The Tale of Two Manuscripts

Steven Avery

It was the best of manuscripts, it was the worst of manuscripts..

Codex Sinaiticus - With appreciation to Charles Dickens

Steven Avery

The two manuscripts:


Codex Sinaiticus Propolitanus

10% - 43 leaves

1844 - 5 quires (35, 36, 37 48, 59, last 3 leaves from quire 34)
Sinai-> Leipzig

1845 - Uspensky sees the "white parchment" ms.

1846 - Facsimile published as Codex Friderico-Augustanus
very little information on parchment and ink condition

"The Codex Friderico-Augustanus ... the parchment .. extremely fine and delicate, and on the whole well preserved" - from Tischendorf

Despite the anomaly, and the lack of review of the ms. by qualified unbiased scientists, Tischendorf gives a palaeography summary and concludes, in a comparison that includes
Vaticanus, Dio Cassius, Alexandrinus, Ephraemi Rescriptus, Dioscorides:

if not the first, so it occupies an excellent location, he believes just to be able to put these last Codex approximately in the middle of the 4th century, but is content to have so that this question has not brought to a complete conclusion"

This anomaly of great preservation of a supposedly heavily used ms. in the desert heat is virtually ignored in Sinaiticus studies.

It applies to the coloured portion as well, as the colouring did not actually age the ms. it only affects an appearance of age.
The major quotes before 2009:
Russian scientist Morozov in 1910 blows the whistle on the condition, states point-blank that it is not anything close to 4th century.
Skeat and Milne in the 1930s contrast the "limp, dead" vellum of Alexandrinus with Sinaiticus. Reading between the lines, they are saying that Sinaiticus is amazingly flexible and supple for its supposed history.

1859-1865 - Tischendorf is slow to acknowledge CFA as Sinaiticus

1910 - wonderfully fine snow-white parchment
Ernst von Dobschutz (1870-1934)

Special elements:

"white parchment" - the colour of the whole ms. as seen in 1845, by Uspensky, before any staining
Total consistency of parchment
Parchment is supple and flexible, in good conservation
Little and no staining
Edges clean (i.e not handled for 1,000-1500 years in a monastery)
Super-Ink pages e.g.
(Retracing is never made clear in the Sinaiticus studies.)

Additional notes:

2 Pamphilus-Origen notes at end of 2 Esdras and Esther
Note: We must consider the possibility that the taking of those specific leaves with those notes was not simply accidental. The theories of the dating of those notes is a whole enterprise.

3 crosses note (specially noted as dual signification by Simonides)

Review of Tischendorf 1846 in Serapeum by Adelbert Lepsius


Codex Friderico-Augustanus

90% - 347 leaves.

1845 - Uspensky sees the "white parchment" ms.

1844-1859 -
ms is in Sinai, seen and handled by Uspensky, MacDonald and people at the monastery. Lots of unprovenanced times. Likely time when New Finds portions were dumped. In Simonides controversies, this was seen as a time when the ms. was mangled by Tischendorf

1859 - taken from Sinai to Cairo to St. Petersburg
lots of unprovenanced private time with ms. of Tischendorf and two German friends in Cairo, they are said to copy full ms., copy never heard from again
When ms. gets to Russia, Tischendorf handles it as his fiefdom

1860 - facsimile with a few pictures

c. 1862 - 1850s staining of ms. to add colour is noted in the Simonides controversies

1862 - full pricey facsimile publication in Leipzig

1933 - fire sale from Russia to England (fake icons reported in the sales of those years)

2009 - Codex Sinaiticus Project reveals the surprises, including:

Coloured and stained (totally different from CFA "white parchment")
wild inconsistency among the leaves "colour variance"

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Steven Avery

it is hard to even conceive of a simpler or stronger evidence

It is hard to even conceive of a simpler or stronger evidence of ms. tampering.

On the colouring, you are given The Tale of Two Manuscripts.

1) the 1844 Leipzig CFA 43 leaves left Sinai before the artificial colouring

2) the 1859 St. Petersburg CSP stayed in Sinai until after the colouring

So what do we see?

1) white parchment, all leaves the same colour

2) yellow parchment, yet not a real aged yellow colour like you would have with an aged brittle ms, simply an uneven colouring with lots of staining


The question we ask is, how could we be given a stronger evidence? Granted, nobody noticed and commented on this from 1860 to today, but then, hardly anybody could see the mss.

Steven Avery

and then you add the amazing "blind" historical corroboration

The above alone is a stronger evidence of colouring, tampering and chicanery of a manuscript than you could ever expect to have.

Then on top of that we have the historical details of the Simoinides and Kallinikos "called shot" that specifically placed the colouring in the 1850s in Sinai under the auspices of Tischendorf. People who were supposed to know nothing about the ms!

The two manuscript sections could have been checked in 1862-1864, when this was pointed out. Tischendorf kept the manuscripts away from England and the dupes simply let it go .. for 150 years!

The CSP uncovered the tale. Not deliberately, the people behind the CSP had also been duped into believing it was an old, non-tampered ms. So they simply brought the manuscript sections online in good faith.

And the we had The Tale of Two Manuscripts.