Tischendorf 1853 and 1859 theft of Arabic manuscript from St. Catherines - a similar two-step abstraction

Steven Avery

Islamica - Journal of Islamic Studies (1943) (not 1990)
by Umair Mirza
https://archive.org/details/volume-4/Volume 10/page/118/mode/2up

Kurt Weitzmann


p. 119-133 (extracts from 119-121)

Kurt Weitzmann (1904-1993)

From his second voyage to the Orient in 1853, Constantin Tischendorf brought back seventy-five leaves of an early Arabic manuscript containing the epistles of Paul.1 He showed this fragment to the orientalist Fleischer in Leipzig, who, on palaeographical evidence, dated it in the eighth or ninth century.2 Then Delitzsch examined the fragment3 and, on the basis of several passages concerning the nature of Christ, proved the Nestorian character of the Pauline epistles. Tischendorf, shrouding his find in the same secrecy with which he had tried to hide the provenance of the famous codex Sinaiticus, did not tell where he acquired the seventy-five Arabic leaves. Delitzsch stated explicitly, however, that Tischendorf had brought them from a monastery in Egypt and, since it is known not only that the two theologians were in close personal contact with each other but that Delitzsch had seen the leaves in Tischendorf’s house, it may rightly be assumed that the latter had, at least to some extent, given away the secret, though he did not reveal the name of the Egyptian monastery.

On his third voyage in 1859, Tischendorf acquired the remainder of the same manuscript, that is, 151 more leaves.4 Both parts, then, were given to the Russian czar, who deposited them in the Public Library in Leningrad, where the combined 226 folios became united again in one volume5 under the signature Arab. N. F. No. 327.

1 C. Tischendorf, Anecdota Sacra et Profana (2d ed.; Leipzig, 1861), pp. 13-14, No. XVI.
https://books.google.com/books?id=pKKHDRIVUI4C&pg=PA13 - 1855 first edition

2 H. L. Fleischer, (Heinrich Leberecht) “Beschreibung der von Prof. Tischendorf im Jahre 1853 aus dem Morgenlande zuriuckgebrachlen christlich-arabischen Handschriften,” Zeitschr.d. Deutsch. Morgenl. Gesellsch., VIII (1854), 584-85. On an additional plate he reproduced four text lines in facsimile.

3 F Delitzsch. Commentar zum Briefe an die Hebraer (Leipzig, 1857), pp. 764-69.

4 C. Tischendorf, Notitia editionis codicis bibliorum Sinaitici auspiciis Imperatoris Alexandri II susceptae (Leipzig, i860), p. 67.

5 The measurements are 27, 8 by 19, 8 cm.

p. 119

p. 120




p. 121
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Steven Avery

Coptic-Arabic miniatures - two-step 1853 and 1859 theft-extraction from St. Catherine's by Tischendorf - similar to Sinaiticus CFA 1844 and 1859

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I would like to follow up -
Does St. Catherine’s know of the 1853 theft?
What happened in 1859? Was it also theft?
What else was taken?
(From St. Catherine’s and other spots)
Is there a request for return by St. Catherine’s?
What international court or arbitration is involved?
If they pushed hard for Sinaiticus, would it’s worthlessness as an 1800s production come out?
What official claim is in on the 1844 CFA?
The 1859 haul has a history.
Where is the complete list of thefts?
Inquiring minds …..

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4 A sample of the script was reproduced by H. L. Fleischer, 'Beschreibung der von Prof. Tischendorf im Jahre 1853 aus dem Morgenlande zurüekgebrachten ... who correctly dated it before the portion of the manuscript be
aring the colophon turned up...
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