when did Simonides first share that he was involved in the production of Codex Sinaiticus - 1860 letter to Charles Stewart

Steven Avery

Publicly, in Sept 3, 1862 in the Guardian. (This is well-known.)


Plus in the letters, it is explained that he shared that much earlier.


In a letter from Tischendorf in 1859 he refers to Simonides difficulties, in the context of Sinaiticus. There may be more in the actual letters, this is just an extract:

Alexandria, 17 January 1859
p. 281
The Prussian consul and Russian consul [from Cairo] are old acquaintances of Tischendorf. The Russian vice-consul in Alexandria tells Tischendorf that during the past year the Russian consulate has done much in favour of the Sinai monastery : Good preparation ! All correspondence from the Synod in Petersburg goes through the Russian vice-consulate, and there is nothing to arouse suspicion. The goal of his journey is known at least here in Alexandria, but there is no connexion here with the monastery. He has heard again of the stories told by Simonides. He is in a hurry to go to Cairo and then further on to his goal.

The Discovery of the Codex Sinaiticus as reported in the personal letters of Konstantin Tischendorf
Michael Featherstone


In context we can see Simonides talking about the manuscript even before there was any public knowledge. While other explanations could be theorized the context seems clear.

Another interesting point is the blatant fabrication that Tischendorf simply accidentally found the New Testament in the room of the steward in Feb, 1859, the red cloth fabrication. Tischendorf knew all about the manuscript, and just made up cover stories that were transparent lies, told them again and again, and they are still repeated today.


St. Ippolyts, December 19lh, 1861.
Fenton Hort:
... As touching Simonides, I want to examine it carefully for myself. If you can get me the loan of a copy, so much the better; if not, I must buy it. One never knows where to have that fellow. He undoubtedly has found genuine and valuable MSS. as well as forgeries. To make the thing more complete, he says he forged Tischendorfs Sinai MS., which is the biggest lie of all.

Life and Letters of Fenton John Anthony Hort, Volume 1 (1896)
edited by Arthur Fenton Hort

Clearly there was a fair amount of discussion before anything was put in the Journals.
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Steven Avery


Tregelles ... spoke of it to J.E. Hodgkin in 1860 and in a letter to Sir Thomas Phillipps on August 2nd 1861. (See British Library Add MS 52502A folio 348 and the Phillipps Robinson MS. collection in the Bodleian Library). - Elliott

Also recheck the Tregelles "Unpublished Letters"
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Steven Avery

This was published in the SImonides book:

Periplus of Hannon

On July 27th, 1861, the Newspaper The "Literary Gazette" published:

"We understand that in literary circles, a rumour prevails that the manuscript now publishing by Russian government, under the direction of M. Tischendorf, purporting to be MS. Bible of the fourth century, is not an ancient manuscript, but is an entirely modern production, written by a gentleman now alive, who will shortly take measures to establish his claim to the authorship. The manuscript is known as the Codex Sinaiticus, and has attracted a large amount of attention throughout Europe. Should the rumor prove to be correct, as we believe it will, the disclosure that will follow, must be of the greatest interest to archaeology." - Literary Gazette, No. 161, July 27, 1861​

1861 Rumour.jpg

Also in The Bradford Observer - Bradford, West Yorkshire, England - Thursdy, August 01, 1861 (pic in Peter Avro site, brown ink.)
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Steven Avery

Charles Stewart

One most serious defect in Dr. Simonides' case is his utter lack of living witnesses, except indeed Mr. Steuart, and that only for the authenticity of the letter dated Jan. 1860. Constantius the Patriarch, whose evidence would have been very important, is unquestionably dead:—of the several persons incidentally mentioned in his narrative, not one has presented himself to corroborate his statements. One person,



Steven Avery

Is the 1860 letter available, doubly affirmed.

Scrivener (above)

living witnesses ... Mr. Steuart, .... for the authenticity of the letter dated Jan. 1860.


“It is now just three years since Simonides first committed to writing in England (in a letter to Mr. Charles Stewart, dated 4th (16th) January, 1860) his version of the history of the Codex Sinaiticus. He had his own reasons, I suppose, for not letting the whole public into the secret at an earlier period than last autumn, but the facts of his early claim are well known to his friends, and upset almost all Mr. Wright’s theories. It was not till he saw in Mr. Newton’s hands the facsimile of the Codex Sinaiticus, published by Tischendorf, that he felt as perfectly assured as he has since done that the MS. was his own work, and his letter to Kallinikos in 1861, asking for a further confirmation, seems to me to have been the natural act of a man desirous of making assurance doubly sure, before committing himself publicly to an assertion which he knew would call forth expressions of disbelief and derision.

In conclusion, may I express the hope that for the future all vague surmises and wild conjectures may cease to find expression in the correspondence upon this grave and difficult subject, and that before long the literary world may have the opportunity of forming its own judgment, based upon the results of a meeting in London between Tischendorf and Simonides, at wnich the whole ground of the controversy may be traversed, and one of the antagonists may be
compelled to retract his error."

West Derby, Jan. 23, 1863. John Eliot Hodgkin

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Steven Avery


‘ When, about two years ago,’ he adds, 'I saw the first facsimiles of Tischendorf [he must mean the portion of Luke xxiv. appended to the Notitia Edit. Cod. Sin., 1860], ‘ which were put into my hand at Liverpool, by Mr. Newton, a friend of Dr. Tregelles, I at once recognised my own work, as I immediately told him.' This last statement, valeat quantum, has never been contradicted, so far as we are aware.