Tischendorf would have preferred to have one consistent colour manuscript

Steven Avery


Tischendorf would not have a motive to colour the manuscript - the white parchment CFA was accepted as 4th century

Tischendorf of course would have preferred to have the manuscript consistent, so they could be viewed together.

However, that was impossible after 1844, since the 43 leaves could not be changed once they were deposited at the Leipzig library. In 1844, Tischendorf was still not sure what might be accepted, if he would be able to get the full Sinaticus out, whether his dating theories would be accepted, and other problems. So in 1844, Tischendorf simply worked with what he had (stole.)

So Tischendorf did the next best thing.
The section that went to St. Petersburg was coloured (it was just too dicey for the whole manuscript, including the bulk that really was of the most interest, with the NT, to be white parchment.)

1) Tischendorf made sure the two sections stayed far apart (Leipzig and St. Petersburg.)

2) Access to the two sections was extremely limited

3) For some years, he did not overtly acknowledge that it was the same manuscript.

4) Tischendorf created the facsimile and pointed all the scholars to the facsimile.

5) The facsimile hid the colour dispartiy.

6) The prolegomenas that he wrote deceived about the colour.

7) All this also helped hide the excellent, supple, non-oxidised, sans foxing, condition of the manuscript as a whole. The debate about the dates (which was disputed in the 1860s, even from those who accepted antiquity authenticity) always could be based on his printed facsimile.


Even later, other scholars and publishers played the game. The Hendrickson Publishers and British Library edition of November 2010 smoothed out the colour, so that there was no white parchment in the pictures of the 43 Leipzig leaves. They talked only of “sensitive adjustments” and no one took responsibility for this major colour tampering of the photographs. The actual Codex Sinaiticus Project, however, went the integrity route.

Now we might think that all this would not work, the scholars would expose Tischendorf.

Tischendorf got away with it while he was alive, receiving honours, fame and laurels. The little magician's trick (misdirection, look at the facsimile) worked. And then the sham lasted another 140 years. And even today, many people would prefer not to see the clear and obvious truth. Even when the Codex Sinaiticus Project ironically made the charade that had occurred crystal clear.


Please be sure to look at this British Library video:

The Codex Sinaiticus: The Oldest Surviving Christian New Testament - The Beauty of Books - BBC Four

And remember how Helen Shenton of the British Library shared that the manuscript is in "phenomenally good condition"!


Steven Avery
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