 quires plus three leaves that Tischendorf had remvoed in 1844.) And the blatant mangling and theft matches with the description that Tischendorf sent his wife at the time, saying that the leaves had simply come into his possession :). (Thief's talk .. how did this get in my house? .. it just appeared! ) And how could anyone know of the theft? Even if they knew that the Codex Frederico-Augustanus was a section of Sinaiticus (a point that Tischendorf was keeping hidden) you would expect that Tischendorf had some sort of receipt, or monastery official ok, for taking the quires. However, Simonides, through Kallinikos, knew the hard truth .. simply a theft.

This knowledge of the 1844 heist of Tischendorf is one of many examples of the knowledge of the manuscript of Simonides and Kallinikos. Especially including the tampering by herbs or lemon juice to make the 2nd portion a supposed "yellow with age".

All the saved from burning lies, still parroted today by Tischen-dupes, were honed 15 years later to try to deflect attention from the thefts. And create a romantic air around the thief.

The 1859 heist is more well known, and there is more than "some question" about that heist.

Although the exact manner in which it was brought to the attention of European scholars is disputed, there is no question among paleographers – researchers who specialize in the study of ancient handwriting and writing-materials – that the manuscript is genuinely ancient.

This is a vague and essentially meaningless claim. How many palaeographers actually personally examined both sections of the manuscript?

Palaeographers working off of the Tischendorf smoothed facsimile are essentially irrelevant. Palaeographers who do not address the colouring disparity of the two sections, the white parchment in Leipzig, the staining of the yellow in the larger section, and the amazing "phenomenally good condition" (Helen Shenton, British Library) condition are essentially irrelevant. So who is left?

Beyond all that, a good palaeographer would have to address the historical coincidences that place Simonides as the author, and the tissues of lies that surround the Tischendorf discovery, and the lack of any real provenance for the ms.

In 1862, however, after the text of Codex Sinaiticus was published by Tischendorf, a scholar named Constantine Simonides claimed that this manuscript was not ancient at all. In a letter that appeared in the newspaper called The Guardian on September 3, Simonides claimed that the manuscript that Tischendorf heralded as the pearl of all his researches was actually something that Simonides himself had made. “About the end of 1839,” Simonides wrote, his uncle Benedict, who oversaw a monastery on Mount Athos, wished to present a gift to the Russian Czar, Nicholas I. After Benedict consulted with some colleagues, it was decided that a complete Greek manuscript of the Bible, combined with works of the sub-apostolic age (Barnabas, Hermas, Clement of Rome, etc.), written in ancient lettering on parchment, would be a suitable gift – along with a gold cover. The chief calligrapher of the monastery was very reluctant to begin such an intimidating task, and so Simonides, then 19 years old, began the project, after studying the handwriting in manuscripts at Mount Athos. His uncle Benedict, he claimed, made a sort of exemplar by using a printed Greek Bible (printed by Zosima with the support of the Moscow Bible Society), comparing it with ancient copies at Mount Athos.

And from where did he get the parchment? Simonides stated that at Mount Athos, he conveniently found a bulky codex consisting almost entirely of blank pages, “prepared apparently many centuries ago.” Simonides filled these pages, he claimed, with the Old Testament and the New Testament, and proceeded to write compositions from the sub-apostolic age (Barnabas and Hermas) until he ran out of parchment. By the time he had gotten that far, his uncle had died, and so instead of presenting it to the czar, he went to Constantinople and consulted two patriarchs, Anthimus and Constantius, who recommended that he donate it to Saint Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai Peninsula, where Constantius had previously served as bishop. Simonides agreed to this course of action.

Shortly thereafter – according to Simonides – he took the codex to the island of Antigonus, intending to deliver it to Constantius, whose residence was there. Constantius was, however, away from home, and so Simonides left it there in a packet, with a letter. Later, Simonides claimed, he received a letter from Constantius, written in August of 1841, assuring him that the codex would be donated to Saint Catherine’s Monastery as he had intended.

Simonides then said that in 1852, he had visited Saint Catherine’s Monastery and had seen the manuscript there, and examined it, “and found it much altered, having an older appearance than it ought to have.” Simonides also noted that the preface, in which the manuscript was dedicated to Czar Nicholas I, had been removed. Later, Simonides continued, he had been shown a sample-page of the manuscript that Tischendorf was publishing, and “at once recognized” his own work.

Now that we have an idea of what Simonides’ claims were, let’s look at the reasons why they do not survive close scrutiny.

Before we begin, it is important to point out that the original Simonides explanation may have been smoothed for various reasons. To maximize his involvement. Perhaps all the motives were not so idealistic as a replica version, there could have been ideas of passing it off as authentically ancient. Perhaps there were contributions to the manuscript that were left unstated. Simonides was young, clearly Benedict had done much of the work. Simonides metions two names (Dionysius, a calligraphist and Hilarion a deacon) whose names show up on notes in Sinaiticus, and they could could have contributed. And there even could be some elements involving the counter-Reformation attempt to make a new Bible version against the Received Text, and this sorely needed a full Bible companion manuscript to Vaticanus. Tischendorf crowed that Sinaiticus supplied a New Testament "not disfigured by the smallest imaginable deficiency." Which itself, considering the 1500+ years of supposed use, points to either miraculous preservation or crafty manipulation. Beyond all that, Simonides would have a limited knowledge as to the modifications and additions that were made in the years from 1840 to 1859, when there was ample opportunity for many chapter headings, section numbers, corrections and manglings and deletions and cuts to occur. In fact, Kallinikos and Simonides reported that the manuscript was mangled and disfigured at the hands of Tischendorf.

(1) Bits of Codex Sinaiticus Were Discarded or Recycled. Fragments from Codex Sinaiticus were used to reinforce the bindings of other manuscripts at Saint Catherine’s Monastery. While part of Codex Sinaiticus (the part taken by Tischendorf in 1844) resides at Leipzig, and a larger portion resides at the British Library, a few pages and fragments are at the National Library of Russia. These portions were obtained by the researcher Porphyry Uspensky when he visited Saint Catherine’s Monastery, no later than 1846. Simonides’ claims would thus require that the monks of Saint Catherine’s Monastery, after receiving a pristine Greek manuscript of the entire Bible in 1841, recycled several of its pages as binding-material in the next few years.
Since Tischendorf was involved in a combination of theft and mangling of the manuscript, there is nothing at all unusual about some scraps ending up with Uspensky (who has his own checkered reputation for manuscript mangling and theft.) In fact, in support of this, we have items like Tischendorf and Uspensky contiguous scraps. We have a scrap of a chapter that was specifically mentioned by Simonides in Genesis. We have Hermas fragments that could have been very embarrassing to Tischendorf from a linguistic perspective discarded in a back room. We also have Kallinikos specifically saying that the manuscript was being mangled by Tischendorf.

(2) Codex Sinaiticus Is Huge. Simonides claimed to have made the manuscript in a relatively small amount of time, beginning “About the end of the year 1839” and finishing some time before August of 1841. Those who have seen the manuscript, or facsimiles of it, can testify what a massive project this would be for one person to undertake: when in pristine condition, the codex consisted of over 740 leaves (i.e, 1,480 pages). To complete that amount of space with uncial lettering would be a massive undertaking: reckoning that each page had approximately 2,500 letters, the writing of over 3,700,000 letters would be required to complete the codex.
This is all irrelevant, as we work with the fairly well accepted idea that the extant manuscript was the handiwork of three main scribes. And (see one quote below) Simonides alluded to the participation of others. It is likely that Simonides worked on the New Testament part, which would have been quite easy in the time span. Most of the Old Testament and many corrections (although much could have been added at Sinai) would have been Benedict, Kallinikos and compatriot Athos scribes.

The activities of these gentlemen Simonides, Benedict, and Kallinikos, were hotly disputed in the 1860s debate. Amazingly, when Spyridon Lambrou wrote the two volume Catalogue of the Greek manuscripts on Mount Athos in 1895 and 1900, long after the controversies of the 1860s, what do we find? Lo and behold, precisely c. 1840, the exact time indicated for preparation, we have the three gentlemen, Simonides, Kallinikos and Benedict working with library manuscripts in Mt. Athos, as expressed by Simonides. (Did he use a time machine to set up the supporting history?) Another one of the many corroborative coincidences that abound, confirming the basic historical accuracy of the Simonides account. When we get to the actual Sinai experience, such as the colouring of the manuscript, we find much more amazingly prescient exposition.

(3) Codex Sinaiticus Has a Note About An Ancient Manuscript Made at Caesarea. After the book of Esther, a note in Codex Sinaiticus states, “Checked for accuracy using a very old copy corrected by the hand of the martyr Pamphilus. At the end of this ancient book, which begins with the First Book of Kings [i.e., First Samuel], and ends with Esther, is the handwriting of Pamphilus himself; it says: ‘Copied and corrected against the Hexapla of Origen as corrected [or, made accurate] by him. Antoninus the confessor cross-checked it; I, Pamphilus, corrected the volume in prison, by the great grace and ability from God. And if it is not an overstatement, it would not be easy to find a manuscript like this one.” A similar note appears at the end of the book of Second Esdras. Had Simonides made the manuscript as a straightforward transcript of the Greek Bible, with no intent to deceive, he would have no motivation to create this feature, or the 160 corrections added by the “Pamphilian Corrector” in Second Esdras and Esther.

These colophon notes are similar to extant notes in other known manuscripts. such as Codex Coislinianus, a manuscript about which Tischendorf had published in 1842. So it would be very simple to use one existing note as an exemplar, knowing that they add a lustre of age.

If you look at what snatched in 1844 you can understand one possible genesis of the notes. The supposedly random ready to be burned 43 leaves were actually five full quires and three contiguous leaves. Ironically, "coincidentally", the Esther note is on the very last leaf of the 43 leaves, on the recto side of the 43rd leaf. (One of the final three leaves that broke up a quire, Q37-3r, the other 40 leaves were Tischendorf stealing five full quires of eight leaves each. Based on the Uspensky description, these were apparently removed, stolen, by Tischendorf from a bound manuscript. Later Tischendorf, or his monastery compatriot hirelings, destroyed the binding.) And the Esdras note comes earlier, again within the 43 leaves. So the very last leaf of what Tischendorf claimed to be random burning has the Esther note! Amazing.

There really are two or three possibilities. The notes could be hand-down from a manuscript stream, which is common, even while the manuscript undergoes other changes. Or they could have been put in to enhance the luster of age (Simonides, Tischendorf, or any acquaintances.) Clearly, Tischendorf took those specific pages, ending with the colophon, precisely because he wanted to emphasize the notes. Since he felt they would enhance his antiquity claim. It is quite possible that the notes were added after the original composition, perhaps directly under the tutelage of Tischendorf. This is a rather well-known practice, as an example Codex Alexandrinus has an antiquity note about which it has been debated as to whether it was placed in precisely to enhance its age reputation.

A simple look at the colour and condition of the parchment shows you right away that those notes are not from a manuscript that sufferred through 1500+ years of heavy use and abuse, as proposed by the conspiracy theory that makes up all sorts of wild dates for corrections, bindings, usage, notes, Arabic writings, travel, etc, over 1500 years. Yet all this supposed handling and use hardly aged the manuscript at all! Still nice white parchment (the unstained section in Leipzig) and easy-peasy page turning, with nary any handling smudges, or oxidized yellowing.

This, btw, is one reason why the two sections of the manuscript were kept far apart by Tischendorf. And when he did his facsimile, not one word about the colour disparity, and the facsimile shows the colour as uniform (as also was similarly rigged in the recent 2011 publication.) In fact, for some years, Tischendorf even avoided connecting the two sections as the same manuscript, although that was quickly figured out by the scholars, since they have contiguous texts.

(4) Codex Sinaiticus Has Arabic Notes. As David Parker observes in his book on Codex Sinaiticus, Arabic notes appear in Codex Sinaiticus at Isaiah 1:10, and at Zechariah 14:8, and in parts of Revelation. The scenario described by Simonides provides no motive for the creation of this feature (nor is there evidence that Simonides knew Arabic when he was 19 or 20 years old.)

One of the Arabic notes, as David Parker has pointed out, probably refers to the approach of seven thousand years of earth’s existence, as calculated via the Byzantine Anno Mundi calendar, which reckoned that the universe was created in 5,509 B.C. The completion of 7,000 years was thus expected to come in the late 1400’s, and the fall of Constantinople in 1453 probably caused the Arabic-writing annotator to interpret part of Revelation chapter 8 (by which the note appears in the margin) as a prophecy about Islamic conquests – the star in 8:10 being called, in the note, a star “of the Arabs” – after which he expected persecution to begin.

If Codex Sinaiticus was extant in the second half of the 1400’s, as the existence of this note implies, then it cannot be the work of Simonides in the 1800’s.

First, the manuscript was kicking around a monastery where Arabic was a common language for almost 20 years. So it would be trivially easy for there to be Arabic notes placed on the manuscript. The manuscript was in many hands in that period.

Second, there really is no sound palaeographic study of those notes. And of course, as with Sinaiticus in general, no study of the ink. In fact, Tregelles tells us that the learned Arabic scholar Richard Gosche (1824-1889) said that the notes were "very recent".

"Here and there a later hand has written Arabic notes in the margin, and these Tischendorf imagines are from the same hand that has made some corrections (apparently) in the eighth century: if so this would be an uncommonly ancient piece of Arabic writing: I showed the lithographed facsimile of the page to Dr. Goesche of the Royal Library, Berlin; and he tells me, (what I strongly suspected before) that the Arabic is very recent, also that it is by the hand of some Syrian, being (as I before knew) a liturgical note."
Some Unpublished Letters of S. P. Tregelles Relating to the Codex Sinaiticus, Evangelical Quarterly, 1976 Timothy C. F. Stunt, p. 20

Note the inverse. If Gosche and Tregelles are right about the Arabic, and Tischendorf is right about the "same hand" of some corrections, then we have a palaeographic correction of the Sinaiticus corrections as not being eighth century, but over a millennium later!

And the conjectured eschatological interpretation of any notes are wildly speculative, and of no real value in dating the manuscript. Even if the Revelation note connects to the fall of Constantinope, a historicist prophetic writing style will simply interpret the Revelation text as looking forward to the future. Far more consequent is the actual Arabic writing.

The inverse relationship showing late dates comes up elsewhere. One interesting study has to do with accents and breathings that would not be 4th century, and afaik have never been studied for palaeographic dating purposes. See the clumsy markings at the beginnings of Hermas. Yet these types of markings are ascribed to one of the scribes, when they could easily be a clumsy attempt in the 1840s, by some one weak in Greek like Tischendorf, to mark and identify the text of Hermas. (Some accents are said to be in the beginning of Matthew, yet the ones in Hermas are especially clumsy, "Hermas, (the first sixteen lines of which he has defaced by coarse breathings and accents)." Scrivener, Full Collation p. 25.

(5) Codex Sinaiticus Has Clear Demonstrations of Teamwork Among Scribes. Whereas Simonides claimed to have written the codex from beginning to end, the manuscript shows that three or four copyists produced the manuscript itself, and that other copyists introduced later corrections (or attempted corrections) at much later times. The evidence for this includes the following:

Different orthography, i.e., spelling. Among three copyists – known as Scribe A, Scribe B, and Scribe D (Scribe C was withdrawn from Tischendorf’s initial appraisal that there were four copyists, but some researchers posit that Scribe B’s work was really the work of two copyists) – Scribe D had reasonably good spelling; Scribe A had bad spelling, and Scribe B’s spelling was atrocious; as Milne & Skeat stated in Scribes & Correctors of Codex Sinaiticus in 1938, “The habits of B [i.e., Scribe B] are difficult to describe in moderate language; still more difficult is it to understand how a scribe so careless and illiterate came to be chosen for such a manuscript. He seems to have had no firm visual impression of Greek, so barbarous and grotesque are the forms which his misspellings can present to the eye, and with such utter inconsistency does he sway from correct to incorrect. His aberrations extend over the whole field.”
The worth – or rather, worthlessness – of Simonides’ story can be obtained by considering that he had no motive to use accurate spelling in one part of the manuscript (those parts made by Scribe D, including six cancel-sheets) and very inaccurate spelling in other parts. Who can believe that with a printed Greek Bible as one of his sources, anyone making a handwritten replica would introduce quirks such as writing κε in place of και (“and”) in Isaiah 22:24, Jeremiah 7:25, and twice in Hermas?
● Scribe D, besides having handwriting and orthography discernibly superior to that of the other two copyists, often lined up the right margin of the columns of text that he wrote by adding small “>” symbols to the ends of lines that did not quite extend to the right margin. This symbol is never used by Scribe A.
● The copyists used different decorative designs at the ends of the books they copied. Milne & Skeat, referring to such a decorative design as a “coronis,” observed that “The coronis, in fact, amounts to his signature, so distinctive is the design (or designs) adopted by each and so restricted by the range of individual variation.”
A gap was left between two sections written by different copyists. Codex Sinaiticus was not produced by starting at one end of the text of the Bible and finishing at the other end. Instead, one copyist was assigned one portion, and another copyist was assigned a different portion, and they worked simultaneously, with the intention that the separate sections would, after being proof-read, be bound together. This meant that the copyists had to estimate how much space each assigned portion of text would occupy – and they didn’t always get it right. They expected that the books of Tobit and of Judith would take up a little more space than they actually did in Scribe D’s handwriting. This is why Scribe A, when he began writing First Maccabees, began in the second column, expecting that Scribe D would place the last bit of the text of Judith in the first column, when he did the proof-reading. Meanwhile, what reason would any copyist working alone have to skip a column in this way, at the beginning of a page?

The teamwork of the Athos creators of the manuscript has been touched on above. David Daniels will have much more about the development of the manuscript in his forthcoming book. Is the 'World's Oldest Bible' a Fake?

Here is one example where Simonides has Benedict and an Athos scribe involved in the manuscript:

"my uncle Benedict corrected the MS in many places; and as it was intended to be re-copied, he marked in many letters which he intended to have illuminated. The corrections in the handwriting of my uncle I can of course point out; as also those of Dionysius, the caligraphist."

The British Quarterly Review (1863)

Thus, overall, you can say that Simonides took his efforts, especially on the New Testament, as being a critical part of the manuscript devlopement. And Simonides down-played the Athos co-ordination of the scribes on the Old Testament. Since this was a long-term project of Benedict, many hands could be involved.

(6) The Eusebian Sections in Codex Sinaiticus Are a Mess. In many Gospels-manuscripts, numbers appear in the margins. These are part of a cross-reference system devised by Eusebius of Caesarea, in which a chart – the

Canon Tables – listed parallel-passages (first, passages found in all four Gospels, followed by passages found in different combinations of Gospels, such as Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and concluding with the tenth canon-table, which listed passages found exclusively in one Gospel) and each passage was given a number, along with the number of the table in which its number was found.

In Codex Sinaiticus, we do not have the Canon Tables, and in the margins, the section-numbers are frequently mismatched, and are incomplete: the section-numbers for Matthew were begun but no more was initially written beyond section 52; another copyist continued the numbering (and wrote over the earlier copyist’s numbers) but he stopped in Luke at section 106. Simonides would have no reason to make such a quirky feature, and at Mount Athos there were (and are) many resources where a complete form of the section-numbering could be found. Meanwhile, this phenomenon is accounted for by the use of the Eusebian Canons by copyists in the 300’s to whom it was a puzzling novelty.

This type of "mess" is best accounted for by the bumbling hands of the young Simonides, and any compatriots. And/or the tampering of Tischendorf and his allies in Sinai. My remembrance is that there is no real evidence that these numbers were put in with the original scribal writing of the manuscript, and there are evidences that they were put in post-facto. (Later, I can add more to this, you have to look for spots discussed, e.g. where there was some interaction or displacement between a canon table and some other page markings. And the contrasting inks.

They could have been put in at 800 AD, or, more likely, 1850. Ironically, this is even true if it were an ancient manuscript. The Sinaiticus defenders pretend that there was no hacking of the manuscript after 1844, despite the fact that the Uspensky account shows us that the manuscript was in fact mangled (as stated independently by Kallinikos.)

The "mess" has no real explanation if it was part of some scribal ancient development of a skilled scriptorium. Thus, these types of anomalies, and there are many, are just hand-waved as a puzzle in traditional Sinaiticus mythology.

In many scribal ways the Sinaiticus (or Simoneidos) manuscript is a bumbling disaster. So there is no reason to think that they (Simonides or Tischendorf or their allies) would do some incredibly diligent and accurate canon table studies. They basically just hacked in the numbers.

(7) Codex Sinaiticus Does Not Have Second and Third Maccabees. There would be no motive for Simonides to omit these books, if he were intending to make a complete Bible for the Czar. Copies of Second Maccabees, at least, would be readily available in the resources of Mount Athos. Yet these two books are not in the codex. (Baruch is not there either, but it probably was present when the codex was in pristine condition.)

This is a nothing argument. The transmission of the Maccabees books was all over the map. The motive could simply have been to save some time, or perhaps 2 Maccabeest was considered redundant to 1 Maccabees, or the books used as an exemplar by Benedict had Maccabees one and four and that was considered suficiente. James is hampered here, once again, by not knowing enough of the Athos - Benedict - Simonides history.

(8) Sinaiticus Has Marginalia In Acts Shared Only By Vaticanus. In the margins of the text of Acts in Codex Vaticanus there are two different sets of chapter-divisions. In the second set, the text is divided into 69 chapters. Each chapter’s beginning is indicated by the appearance of a Greek numeral (represented by characters of the Greek alphabet). These numerals are not in the same script used in the text, and appear to have been added centuries after the manuscript was initially made. Many other manuscripts also have numbered chapter-divisions (the “Euthalian Sections”), but until the discovery of Codex Sinaiticus, the form of chapter-divisions in Acts in Codex Vaticanus was unique. When Tischendorf’s publication of Codex Sinaiticus was released, however, it did not take long for researchers to notice that in the margins of Acts in Codex Sinaiticus, chapter-divisions appear which very closely resemble the chapter-divisions which are otherwise unique to Codex Vaticanus. A side-by-side comparison of the chapter-numbers in Acts in Vaticanus, and the chapter-numbers in Sinaiticus, can be found by consulting the detailed and interesting (but highly technical) essay Euthaliana by J. Armitage Robinson, which appeared in 1895 in the journal-series Texts and Studies. The author's observance bears heavily on the question of whether Codex Sinaiticus can have been made in the 1800's:

“Where did this system of numbers, common to א [Aleph, i.e., Sinaiticus] and B, come from? The two codices have got hold of it quite independently of one another. It cannot have been copied from B into א, for א has one number (Μ) [that is, 40] which is not found in B; nor can it have been copied from א into B, for nearly a third of the numbers (from ΜΒ [i.e., 42] onwards) are not found in א. We must go back to a common source – some MS which gave its numeration to them both – and this seems to imply that א and B were, at an early stage of their history, lying side by side in the same library.”

Robinson may have overstated his case, for it is equally possible that the source of this marginalia met each codex separately. But this does not erode the point that Simonides not only had no access to data about Codex Vaticanus’ marginalia, but he also had no motive to imitate it, nor to do so incompletely; the chapter-numbers in Codex Sinaiticus stop at Acts 14:40.

The first question here is .. is there any indication that the chapter numbers were put in Sinaiticus before the 1840s? When the Vaticanus data would be easily available at least to Tischendorf and people with whom he was affiliated, acquainted and friends (which apparently included Simonides until the later 1850s, and they may well have regained the connection since Simonides worked in St. Petersburg in the late 1860s.) What is the first report of these numbers in the Sinaiticus New Testament?

Similarly, when were the Vaticanus entries placed? If they were not original, if they were placed centuries later, then all this speculation has to be revisited. In fact, the earliest time was about the 700s, maybe much later. So now we have to posit Vaticanus and Sinaiticus bumping into each other ... where? Sinaiticus was thought to be in Sinai, and Vaticanus never was there. Once you get past 400 AD, there is no vector of transmission that makes sense for Vaticanus to be a source for Sinaiticus, until the 1840s.

There was in fact access to both the Vaticanus data around in the period after 1840, and the similar Vulgate data as well.

Much of this was pointed out to James in our January and February 2016 discussions on the King James Bible Debate forum.

Also the close match with the Amiatinus ms. (and perhaps other Latin manuscripts) may also account for the Vaticanus and/or Sinaiticus Acts marginalia.

(9) Sinaiticus Is Missing Exact Lines of Text. Occasionally, a copyist’s line of sight drifted from the beginning or end of a line to the beginning or end of the next line (or, of a nearby line further down the page), causing him to accidentally omit the intervening letters. Where the amount of absent text corresponds to a particular line-length, it indicates that an exemplar was in use which had lines of that length. Simonides, however, claimed to have worked from a printed Greek Bible, which would not elicit this kind of omission.

James knows that Simonides has various sources he mentioned, not just one Bible. And in fact, a printed edition of Alexandrinus was also mentioned by one scholar who knew Simonides. And since it was a cooperative project beginning with Benedict, what we know is not complete.

In fact, the missing lines led to the discovery of the homoeoteleutons that used Claromontanus (or its sister manuscript) as the source for Sinaiticus. Thus these lines, with their corrections, are yet another powerful evidence of Sinaiticus non-authenticity.

(10) Sinaiticus’ Text-Type Shifts in the First Eight Chapters of John. As Gordon Fee showed in a detailed paper, although the Gospels-text of Codex Sinaiticus is mainly Alexandrian, in John 1:1-8:38 it is Western. Whereas Simonides had no motive to suddenly change exemplars (and gave no indication of ever possessing an exemplar with a Western text of John), and then change back, this is accounted for by a scenario in which copyists in Caesarea in the mid-300’s were transferring texts from decaying papyrus onto parchment – a scenario confirmed to be historical by Jerome in De Viri Illustribus and other sources; the organizers of this project were Acacius and Euzoius.

There is no evidence that Acacius used a "Western" John either. And the production of Sinaiticus is placed in Rome, in Egypt, perhaps Alexandria, in Caesarea, or your mom's kitchen sink.

Since we do not know what manuscripts were available in Mt. Athos c. 1835-40 to Benedict and Simonides, there is no substance to this argument. It is an example of the multiplication of nothings.

So far we have seen very little substance.


Probably the one significant point in the ten reasons is that the Euthalian Acts sections would indicate that, before the manuscript got to St. Petersburg in 1859, some work (aborted, clumsly, incomplete) was done on Sinaiticus, with likely knowledge of the very similar section headings in Acts in Codex Vaticanus. Granted, there are other possibilities (there is so much we do not know about Mt. Athos manuscripts, today and in 1840), however that is a reasonable likelihood conclusion.

Steven Avery
Jan 3, 2018
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Steven Avery

James Snapp #3 - Ten More Reasons Sinaiticus Was Not Made by Simonides

Saturday, March 25, 2017
Ten More Reasons Sinaiticus Was Not Made by Simonides


About four of this next group of 10 reasons from James are simply based on the fact that we do not know exactly what manuscripts were available at the monasteries of Mt. Athos and during the multi-year research of Benedict. Simonides specifically said that some unidentified manuscripts or editions were used in the collation and development process. And Benedict was well connected with a wide variety of sources available. David W. Daniels has done a lot of research into the background and views and motives of Benedict and this will be covered in depth in his two books, the first one of which is coming out about Jan. 8.

Is the 'World's Oldest Bible' A Fake?

When our little SART team discovered that Claromontanus (or its twin manuscript) was one of the manuscripts used in producing Sinaiticus, with a perfect homoeoteleuten match of sense-lines to Sinaiticus margin corrections, that simply put together one piece of the historical textual puzzle. Now that we have discovered that there is an edition of the Zosimas Moscow Bible available in the University of Glasgow library in Scotland, there is yet another source that can help with the Old Testament portion.

Even with the wonderful research addition of the Codex Sinaiticus Project, the establishment textual scholars have been to a large extent asleep. The SART team found the Uspensky material, and had it translated from Old Slovenian. Similarly the Russian scientist Morozov, who gave us teh astute ripping of the supposed authenticity of Sinaiticus, exposing the Tischendorf con. We discovered the colour tampering, simply by finding the Uspensky quote, and then looking carefully at the Codex Sinaiticus project, and viewing page by page, and then adding background and technical studies. We discovered the James Donaldson linguistic arguments, which have never been countered. We discovered the Claromontanus-->Sinaiticus homoeoteleutons.

Plus, many pieces of the historical puzzle are now in place. Benedict, Kallinikos and Simonides were in fact working together on manuscripts in Athos c. 1840, as documented in the 1895-1900 Spyridon Lambros catalog. Corroborating the most essential part of the Simonides account (the who and where, which could not be changed or fabricated historically.) Similarly, Kallinikos accused Tischendorf of colouring the manuscript, very early, when hardly anybody had seen the manuscript. Yet, we were able to confirm two years ago, simply by studying the Codex Sinaiticus Project and related materials, that the colouring had occurred, and the supple, flexible, barely-oxidized manuscript was in "phenomenally good condition." This, however, is not surprising for a manuscript that is less that 200 years old and was only handled in the first 20 years and then stashed, untouched, in library conditions.

What does James Snapp say about all of this in his presentation? ... nuttin, zilch, nada. His goal in this series is not to inform the readers about Sinaiticus, it is not even to counter the amazing evidences that this is a recent production. The goal of James is simply to be part of the textual criticism smoke-screen cover-up. Throw up some dust. And he mostly gives us a multiplication of nothings.

Meanwhile, the official group of textual scholars are asleep, working with their "deeply entrenched scholarship" that assumes the Tischendorf fabrication stories of accidentally finding a 4th century manuscript! "Conspiracy!" .. don't bother me with the facts!

Now, when looking at the arguments from James Snapp, we also have to conjecture about what what were the motives of Benedict and Simonides.

a) simply a creative and somewhat altruistic replica that might be traded for a printing press?

b) the possibility of passing off a new manuscript as authentically old?

c) conspiratorial (e.g. Jesuit) development of a companion ms. to Vaticanus that can work to try to dethrone the despised Textus Receptus, and the Reformation Bible editions around the world

Or there could be a hybrid combination of motives. Perhaps when the project began, the flux between fake and replica was simply left up in the air. Let's make it, and then decide.

And if there was conspiracy elements, they would definitely not be publicized. (Although hints may be dropped, like Fenton Hort talking of Tischendorf finding "rich materials", just a few years before Tischendorf "found" their companion-to-Vaticanus manuscript.

In the controversies of the 1860s, much of the attack against Simonides among his English opponents was that his story might not be totally on the up-and-up, perhaps his motives were not so Simon-pure, and were not so altruistic, perhaps he was involved in a planned forgery! The idea was that this would discredit his account (when actually it would simply give a slightly different spin on why the Simonieidos manuscript was made, and then stolen by Tischendorf.) In such a case, the essentials of the Simonides story would be true (as has been corroborated in many ways) but the details of the process would have some vanilla fudging.

Clearly, these gentlemen who tried to find little holes in the Simonides story to try to discredit the essentials (as James similarly tries today) were not very sharp cookies. Or they were embedded with the replacement Bible attempt.

All this is especially clear today when we know that Tischendorf only gave us tissues of lies, like the self-serving fabrication of saving parchment from fire! When all Tischendorf had done was mangle an intact manuscript, removing five full quires and three leaves more, and spirited them off to Leipzig as a test of passing off a nice clean, white, supple manuscript as if it were very ancient and heavily used.

If we weigh the historical veracity of Simonides to Tischendorf in regard to the manuscript, Simonides comes out way ahead, and is generally accurate. While Tischendorf is the charlatan, liar and thief. Tischendorf weaved a web of deception, and ultimately even forgery. First hiding the connection of the two sections. and then stashing them far away from each other away from prying scholars, and putting out a facsimile edition that hid the huge contrast between the Leipzig and St. Petersburg pages. Not once did Tischendorf ever acknowledge the simple truth that Leipzig is white parchment, reported and pretended it was yellow with age. (There was a similar deception which occurred in the 2011 facsimile edition, with everybody from the British Library and the American publishers going "what, we worry", nobody knowing why the pages were smoothed and tampered.)

As to trying to attack the Simonides account on quibble details about whether he was totally on the up-and-up, the truth was recently written by Charles van der Pool, well acquainted with the Greek Orthodox and the Sinaiticus history.

Lastly I find it somewhat comical that the charge against a forger was that he was convicted of forgery...that would seem to be more of a proof of his "credentials"
While Simonides was never convicted of forgery, the basic irony stands. Demonstrating or claiming that the motives of Simonides may have been different than what he shared in the 1860s controversies does absolute nothing to weaken the historical connection, and the essential elements of his account.

A third possibility is that of a tool of the Jesuit counter-Reformation-Bible attempts. There is solid evidence that a companion manuscript to Vaticanus would be a hoped-for find, as in the 1850s quote from Fenton Hort about Tischendorf finding "rich materials" to help along their planned competitor edition.

Or any combination of the three motives, the situation could have been in flux. The third, the counter Reformation Bible aspect, would involve a deliberate "conspiracy" aspect of the development of the Simoneidos text. Overall, it is rather easy to demonstrate that Simonides and his compatriots were involved in the production of the Sinaiticus manuscript, it is more involved to unravel the whole history.

Similarly it is unknown to what extent Codex Vaticanus, or facsimiles from the manuscript, were available before the real-time discoveries of 1844-45. Or Vaticanus information, notes or facsimiles were able to be used for certain elements like marginalia up to 1859. To give one example of the historical muddle, Tischendorf in his later writing c. 1870 said that he had made a facsimile edition of Vaticanus in the 1843 visit. Yet this contradicts the history that he had given earlier. And the Vatican offers no transparency in regard to their actions.

The simple truth is that Vaticanus readings could have been deliberately involved in the development of the manuscript.

In fact, there are various evidences of friendship or collusion between Simonides and Tischendorf over the years. They were called friends in some writings, although the Hermas tension of 1855 clearly put them at odds. The Tischendorf retraction of his lingistic accusations against Hermas, necessary to bring forth Sinaiticus, were kept hidden in a Latin background.

And even when the whole English journal disputes were over (putting aside for this purpose the Hermas and Barnabas linguistic expose by James Donaldson), Simonides, after a faked death report, quickly shows up (reported by Samuel Prideaux Tregelles! in contact with Rev Donald Owen) working in the Russian historical archives in St. Petersburg! St. Petersburg, where Tischendorf is now an esteemed scholar, since the Sinaiticus theft has been smoothed over. What an odd coincidence. Why would the Russians hire Simonides to work on "Historical Documents of Great Importance in Connection with Claims of the Russian Government”

the Russians hire Simonides to prepare historical documents after the 1867 fake obituary

In case you have difficulty reading between the lines, consider the idea of a quid pro quo between Tischendorf and Simonides. Simonides would stop giving Tischendorf a hard time about Sinaiticus, and he would have a good position in Russia. Maybe using some of his "particular set of skills." Remember, too, this was the time when there was still tension and claims and counter-claims between the St. Catherine's Monastery and the Russian administration, where even into the mid-1860s, the Tischendorf theft was considered and embarrasment that needed to be fixed.

We really do not know when cooperation between Simonides and Tischendorf began, even if it hit a rough spot with the Simonides publication of Hermas in 1855, before the similar Sinaiticus Hermas.

(11) Sinaiticus Has Rare Alexandrian Readings. ... The theory that anyone in the early 1800’s could happen to create all these agreements with Vaticanus is extremely unlikely. Most of them are agreements in error ...
(12) Sinaiticus Contains Many Non-Alexandrian Readings Which Are Singular or Almost Singular. A person creating a text in the early 1800’s based on a printed Greek Bible and a few manuscripts from Mount Athos would have neither the means nor the motive to create many readings found in Codex Sinaiticus. Such a person would occasionally make a mistake which at least one earlier copyist also made – but the appearance of so many singular or almost singular readings – not just mistakes – in Codex Sinaiticus puts very heavy strain on the theory that they were made by someone in the early 1800’s who was attempting to produce a gift for the Russian Emperor, because in such a setting there is nothing to provoke them.

These two are handled in the introduction. Plus, singular readings are to be expected in a sloppy transcription done by a teenager, as we know that Sinaiticus is full of blunders. They may have been some diction invovled as well, which would add to misspellings, itacisms and singular readings.

(13) Significant Parts of Sinaiticus Are Not Extant. Simonides claimed that he had visited Saint Catherine’s Monastery in 1852, and that he had seen his codex there, and that it was “much altered, having an older appearance than it ought to have. The dedication to the Emperor Nicholas, placed at the beginning of the book, had been removed.” However, much more of the Old Testament is not extant. No pages from Genesis were known to Tischendorf except the small fragment he found in 1853; the parts from Genesis 21-24 were either taken by Porphyry Uspensky, or discovered at Saint Catherine’s Monastery as part of the “New Finds” in 1975. The entire book of Exodus is gone; only chapters 20-22 of Leviticus are extant, and the surviving pages contain no more than ten chapters of Leviticus; only five of Deuteronomy’s chapters are attested on the surviving pages. Only two chapters of Joshua are extant, and no text from Judges was known to exist until fragments containing Judges 2:20 and Judges 4:7-11:2 were discovered among the “New Finds” in 1975. Such a museum of neglect and decay! And yet all that Simonides can say upon encountering his work in such condition is that it was much altered, and looked a little older than it should? And that the dedication-note at the front was missing??

There is a good reason why Simonides did not express dismay that what had been a complete Greek Bible in 1841 had been so thoroughly damaged that only a small fraction of the pages containing the Pentateuch had survived: he was unaware of it, having never seen the manuscript at Saint Catherine’s Monastery or anywhere else.

"No pages from Genesis were known to Tischendorf except..."

What silliness. James knows that Tischendorf lied about everything related to his visits. He knows that the Uspensky 1845 visit accounts shows the lying of the Tischendorf accounts. So why does James believe anything about what Tischendorf "knows"?

We can be quite sure from Uspensky that there was an extant full manuscript in 1844, but it was not the full OT. There is a very real possibility that Sinatiicus was never a complete manuscript. Playing with quire numbers would be an easy way to reduce the work load.

By contrast, the fact that the New Testament is complete, every verse, after 1500+ years of supposed heavy use, is quite suspicious:

"not disfigured by the smallest imaginable deficiency"

Almost as if the purpose of the whole endeavour was to supply a new New Testament text.

Similarly, we have the coincidence that a section that was specifically mentioned by Simonides as having his markings shows up in the New Finds or in cut-up fragments.

Similarly, the fact that the ending of Hermas, which presented a huge linguistic embarrassment for Tischendorf was thrown into a back room, is an evidence for Simonides involvement and more Tischendorf shenanigans.

Overall, we have more evidences supporting Simonides.

Did Simonides visit the monastery in 1852? Probably, but that would take a separate study. If he did, his report of mangling was sufficient, he may not remember, or want to get into, all the details. In fact, I don't remember that he ever specifically stated that the full OT was delivered.

At least we know that his various reports from the monastery (e.g. Tischendorf theft of 1844, the mangling of the manuscript, the colouring before 1859, the bumbling Greek of Tischendorf, etc.) were all accurate to a "T".

(14) Sinaiticus Has a Nearly Unique Text of the Book of Tobit. No resources at Mount Athos, or anywhere else in the early 1800’s, could supply the form of Greek text of Tobit that appears in Sinaiticus. As David Parker has noted, the text of Tobit in Sinaiticus agrees with the Old Latin translation of the book more closely than the usual Greek text does. In addition, the fragment Oxyrhynchus Papyri 1076, assigned to the 500’s, contains Tobit 2:2-5, and it agrees at some points with the text of Sinaiticus. (For example, both read καὶ ἐπορεύθη Τωβίας (“And Tobias went”) and ἔθνους, “nation,” (instead of γένους, “race”) in 2:3.)

This is simply suppositional conjectural ignorance from James Snapp. James has no idea what manuscirpts were in Mt. Athos, or available to Benedict, in 1840. He probably does not even know what is there in 2017. This is another multiplication of nothing.

And James also omits the Syriac connection (see below), probably on purpose since Simonides specifically alluded to an Old Syriac manuscript being used in the production:

"another very old Syriac Codex ..." (Elliott p. 56).

The quirkiness of Sinaiticus shows up everywhere. Why would a scriptorium have amateur bumbling scribes?

Why would the earliest extant Revelation be like a commentary? (As pointed out in a Juan Hernandez paper.)

Why are the editions of Hermas and Barnabas so late-Latinized that the learned James Donaldson said they could not be 300s AD, they had to be at least hundreds of years later?

Returning to Tobit, Does James even realize that Athos scholars like Simonides and Benedict could work with Latin and Syriac manuscripts? The Latin aspect was a big issue in the Hermas development where Simonides in one edition combined Greek and Latin manuscripts. So the big question arose: were non-extant Greek parts augmented by Latin sections?

So why is there any surprise that there could be Latinization element to Tobit? Or Syriac.

Now, James is actually echoing an 1863 argument from the Journal of Sacred Literature:

in the Old Testament, the text of Tobit and Judith, for example, are of quite a different recension—a recension still preserved principally in old Latin and old Syraic documents. How could this have been taken from the Moscow edition? or how could it be brought into it?
In fact, this argument, strangely enough, was simply taken from .. Tischendorf. who was always fishing for some way to claim authenticity and would never give a balanced presentation of the evidences.

Tischendorf - letter to Allgemeine Zeitung - Dec 22, 1862.
"in the Old Testament, the text of Tobit and Judith, for example, are of quite a different recension - a recension still preserved principally in old Latin and old Syraic documents. How could this have been taken from the Moscow edition? or how could it be brought into it?"

And Chris Pinto had gone into all variety of sources that were claimed by Simonides four years back!

Reporting The History of Codex Sinaiticus & Asking Questions Does Not Make a Conspiracy

In a letter written to his friend, Charles Stewart in 1860, Simonides described the manuscripts that were chosen by Benedict as the textual basis for the codex: “… the learned Benedict taking in his hands a copy of the Moscow edition of the Old and New Testament … collated it … with three only of the ancient copies, which he had long before annotated and corrected for another purpose and cleared their text by this collation from remarkable clerical errors, and again collated them with the edition of the Codex Alexandrinus, printed with uncial letters, and still further with another very old Syriac Codex …” (Letter of C. Simonides to Mr. Charles Stewart, as published in the Guardian, August 26, 1863, see Elliott, pp. 54-56*)
And I had responded to this argument in November 2014 (small changes made below):

New Testament Textual Criticism

When the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus shared scribes theories are developed, and the same scriptorium theories:

Is it pointed out that their texts of Tobit are totally different? Sinaiticus has a text that is akin to the longer Old Latin transmission lines:

"in the Old Testament, for example, the text of Tobit and Judith is of an entirely different recension, which is still preserved, particularly in old Latin and old Syriac documents." - Constantine Tischendorf, quoted in the Journal of Sacred Literature,and Biblical Record, Volume 3, 1863, p. 234

This is pointed out, usually emphasizing the Latin confluence, by the modern writers (who could consider the simpler explanation, that the medieval Latin and/or Syriac Codex influenced the Sinaiticus text) like Stuart D. Weeks of Durham University and Robert J. Littman of the University of Hawaii and Albert Pietersma of the University of Toronto.

This should be easier for them to see in Tobit, since that is one of the spots where you have "the tale of two manuscripts" the checkerboard, Tobit starts as a modern, pristine, no stains white parchment, (Codex Friderico-Augustanus, 1844 to Leipzig) and then in chapter 2 moves to the yellow with age and stains rest of Sinaiticus, of 1859 Tischendorf vintage. The picture is rather glaring.

Returning to the Greek ms. line, Vaticanus has the standard text that is throughout the Greek line, all uncials (Vaticanus, Alexandrinus and Vetenus are mentioned in NETS) and all cursives except 319. Sinaiticus, with 319, is oddball.

As I expected ms. 319 is from Mt. Athos (no surprise there
:) since Sinaiticus Hermas and Barnabas appear to be traced there as well, with medieval Latin influences, as pointed out by the learned Scottish scholar James Donaldson, 1831-1915) and Weeks says "Ms. 319 is properly Vatopedi 513 from Mt Athos; it dates from the eleventh century, and has ‘Long’ readings in 3.6-6.16." You can get the Greek font from:

Some Neglected Texts of Tobit: the Third Greek Version (2006)
Stuart Weeks


Papyrus Oxvrhynchus 1594 joins the standard Tobit line, while 1076 is equated with the longer Latin line, except that the whole text is only five verses, making such an identification a bit of an extrapolation. The five Qumran fragments, four in Aramaic, one in Hebrew, do equate better to the Latin tradition (plus Sinaiticus, which however is often noted as unsatisfactory and corrupt and subject to many scribal errors) than the traditional Greek.

Ironically, the textual theorists properly use the opposite of lectio brevior praeferenda, the far more sensible longer reading, in favor of the longer (Hebrew and Latin) recension.

"Internal evidence also favors GII as the basis of GI; see, for example, 2.3 where one would be hard put to imagine how the fourteen Greek words of GI ("And he came and said, 'Father, one of our race has been strangled and thrown into the marketplace.' ") could possibly have been the source of the thirty-nine Greek words found in GII ("So Tobias went to seek some poor person of our kindred. And on his return he said, 'Father!' And I said, 'Here I am, my child.' Then in reply he said, 'Father, behold, one of our people has been murdered and thrown into the marketplace and now lies strangled there' "). One can readily see how the translator of G1 has condensed the narrative and the dialogue between Tobias and Tobit."

A New English Translation of the Septuagint
edited by Albert Pietersma, Benjamin G. Wright

Substitute "the scribe of the Alexandrian recension" for the "the translator of G1" for many NT applications.

NT Lectio brevior theory in essence is a special pleading and illogical application, designed to support the abbreviated Vaticanus-primacy text, and frequently the opposite of what is accepted in real textual analysis.

Steven Avery

Now, looking for contributors to Sinaiticus text, again note this:

Tobit ... The long version consists of the uncial Codex Sinaiticus (s) of the 4th century CE and its allied manuscripts, particularly the important minuscule, MS 319, from the Monastery of Mt. Athos, Greece, which contains the lacuna in Tobit 4:7-19.

Tobit: The Book of Tobit in Codex Sinaiticus
Robert J. Littman
Hmmm... a Greek manuscript (GII from 3:6 to 6:16) that could be a fine exemplar used in the Tobit creation .. and from where? Mt. Athos! How could this be omitted by James?

Or, as Stuart Weeks puts it:

Tobit .. The textual problems posed by the book are notorious. The Qumran witnesses are too fragmentary to reconstruct a continuous text, and the principal witness to the earliest Greek version, Codex Sinaiticus, is frequently corrupt or defective in Tobit. This version may also be reconstructed to some extent, however, from ms. 319 (in part of the book) and from the very diverse Old Latin tradition.

A Deuteronomic Heritage in Tobit?
The inverse works: a combination of ms 319, the Old Latin, the Syriac codex and any other sources (did the Moscow Bible have Tobit?) were likely used in the Mt. Athos creation of their Tobit edition.

Now, Sinaiticus is still a scribal mess, with all sorts of omissions and misspellings. Perhaps sloppy work, including errors caused by dictation. This super-sloppy scribal component fits the 1840 understanding far better than the 4th century theory. The Simonides crew lacked some skills, and were overtaxed, they were not a professional scriptorium.

And there would have to be a combination of sources, but we know this was in fact the style of Simonides, and we are told very clearly that the development of the Simoneidos text was rather an involved procedure, with Benedict especially using a variety of sources. We can conjecture that Syriac and/or Latin sources are part of the process.

Granted, there still is a quesion about a small number of readings that align with an old semitic vorlage, akin to what we see in the Qumran fragments of Tobit, such as mss 4Q197. Words that do not have an exemplar known to be available in 1840. However, once again, we really do not know what was available to the gentlemen in Athos in their various Latin, Greek and Syriac manuscripts and resources. How many hundreds of manuscripts are on Athos today that have never been collated and published? And how many were there in 1840 that are either "gone manuscripts" or moved to another locale?


This is one of a spots where the CFA is next to a regular sheet. Tischendorf took the full quires 35, 36, 47, 48, 49 . This 37 he only took a partial quire. (The ms. was pretty definitely bound when seen by Tischendorf in 1844, the fanciful loose leaves saved from the fire yarn was spun 15 years later.)

Tobit - Codex Friderico-Augustanus Q37f3v - Leipzig - colour - S1005-Y20R

Tobit - Sinaiticus - Q37f4r - British Library - colour S1010-Y10R
Tobit Continuous.jpg

Picture available at:

Codex Sinaiticus Authenticity Research
Four Contiguous Points
http://www.sinaiticus.net/four contiguous points.html

So Tobit gives us a simple example of the pristine nature of the Leipzig, page, uncoloured against all manuscript science of oxidizing, yellowing and again. While the page at the British Library is (stained) yellow. Visual proof of the tampering, right in the pages of Tobit. About which James Snapp tells the readers ... nothing.

(15) A Copyist of Codex Sinaiticus Was Probably Familiar with Coptic. Scrivener explains the evidence for this in the Introduction to his Collation of Codex Sinaiticus: “It has also been remarked that no line in the Cod. Sinaiticus begins with any combination of letters which might not commence a Greek word, unless it be θμ in Matt. viii. 12; xxv. 30; John vi. 10; Acts xxi. 35; Apoc. vii. 4.” The letters θμ are capable of beginning words in Coptic, and this is probably why this exception was made; i.e., it was not an exception in Coptic.
Some of these Coptic evidences are unclear, as when James Keith Elliott refers to the "alleged Coptic mu". It would be nice to have some input from a true palaeographer, like Brent Nongbri. At any rate, let's just point out for now that Simonides was well acquainted with Egyptian writing, as part of his studies relating to hieroglyphics.

(16) One of the Later Correctors of Sinaiticus Had Unusual Handwriting. Several individuals – not just one or two – attempted to correct the text of Codex Sinaiticus. One corrector not only corrected the text, but occasionally corrected earlier correctors. This corrector’s handwriting was somewhat unusual; he added a small angular serif at the bottom end of the letters ρ, τ, υ, and φ.
Why James thinks that unusual handwriting is more a sign of antiquity than the 1800s is a puzzle. The handwriting of the Athos calligrapher, Dionysius, was the subject of note and humor "wretched, crabbed" in the controversy. This argument is a good example of the multiplication of nothings. There was plenty of time for corrections during the initial preparation by the Athos team (the Russico Rustlers, I call them) and also in the 20 years at the monastery.

Sidenote: In this regard, it would be helpful to really look closely at the writing of Uspensky to see how the original 1845 observations jive with the finals results in 1859.

(17) Constantine Simonides Was a Notorious Con Artist. It may be helpful, when evaluating Simonides’ claims about Codex Sinaiticus, to observe his other activities that he undertook at about the same time that he published those claims. In the same letter written by Simonides that was published in The Guardian on September 3, 1862, Simonides claimed that while at Saint Catherine’s Monastery in 1852, he had not only seen the codex, but also, among the manuscripts in the library, he found “the pastoral writings of Hermas, the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew, and the disputed Epistles of Aristeas to Philoctetes (all written on Egyptian papyrus of the first century).” He had mentioned this manuscript earlier, in a book with the verbose title, Fac-Similes of Certain Portions of the Gospel of St. Matthew, and of the Epistles of Ss. James & Jude, Written on Papyrus in the First Century, and Preserved in the Egyptian Museum of Joseph Mayer, Esq. Liverpool.
In that book, Simonides claimed that in the antiquities collection of a resident of Liverpool, England named Joseph Mayer (a silversmith who was also an antiquities-collector), there were five papyrus fragments containing text from the Gospel of Matthew. After a long defense of the view that Matthew wrote his Gospel in Greek, rather than in Hebrew – and in this part of Simonides’ work there is some genuine erudition on display – Simonides described, complete with a transcription and notes about textual variants, this item. (The book even has pictures of the papyri.)
He claimed, for instance, that its text of Matthew 28:6 read “the Lord over death,” rather than simply “the Lord,” and he stated, “I prefer this text of Mayer’s codex over the others.” He also stated, “The 8th and 9th verses of the received version [i.e., the Textus Receptus] are extremely defective when compared with the text of Mayer’s’ codex.” Simonides belittled the usual readings of the passage [Matthew 28:9b] repeatedly, calling them incorrect and defective, “while Mayer’s codex gives the passage pure and correct, Καὶ ἰδοὺ ἐν τῷ πορεύεσθαι αὐτάς, ἀπήντησεν αὐταις ὁ Ἰησους λεγων Χαίρετε.”
As Simonides described the text of Matthew 19 on one of Mr. Mayer’s papyrus fragments, he remarked upon its text of verse 24: “ΚΑΛΩΝ is the reading I found in a most ancient manuscript of Matthew, preserved in the Monastery of Mount Sinai (Vide fac-simile No. 8, Plate I. p. 40.) This remarkable and precious manuscript, which I inspected on the spot, was written only 15 years after Matthew’s death, as appears from a statement appended by the copyist Hermodorus, one of the seventy disciples mentioned in the Gospel. It is written on Egyptian papyrus, an unquestionable token of the highest antiquity.”
Max Müller, in the journal The Athenaeum, in an article written on December 7, 1861, harshly reviewed the career of Simonides before declaring that “not one of these pretended documents is genuine.” Simonides, Müller wrote, had once visited Athens and had claimed that among the manuscripts at Mount Athos, he had found “an ancient Homer,” but when examined, this document “turned out to be a minutely accurate copy of Wolf’s edition of that poet, errata included!” That is, the supposedly ancient handwritten text was based on a printed edition of Homer.
Müller proceeded to list several more attempts by Simonides to defraud people with false antiquities. After Simonides had been repeatedly exposed as a charlatan, Müller contended, he “came soon afterward to Western Europe, bearing with him a goodly stock of rarities, and a reputation which the Cretans of the Apostolic times would have envied.” [The meaning of this remark is that the Cretans were notoriously dishonest, a la Titus 1:12, but Simonides’ reputation was far worse.]
Müller also mentioned that at a meeting of the Royal Society of Literature in May of 1853, Simonides presented what he claimed to be “four books of the Iliad from his “uncle Benedictus of Mount Athos,” an Egyptian Hieroglyphical Dictionary containing an exegesis of Egyptian history,” and “Chronicles of the Babylonians, in Cuneiform writing, with interlinear Greek” – but by the end of the day, it was pointed out that “the so-called cuneiform characters belonged to no recognized form of these writings, while the Greek letters suspiciously resembled badly or carelessly formed Phoenician characters.”
Müller’s summary of Simonides’ career as a huckster of forgeries stopped with his mention of “the explosion of the Uranius bubble.” By this phrase, Müller was referring to an earlier incident in which Simonides had offered to sell to the German government what he claimed to be an ancient palimpsest, containing the remains – 284 columns of text – of a work by a Greek historian named Uranius about the early history of Egypt, over which, it seemed, other compositions had been written in the 1100’s.
The members of the Academy of Berlin were persuaded, except for Alexander Humboldt, that it would be worthwhile to make a scholarly edition of this newfound text, and this task was undertaken by K. Wilhelm Dindorf. Eventually, however, a closer examination of the document, by Constantine Tischendorf and others, was undertaken, and with the help of chemicals and a microscope it became clear that the document was a fake (or half-fake – the forged ancient writing which, chronologically, should have had the medieval writing written over it, was above it instead). In 1856, Simonides was arrested, as reported on page 478 of the National Magazine. The case was not pursued in the courts; instead, Simonides left the country.
Tischendorf, in a letter written in December of 1862, responding to Simonides’ claim to have made Codex Sinaiticus, reminded his readers about that incident: “He contrived to outwit some of the most renowned German savants, until he was unmasked by myself.”
This should provide some idea of the nature of Simonides’ career, and how he worked: he created fraudulent manuscripts, using genuinely old – but blank or already used – papyrus or parchment on which to introduce his own work. He also occasionally acquired genuine manuscripts (including several Greek New Testament minuscules), in the hope that the affirmation of their genuineness would rub off on his own creations. He was guilty of fraud many times over.
After Tischendorf had helped expose the fraud that Simonides had come very close to pulling over on the Berlin Academy, Simonides may have afterwards harbored a strong desire to embarrass, or at least distract, Tischendorf. This may be why he later claimed that the most important manuscript Tischendorf ever encountered was actually the work of Simonides himself – a claim which, had it been true, would have drawn into question the accuracy of Tischendorf’s earlier appraisal of the Uranius palimpsest.

James is labouriosly demonstrating that Simonides had "a very particular set of skills" that could pull off the replica or forgery. Even today, some items like the Artemidorus papyrus are debated as to whether they were done by Simonides.

Charles van der Pool, knowledgeable about the orthodox and manuscripts, gave us a pithy comment on this style of argumentation:

The Apostolic Bible Polyglot Translator's Note
The Mount Sinai Manuscript of the Bible

"Lastly I find it somewhat comical that the charge against a forger was that he was convicted of forgery...that would seem to be more of a proof of his 'credentials.'"
As for the specifics, James misses a lot. He does not even mention the Hermas of Simonides, that had the potential to torpedo the Sinaiticus enterprise. Nor does he mention the Barnabas of Simonides, which also fits perfectly with Simonides having helped prepare the Simoneidos manuscript at Sinai.

Nor does James mention the linguistic accusation by Tischendorf of the Simonides Hermas being from a later Latin. And then how Tischendorf retracted that accusation! (The accusation had to be withdrawn, since it would boomerang against Sinaiticus, as pointed out by the learned Scottish scholar James Donaldson.)

James gives the "pique" motive for Simonides. However, the historical corroboration of actually being in Athos and working on the manuscripts in Athos at precisely the right time, with Benedict and Kallinikos, belie that whole idea. The history being proven by the 1895-1900 catalogues of Spyridon Lambros. (This discovery, refuting the Kallinikos phantom theory, was one of a number of reasons why James Anson Farrer, in the 1907 Literary Forgeries, remained quite sympathetic to the idea that Simonides was a key part of the team that actually had written the manuscript.)

Similarly all the impossible manuscript and historical Tischendorf knowledge given by Simonides and Kallinikos. Including the 1844 theft of the 43 leaves, which we now can easily see as 100% factual, we even have the incriminating letter from Tischendorf to his wife. And, most dramatically, the colouring of the manuscirpt by Tischendorf, now visible, only after the 2009 Codex Sinaiticus Project used professional photography, skilled committees and placed the full manuscript online. (At the time they actually believed this was one harmonious ancient manuscript!) And then little things like the bumbling Greek of Tischendorf.

Similarly, Simonides knew there was no provenance for the manuscript, no catalogue entry (which would have ended the controversy quickly) because Simonides knew the monastery and he knew when they received the manuscript. The claim of "ancient catalogues":

ancient catalog at St. Catherine's Monastery?

that would prove Sinaiticus antiquity was simply one of the defensive lies that was quietly dropped.

This list of historical impossibilities goes on and on. In point of fact there are more evidences for friendship and cooperation between Tischendorf and Simonides (allowing the period of tension after the Hermas publication which was embarrassing to the forthcoming Sinaiticus) than of enmity. Even after all was said and done, Simonides had a faked death, and was working in the major Tischendorf stomping-ground, St. Petersburg, working on the Russian historical archives!

John 21:24-25 in Codex Sinaiticus,
viewed under ultraviolet light.

(18) The Last Verse of John Was Initially Omitted in Codex Sinaiticus. Although Tischendorf insisted that there was something weird about the final verse of John in Codex Sinaiticus, this was doubted by subsequent researchers, since even in photographs nothing seemed amiss. When the scholars Milne and Skeat, studying the manuscript in the early 1930’s for the British Museum, applied ultraviolet light to the passage, however, Tischendorf was vindicated: the copyist at this point finished the text at the end of 21:24, and drew his coronis, and wrote the closing-title of the book – and then he erased the closing-title (gently scraping away the ink) and the coronis, and the closing title. Then he added verse 25 immediately following verse 24, and remade a new coronis and closing-title. All this is as plain as day, as long as one has an ultraviolet light handy to examine the manuscript.

A thoughtful copyist could decide to reject the final verse, regarding it as a note by someone other than John. And his supervisor could overrule his overly meticulous decision. But Simonides would have had no reason to stop writing at the end of verse 24, add the coronis and closing-title, and then undo his work and remake the text with verse 25 included.
The insisting of Tischendorf, and the weird berating of Samuel Tregelles on this question, was itself quite suspicious. It is one of the many items that indicate that Tischendorf knew more about the actual production of the manuscript than he ever acknowledged. You get the sense that Tischendorf was familiar with the scribe and/or the supposed diorthote, and thus had "absolute confidence" (Gwynn) that the original Sinaiticus John ended at 24. Note that all of this internlinked with the strained Tischendorf desire to claim that a Sinaiticus scribe also worked on Vaticanus. (Such a connection would thus prove Sinaiticus antiquity. In the 1860s the scholars, especially the learned Hilgenfeld, even without knowing the details of the colouring and the parchment, and duped by the facsimile, argued that Sinaiticus was hundreds of years later than claimed by Tischendorf.)

Tischendorf in 1859 in his 7th edition specifically noted Codex 63 as omitting the John 21:25 verse, so he was well aware of the textual anomaly. In fact, this was corrected in 1864 by Scrivener, the manuscript had simply lost a leaf.

Tischendorf had such a vested interest in wanting this verse out of the Bible that he even omitted it (against thousands of manuscripts and many church writer citations) in his 1869 Greek New Testament edition! All very strange.

Everything about the ending of John 21 is simply suspicious, strongly indicating that Tischendorf knew more about the production of the manuscript than he let on, and this was the reason for his "absolute confidence". His omitting the verse from his Greek New Testament was just one of many indications that the man was a charlatan and unbalanced.

Tischendorf ... has gone so far as to adopt the extreme measure of striking the verse out of the text, in face of the concurrent testimony borne to it by countless patristic authorities, all versions and all manuscripts, cursive and uncial alike, including (on prima facie view) his own, then recently discovered, Codex Sinaiticus (X).

Hermethea - p. 374 (1893)
John Gwynn

it is quoted without the least misgiving by a long array ot Patristic writers from Origen (who alleges it five times over) and Pamphilus downwards; and it is exactly in St. John’s simple manner to assert broadly that which cannot be true to the letter, leaving its necessary limitation to the common sense of the reader {see John vii. 39 ; 1 John iii. 9).- Scrivener, Full Collation p.LIX
In general, the copyists of Sinaiticus were rarely doing the original manuscirpt in a "thoughtful" manner. They blundered everywhere. As for mind-reading the production and thinking of Simonides, Benedict and other people working on the manuscript, that once again means little.

Yet even if Tischendorf was somehow simply sincerely mistaken, there is no reason why a bumbling Simonides, or his compatriot, might not simply err, miss a verse, and make the correction. Sinaiticus is filled up with scribal errors.

(19) The Lettering on Some Pages of Sinaiticus Has Been Reinforced. On page after page, the lettering that was first written on the page has been reinforced; that is, someone else has written the same letters over them, so as to ensure the legibility of what was once faded. The first page of Isaiah is a good example. This reinforcement was not undertaken mechanically, but thoughtfully; the reinforcer did not reinforce letters and words that he considered mistakes; he introduced corrections, such as in 1:6, where the reading καιφαλης is replaced by κεφαλης. Inasmuch as it is highly unlikely that the writing of a manuscript made in 1841 would be so faded that it would need to be reinforced within a few years, this weighs heavily against Simonides’ story.

Answered on BVDB

Isaiah 1 is an unusual page, with wild markings on top, and it can not be given as a "good example" without many additional pages also mentioned. By itself it is selective observation.
https://codexsinaiticus.org/en/manuscri ... omSlider=5

If there is reinforcement, then we should easily be able to show letters where the underwriting was not covered.

And on verse 1:6, you may have erasure, and a simple correction.
And that correction can be by the original scribe, or a reviewer the same day.
And weak ink is common, and can occasion immediate retouching, not necessarily hundreds of years later.

If James has a scholarly source for the claim that this page had a major reinforcement, covering large swaths of the page, hundreds of years after the manuscript was produced, then he should give the specific reference.

If he wants to simply claim his own observation, then where is the underwriting visible?

In the big picture, as an argument this is a fallacy of selective observation. In fact, the same can be said of the whole approach of James Snapp. Major in the minors, and totally ignore elephants in the living room.

There are ink and parchment anomalies everywhere on Sinaiticus, that do not match a supposed 1650+ years of heavy use. There is ink that is far too strong and clear, with virtually no acidic action on the parchment. We have pages on the anomalies on the Facebook Sinaiticus forum and on the PureBibleForum. We have the related puzzle of why Tischendorf trimmed the manuscript, eliminating notes.

We have the total refutation of the Tischendorf account once you read Uspensky's research on the white parchment manuscript in 1845. The New Testament was well known to both men, it was not hidden till 1859. Tischendorf mangled the manuscript, and this was reported accurately by Kallinikos.

Neither England nor Leipzig have had ANY chemical analysis of parchment or ink. When it analysis was planned in Leipzig in 2015, to be done by the world-class materials testing BAM group from Berlin, the plans were simply cancelled.

If you simply do a section with a weak ink or pen, it may need reinforcement. Sometimes I reinforce my own writing, if I used a mediocre pen, five minutes later. Thus the small amounts of reinforcement in Sinaiticus mean little. (The reports of Sinaiticus reinforcement are not consistent.)

James Snapp does not mention the ultra-supple "phenomenally good condition" (Helen Shenton, British Library) of the parchment and ink, simply because it essentially proves that the manuscript is not from antiquity. The Russian scientist Morozov pegged this right away, when he was able to actually see the manuscript in St. Petersburg. He essentially laughed at the claim that this was 1500+ years old, with lots of ongoing use during those years.

(20) Pages from Near the End of the Shepherd of Hermas in Codex Sinaiticus Are Extant.
When Simonides wrote his letter for The Guardian in 1862, he very clearly stated he concluded it with “the first part of the pastoral writings of Hermas,” but his work then ended “because the supply of parchment ran short.” Such a description plausibly interlocked with what one could discern at the time about the contents of Codex Sinaiticus by reading Tischendorf’s description of it. At the time, only the first 31 chapters of the text of Hermas were known to be extant in Codex Sinaiticus; that is all that Tischendorf had recovered from Saint Catherine’s Monastery. However, in 1975, when the “New Finds” were discovered, they included damaged pages from Hermas – to be specific, from chapters 65-68 and chapters 91-95.
The Shepherd of Hermas has a total of 114 chapters. In no sensible way can Simonides’ statement that he wrote “the first part” of Hermas and stopped there be interlocked with the existence of pages containing the 95th of its 114 short chapters.

The clear and incriminating implication of this evidence is that Simonides’ report about how he produced the codex, including the prominent detail that he wrote the first part of Hermas but stopped there because he ran out of parchment, was shaped by his awareness of Tischendorf’s description of the codex, which stated that there was no text of Hermas extant after that point. If Simonides had actually written the codex, he would have said something to the effect that a large part of his work was missing.
Simonides and Kallinikos did say that the manuscript had been mangled and taken apart by Tischendorf.

As for Hermas, the simplest explanation is that Simonides, like many, had a tendency to say what was convenient. Not trying to be too contrary to the English opposition, he fudged elements of the story.Especially as the Brits listening to his story at times accused him of having made a forgery, not a replica, and that was not his purpose.

The Hermas New Finds discovery is especially interesting as that was the most embarrassing section of the 1844 Simoneidos document. Tischendorf wanted the Hermas and Barnabas discovery (they had already been reported by Uspensky and he writes as if the Hermas was complete in 1845), but the linguistic issues that came out around 1856 might torpedo the whole enterprise. Tischendorf accused the Hermas of Simonides of having later Latin elements. Then he found it the better discretion to quietly retract the accusation, in Latin, in a confusing section. James Donaldson said that this accusation also applies to the Sinaiticus Hermas. And, my conjecture is that it applies to the later parts of Sinaiticus (which Donaldson did not see.) Thus, Tischendorf limited the Sinaiticus Hermas damage by dumping much of the document in the dump room.

As a sidenote, it should be mentioned that in 1859 Simonides, in his biography, was intent on using the supposed antiquity of Sinaiticus (not yet named) as a wedge to claim antiquity for documents he was trying to sell in England. If such a nice parchment document actually dates to the first centuries, then you should surely accept these documents here, even though they don't really look and feel that old. Simonides was being practical, using the situation.

More evidence against the plausibility of Simonides’ story could be accumulated: indications that the copyists of Sinaiticus at least occasionally wrote from dictation, and the existence of textual variants (in Matthew 13:54, Acts 8:5, and First Maccabees 14:5) which suggest that a copyist was working at or near Caesarea, and the remarkable similarity between the design of the coronis applied by Scribe D at the end of Tobit and after Mark 16:8 in Sinaiticus, and the design of the coronis at the end of Deuteronomy in Codex Vaticanus, and the drastic shift in the text’s quality in Revelation, and more. But enough is enough.
As I explained above, the sloppy work of the Russico Rustlers fits perfectly with some of the work being by dictation. The Caesarea element is simply a somewhat strained theory, e.g. Ropes had a different take on the Acts variant than Hardy. We could look at it more, if James wants to really give it aas an argument. As for a coronis similarity with Codex Vaticanus, remember than Tischendorf saw (and even claimed in 1870 to have made a facsimile) Vaticanus and this design info could have easily transported to Sinaiticus by 1859, in varous vectors of transmission (similar to the Acts sections which we discussed above.) The text of Revelation really makes no sense for a 300s copy, Juan Hernandez notes similarities to later commentaries.

Simonides’ motives for spreading the false claim that he made Codex Sinaiticus may be a mystery till Judgment Day, but his guilt is not hidden at all. He was a well-educated charlatan, and his claims about Codex Sinaiticus were false, as Tischendorf, Tregelles, Bradshaw, Scrivener, Wright, and others, equipped with the skill to evaluate the evidence, and the wisdom to evaluate the accuser, have already made clear.
James Snapp is writing for all the Tischend-dupes. The ONLY one of those gentlemen who actually saw the two sections of the manuscript was .. Tischendorf.

The 2009 Codex Sinaiticus Project, which laid bare the colour tampering of the manuscript, precisely as charged and explained by Kallinikos c. 1863 (the colouring having taken place in the 1850s) really ends the charade. We have the beautiful BEFORE and AFTER evidence that simiply demolishes this stain upon New Testament Bible studies.

After that, additional evidences came forth in many directions, corroborating the exposure of the Tischendorf charade, which became a major part of the quest to make an alternative competitor to the Reformation Bible.

Steven Avery
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Steven Avery


Tommy Wasserman said...
An eleventh reason: a few years ago another fragment of Sinaiticus was found in the binding of an 18th century book at St Catherine's. Here is a report: https://www.google.se/amp/www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/fragment-from-worlds-oldest-bible-found-hidden-in-egyptian-monastery-1780274.html?amp
James Snapp
Tommy,Indeed! Thanks. If those books at St. Catherine's haven't already been investigated, someone should get them to Erik Kwakkel, who has the means to look into bindings non-destructively.

This was discussed on the textual criticism forum, and we have a page on it here on the PBF.

Currently we have some here:

New Finds as an 1840-1850s Sinaticius work or dump zone

However, we plan to next add the discussion from the textual criticism forum.
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Steven Avery

With James Snapp working the “don’t believe your eyes, don’t believe the Codex Sinaiticus Project pictures” angle, he is always pushing his 3-part multiplication of nothings.

Thus, this post will make the response higher up for visitors.
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Steven Avery

James Snapp on the ETC blog:

James Snapp
"if you want to see the Simonides fantasy get pulverized, I debated Steven Avery on the subject a few months ago; the debate was over three hours long; you're welcome."


Thank you James for giving the url to the debate. Listeners can now make their decisions about the issues. (To be continued)

And this will be combined with
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Steven Avery

Ten More Reasons Sinaiticus Was Not Made by Simonides

Hi NATO-Pungen and friends,

And I do not think any post of mine was deleted by James, maybe I deleted one to reenter it better in Jan, 2018. You can see my answer to the 'multiplication of nothings' of James at the url in the post above, but that url is stale.

The new (Xenforo, changed from vBulletin) url with my answers to James:

James Snapp attempts to defend authenticity of Sinaiticus - multiplication of nothings
Post 4-5-6 are the response to these three articles.

We also had a discussion/debate:

“The Worlds Oldest Bible is a REPLICA: Simonides the Scribe.”
James Snapp, Jr. vs Steven Avery

PBF - Archive

Facebook - PureBible

And look forward to a Round Two, where we both can be more focused! The health situation with James understandably has held it back a bit.

Vaticanus is complicated, with its washed-out and written over text. Clearly the 4th century date became settled scholarship because it fit the Westcott-Hort recension theories. Although that date had been the guess of Hug, while others had been 5th or 6th century. As far as I can see, it is hard to make an argument that the original text was late medieval. And I have some discussions of this on the Pure Bible Forum.

Steven Avery
Dutchess County, NY USA
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Steven Avery

2023 - cl apparatus on Sinaiticus unusual readings

Sinaiticus Contains Many Non-Alexandrian Readings Which Are Singular or Almost Singular. A person creating a text in the early 1800’s based on a printed Greek Bible and a few manuscripts from Mount Athos would have neither the means nor the motive to create many readings found in Codex Sinaiticus. Such a person would occasionally make a mistake which at least one earlier copyist also made – but the appearance of so many singular or almost singular readings – not just mistakes – in Codex Sinaiticus puts very heavy strain on the theory that they were made by someone in the early 1800’s who was attempting to produce a gift for the Russian Emperor, because in such a setting there is nothing to provoke them. Some examples from chapters 1 and 2 of the Gospel of Luke:

The variant Ἰουδαίας (of Judah) instead of Γαλιλαίας (of Galilee) in 1:26.
Galilee Γαλιλαίας
Judea Ἰουδαίας
also Matthew 1:28 has Capernaum in Judea.
luke 4:44 has the shared Judea with Vaticanus


There is a correction to Galilee.

The harmonization και πατριας (“and lineage”) in 1:27.

700 - unknown location
1424 - Drama, Greece
C L f1
L is Regius - Paris
To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph,
of the house of David;
and the virgin's name was Mary.
maybe Zacynthius but that is Luke 2, similar

The variant Θεου (“God”) instead of Κυρίου (“Lord”) in 2:9.

κυρίου] Byz ς WH
θεοῦ] ‭א2 Ξ Ψ 892 pc itc ite itz vg syrh(mg) Eusebius
omit] D pc it

The insertion of πονηροι (“evil”) at the end of 2:35.

35 (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.

The term διαλογισμοί , thoughts, has usually an unfavourable signification in the N. T.; it indicates the uneasy working of the understanding in the service of a bad heart. The epithet πονηροί , added by the Sinaiticus, is consequently superfluous. These words of Simeon breathe a concentrated indignation. We feel that this old man knows more about the moral condition of the people and their rulers than he has a mind to tell.

The variant ἐβδομήκοντα (70) instead of ὀγδοήκοντα (80) in 2:37.
ὀγδοήκοντα τεσσάρων] Byz WH
ὀγδοηκοντατεσσάρων] ς

βδομηκοντα was immediately corrected

The omission of Ἰησους (“Jesus”) in 2:43.
Nothing in LaParola
Bezae Latin 87
AV And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.
Blue Letter Bible
2:43 καὶ τελειωσάντων τὰς ἡμέρας ἐν τῷ ὑποστρέφειν αὐτοὺς ὑπέμεινεν Ἰησοῦς ὁ παῖς ἐν Ἰερουσαλήμ καὶ οὐκ ἔγνω Ἰωσὴφ καὶ ἡ μήτηρ αὐτοῦ

εορτηϲ και τελιω
ϲαντων ταϲ ημε
ραϲ εν τω ϋποϲτρε
φειν αυτουϲ ϋπε
ο παιϲ ε
ν ϊερουϲαλημ
και ουκ εγνωϲαν
Nomina Sacra was there and omitted by ca. (which came first?)

The variant Θεου instead of παρὰ Θεω in 2:52.

An immediate correction.
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Steven Avery

The variant Και αναστασα instead of Ἀναστασα δε (both meaning “And rising up”) in 1:39.

αναϲταϲα δε μαριαμ
εν ταιϲ ημεραιϲ ταυ
ταιϲ επορευετο ειϲ
την ορινην μετα
ϲπουδηϲ ειϲ πολιν

Και αναστασα is in Alexandrinus
The harmonization ἐν ἀγαλλιάσει (“in joy”) in 1:41.
ms 44 from Athos

The variant διὰ (“through,” or, “because of”) instead of διελαλειτο πάντα in 1:65.

The insertion of λέγοντες (“saying”) in 2:15.
15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.


The omission of the last εἰς (“for”) in 2:34.
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