scholars seeing Sinaiticus as later than 4th century - Gardthausen references

Steven Avery


Sister Threads - Traffic Cop

Hilgenfeld and the German date debate of the 1860s


This is an area that has barely been noticed by those accepting authenticity as an early manuscript. The powerhouse teaming up of Tischendorf, with backing from some German scholars (e.g. Wieseler) and the Westcott-Hort positioning pushed hard for the early date. Thus it became a "consensus" with minimal discussion of the reasons for or against.

Very, very few individuals, even up to 2009, had ever seen the Tale of Two Manuscripts. (ie. seen photos that accurately showed the colour, or had seen the German and Russian->English sections with their own eyes.) Very few knew the Hermas history with the Tischendorf retraction, or the Donaldson linguistic arguments. And the 1843 Barnabas of Simonides was totally hidden from view until recently.

Quotes and references are planned to be added here.


Porphyrius Uspensky (1804-1885)

It would be very helpful to read all the material from Uspensky, yet even from what we have he did not accept the fourth century date, leaning more to 500 AD. One element was believing that Euthalian elements from after 460 AD were used in the styles and sectioning. (This may be sense-line sections.) Later, he may have noted the parchment differences.

Adolf Bernhard Christoph Hilgenfeld (1823-1907)

Hilgenfeld is one of the very top German scholars, and he had a few reasons for seeing a later date.

Karl August Julius Hoffmann, (1812-1869)

Referenced by Gardthausen

James Donaldson (1831-1915)

You can see hints of authenticity questioning from Donaldson, as he placed his linguistic questioning as supporting, at the earliest, the Hilgenfeld date of around 600s. In addition the church writing editions would report the Barnabas 1843 edition of Simonides as "Sinaitic Barnabas".

David J. Trobisch

A friend of his on the forums reported a few times, reliably, that Trobisch questioned the 4th century date, thinking maybe 200-300 years later. Since Trobisch, like many, has connections with the material put out by the British Library (e.g. he spoke at the 2009 conference with a
paper on Codex Sinaiticus and the Formation of the Christian Bible published
) and the Critical Text textual establishment as a whole (part of the Nestle-Aland new edition group) a public statement from Trobisch questioning the fourth century date would be welcome and surprising, but unlikely. When the authenticity question was posed, according to the report from his friend, he deferred from any particular response and may not have considered it an issue. Here is one example:

"Trobisch thinks Sinaiticus might not even be that old. He's not adverse to even the 7th century for the text. Private conversation"
Stephan Huller - Feb 13, 2014
"I was interviewing David Trobisch for my new documentary a month back and one of my questions was "is the Codex Sinaiticus important?" (I don't write the questions). His answer was interesting. He says that he isn't at all sure about the early date given the text. The earliest possible date is determined by the dates of Eusebius. A compelling case could in turn be made for a fifth or even sixth century date.

[textualcriticism] Re: The Date of P52
Steve Huller - August 15, 2009
This was a wide ranging interview: ... the egotism and vanity of Biblical scholars, David Trobisch's suggestion that Codex Sinaiticus could date from the 8th century ...

Stephan Huller Interview on Aeon Byte Gnostic Radio
Post by Blood » Sat Dec 21, 2013
David Trobisch gave the key note address at the recent Codex Sinaiticus conference in London (July 6, 2009). As his knowledge of the text far surpasses my own I will have to defer to his opinions on the subject. His speech in London was entitled ‘Codex Sinaiticus and the formation of the Christian Bible.’ His conclusions were that the manuscript isn’t nearly as old as the hype suggests. He dates the text to the fifth or even sixth century. He believes that many people with a vested interest in promoting the work gave it the earliest date possible which is the early fourth century.

Is Codex Sinaiticus Important?
August 2, 2009

So why doesn't Trobisch say this publicly? You would think it would be a helpful, yet fairly harmless, scholastic observation. Yet in the heated politics of the Critical Text, that could make him a type of heretic. Maybe he would not be invited to write articles for the British Library conferences and books. Note that exposing the 4th century textual criticism palaeographic date as being political would clearly allow more consideration that the Sinaiticus manuscript is simply not an ancient document.


Keep in mind that seeing that the 400s date has real problems is also a support for an overall authenticity questioning. And that the historic use of the manuscript by Westcott and Hort required the early date assignment.

Gardthausen will take a careful read, he reported Donaldson and Hoffman.

We should also look at the Tischendorf replies, one book is easily available in German.

Tischendorf was also countering some arguments from an anonymous writers and the authenticity question raised by Simoindes.

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Steven Avery

Gardthausen references Birt and Bell as 5th and 6th century

Also referenced by Gardthausen

Harold Idris Bell - 5th century

Early Codices from Egypt (1909)
Harold Idris Bell

Codex Sinaiticus of the Bible (early fifth century)

Theodor Birt (1852-1933) - 6th or 5th century

Das antike Buchwesen in seinem Verhältniss zur Litteratur (1882)
Theodor Birt

In general, there is no indication that the men had seen the manuscript, or discussed the condition of the parchment.

Griechische Palaeographie - 1911
Victor Emil Gardthausen - (1843-1925)

p. 125 - also Gregory
Kirsopp Lake - 4th century

Gardthausen by Jongkind

Birt Lake Bell .jpg

Looking for Donaldson (p. 126 and 128) and Hoffman (p. 126) mentioned above.

Hoffman Donaldson.jpg

However, attempts have been made to bring him down much further. Hoffmann1 considers the Ambrosian and the Syriac rescribed Iliad older than the c. Sinaiticus, which Hilgenfeld and Donaldson2 put into the sixth century for linguistic reasons.

Here is a longer version:

p. 126 is Donaldon and Hoffmann

Hoffman Donaldson longer version.jpg


p. 127-128


So here we have

Shepherd of Hermas, Chapter 25, Verse 5, Quire 93, Folio 6, verso
ο δε αποκριθειϲ μοι λεγει μη ϲυνχυννου αλλα ϊϲχυροποιου εν τεϲ ταιϲ ελτολαιϲ μου αιϲ ϲοι

Psalms, Chapter 52, Verse 3, Quire 60, Folio 6, verso
επι τουϲ υιουϲ υϊουϲ των ανθρωπων του ϊδειν ει εϲτιν ϲυνιων η εκζητων τον θν
Barnabas, Chapter 10, Verse 12, Quire 91, Folio 5, verso
τουτο περιετεμε ταϲ ακοαϲ ημων και ταϲ καρδιαϲ ινα ϲυνιωμεν ταυτα ·
Barnabas, Chapter 12, Verse 10, Quire 91, Folio 6, verso
ϋϊοϲ δαδ εϲτιν αυτοϲ ο προφητευει δαδ φοβουμενοϲ και ϲυνιων την πλανην τω αμαρτωλων . ειπεν κϲ τω κω μου καθου
2 Esdras, Chapter 20, Verse 29, Quire 36, Folio 3, recto
αυτων ϋϊοι αυτων ˙ θυγατερεϲ αυτων · παϲ ο ειδωϲ και ϲυνιων
Psalms, Chapter 13, Verse 2, Quire 59, Folio 3, verso
επι τουϲ υιουϲ υϊουϲ των ανθρωπων του ϊδειν ει εϲτιν ϲυνιων ϲυνϊων η εκζητων τον θν
Psalms, Chapter 40, Verse 2, Quire 60, Folio 3, verso
μακαριοϲ ο ϲυνιων ϲυνϊων επι πτωχον και πενητα εν ημερα πονηρα ρυϲεται


Shepherd of Hermas, Chapter 1, Verse 3, Quire 93, Folio 1, recto
ουν τον ποταμον εκινον · ηλθον ειϲ τα ομαλα · και τιθω τα γονατα και ηρξαμη προϲευχεϲθαι · τω θω και εξομολογειϲθαι
Shepherd of Hermas, Chapter 5, Verse 2, Quire 93, Folio 1, verso
ελθων ουν ειϲ τον τοπον τιθω τα γονατα και ηρξαμην προϲευχεϲθε τω κω και δοξαζειν
Mark, Chapter 6, Verse 41, Quire 76, Folio 6, recto
κλαϲαϲ τουϲ αρτουϲ κ(αι) εδιδου τοιϲ μαθηταιϲ ϊνα παρατιθωϲιν παραθωϲιν αυτοιϲ και τουϲ · β · ϊχθυαϲ εμεριϲεν
Mark, Chapter 8, Verse 6, Quire 76, Folio 7, recto
ευχαριϲτηϲαϲ εκλαϲεν και εδιδου τοιϲ μαθηταιϲ αυτου ϊνα παρατιθωϲιν και παρεθηκαν τω οχλω

ιφιουσι αφιουcι ??

as the Hermas forms referenced by Garthausen.

Remember, Joseph Verheyden says that some of the Barnabas forms did show up in papyri.

There is also a lot from Tischendorf, and the 5th and 6th century are mentioned in that section, higher up in the page. On p. 118 is some discussion of Tischendorf, Sinaiticus and monogram. The Gardthausen book could use a full Sinaiticus search, probably the 1911 edition is best.

Gardthausen is definitely misreporting Donaldson, who was only giving an earliest possible date. Remember, he wrote with Scottish irony and triple hedging:

"There are many circumstances in this narrative calculated to awaken suspicion, and there are other circumstances of an equally suspicious nature which I have not mentioned. But those who are most competent to judge, have allowed that it seems a genuine ancient manuscript."

Karl August Julius Hoffmann (1812-1869) - the reference needs more study

Similarly, the Hilgenfeld material needs more careful review.
We have some here.

Hilgenfeld and the German date debate of the 1860s

Again, most of the writers were flying blind, working off the tampered Tischendorf facsimile.
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Steven Avery

Einundzwanzigstes und zweiundzwanzigstes Buch (?? und X) der Ilias: Nach Handschriften und den Scholien herausgegeben . I
Carl August Julius Hoffmann




•) Nach Tischendorf findet sich eine solehe Verkleinerung der Buchstaben am Ende einer Zeile oder Columne erst vom sechsten Jahrhundert an häufiger. Der Ambrosianus scheint sie noch nicht zu haben. Doch wird man bei poetischen Werken, weil eine Zeile einen ganzen Vers enthalten muste, daraus nicht viel schliessen dürfen. Wir halten nach Schrift und Abbreviaturen den Ambros. und den Syriacus für älter als den Sinaiticus N. T. haben aber kein sicheres Urteil darüber.

According to Tischendorf, such a reduction in the size of the letters at the end of a line or column only occurs more frequently from the sixth century onwards. The Ambrosianus doesn't seem to have them yet. But in the case of poetic works, because a line must contain a whole verse, one cannot conclude much from it. According to scripture and abbreviations, we hold Ambros. and the Syriacus for older than the Sinaiticus N. T. but have no sure judgment about it

1897 - Trenkle
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