why do we know that the 1859 CSP leaves were artificially coloured?

Steven Avery


............................A Tale of Two Manuscripts
1844 Leipzig .......................................... 1859 St. Petersburg-->1933 British Museum-->Library
1846 facsimile publication......................... 1862 facsimile publication (omits CFA)
43 leaves.............................................. 347 leaves
Codex Friderico-Augustanus...................... Codex Sinaiticus Petropolitanus
"Snow-White Parchment" ......................... "Yellow With Age"

Physical Condition of The Tale of Two Manuscripts

First, we start with the visual
"facts on the ground", available only since 2009, when the Codex Sinaiticus Project places the ms online:

Four Contiguous Points
http://www.sinaiticus.net/four contiguous points.html

Before - After

See also the descriptions in the two colour videos by David V. Daniels, given on the site.

Who Darkened Sinaiticus?

Coloring the Truth

You notice that not only is the colour very different, "white parchment" compared to yellowed

Auxiliary physical elements are involved and corroborative:
a) the large colour disparity within the 1859-CSP pages
b) the total non-disparity within the white parchment 1844-CFA pages
c) the propensity for staining within the 1859 pages
d) the general anomaly of the wonderful flexible, supple condition of the ms. which matches the young appearance of 1844

Next, you compare all the explanations for this disparity (these are covered on other PBF threads).

One explanation fits perfectly - the colouring of the ms. after 1844 and before the 1862 printing and depositing at the Leipzig library
One group of explanations try, but do not work - the British Library grabbag of supposed cleanings or storage condition explanations.
One explanation is a bit of a joke - James E. Snapp, Jr. insists it is all simply a photography error of shutter speed and lighting
See (1) for another attempt.


Now, the physical is now augmented by: Historical Facts

Historical Facts of observation

The observations of the condition by Uspensky (newly translated to English), Scrivener, Morozov (also newly translated), Dubschutz all end up being consistent with The Tale of Two Manuscripts, 1844 coloured artificially by hand. (Uspensky's Slovenic description from his 1845 visit, published in 1856, that the ms. was "white parchment", only translated in 2014, was a major spur to the inquiry.)

The various notes of the amazing "exceptional" facts of the parchment condition, noted especially by Gavin Moorhead of the British Library.

The exceptional flexibility and suppleness of the ms. can also be seen on internet youtube today.

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

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00dy1gc (needs Flash Player)

Unusual Tischendorf maneuvering

Writings and actions to:
a) minimize any consideration of parchment in the authenticity and dating discusssions
b) avoid the comparison of CFA and CSP
c) minimize access to the actual physical mss
d) put all the emphasis on the written facsimile editiosn
e) keep the basics out of the written edition
f) avoid the requested visit to England with the ms.

Unusual Maneuvering Continuation

Even the 2010 facsimile book from Hendrickson, in collaboration with the British Library, "smoothed" the colours so that the disparity was gone from view.


Beyond all the above, an incredible confirmation comes from a totally unique historical element, arising from the Simonides controversies:

The Specific Accusation of Colouring in the early 1860s

The accusation fits the timing (1850s) of the historical notes above to a "T". Lemon-juice was noted as the principle agent.

The people making the accusation were supposedly blind as to the condition of both mss, yet they, in retrospect, nailed to a "T" everything we have seen and discovered today.
This is an incredible corroboration that involves early 1860s description of 1850s events, corroborated by the digital reunification efforts of 2009, augmented by modern internet communications and research.

There is no sensible explanation for their description of the colouring, except witnessing its actually happening in the 1850s.


Physical materials testing would, of course, be a wonderful augmentation of the analysis, and we believe would likely confirm the above. However, the tests planned by Leipzig for April 2015 were ... cancelled.

Comparison with other mss
We have used internet resources to check many other mss.
There is nothing purported to be ancient that is like the CFA white parchment.
There are no other mss that have widely divergent colours on the same source ms. in the manner of the CFA and CSP.
We have not even found any mss that have the divergence within the CSP. (Which is why the British Museum put up a special picture called "colour variance", in the days before authenticity concerns.

Parchment Colour - Comparison with Other Manuscripts
http://www.sinaiticus.net/other mss.html


Means, Motive and Opportunity

A careful study of the period shows a pattern of deceit and finagling around Sinaiticus. Tischendorf and perhaps his backers had a lot at stake in finding Sinaiticus and pushing hard for it to be accepted as 4th century. He built a fiefdom around the ms. and severely berated even the gentlest alternative explanations. The colouring of mss was a well-known skill of the ms. replica and forgery and enhancement of value trade. There was plenty of unprovenanced free time available in the history. The ms. as a whole has no provenance before 1844 in the standard "vulgate" explanation. There is an alternative historical explanation that involves a c. 1840 creation of the white parchment ms.

All the necessary components for means, motive and opportunity were available. Cover-up activities were in fact extensive, as the fact of the 1844 white parchment element threatened to blow the story apart. e.g. For a number of years Tischendorf did not refer to the two parts as one manuscript. After describing the 1844 CFA as pale, and the 1859 CSP as sufflava, light yellow, the whole issue of parchment colour and condition was simply by-passed and ignored in the historical narrative. (Although Morozov blew the whistle on it in 1910, and the Russians dumped the ms. in their real-and-fake sales of the 1930s.) The textual establishment had minimal access to the mss and in many cases were very willing dupes.


New Finds is a historical confirmation of ms. tampering in this period, with a number of elements involved. Pages that are in the hands of Uspensky and Tischendorf are similarly contiguously in the New Finds. The hot-spot end of Hermas (after the Tischendorf retraction of his accusations against the Simonides Hermas) ends up in the dump zone. We note that Uspensky, in referencing Hermas, gave no indication of a partial book.


Thus, by this outline (and every point can have its own enhanced write-up, either already done, or upon request)
One WIP is:
independent corroborative evidences have multiplicative impact


The only reasonable, accurate and sensible historical forensics conclusion is that the CSP was artificially coloured by human hands after the 1844 CFA went to Leipzig.


Note: the colouring of the ms. would even be possible if the ms. were authentically ancient. This combination of circumstances is not ipso facto proof of an 1800s production. However, once the colouring is acknowledged as the historical fact, early production scenarios become difficult. Everything must be revisited.


We welcome your support, your considerations and your counter-point. A good email contact point is given on the www.sinaiticus.net site, front page, top right. And we are happy to take more input, from any side, iron sharpeneth. Major contributions to date have come from England, Austria, Russia and the USA. And if you look at this site, and www.sinaiticus.net , you will see that we are a research group, and we simply desire to follow the leads, evidence and facts. Our understandings have changed over the recent years of recent, as we learn more, we will share.


Two ongoing Facebook discussion points (the SART contributors are available)

Facebook - Sinaiticus

Facebook - Pure Bible

Discussions are also possible on the discussion section on this PureBibleForum forum.

PureBibleForum - Freelance Discussion

Upon request, we would set up an email group as well, likely using either Yahoogroups or Googlegroups


We will often be happy to join discussions in foreign lands as well, some of the best to date have been on the:

Bible Criticism and History Forum, and one of the threads is:

Codex Sinaiticus - the white parchment Friderico-Augustanus


This next discussion has a number of interesting points. James Snapp took the position, mentioned above, that the colour dispartity was simply shutter speed and lighting.

Facebook - King James Bible Debate
Colouring and Staining, c. 1850s, of 90% of the Sinaiticus Manuscript, to Russian, 1859 - Any other Explanations?
Which was a continuation from:



There is a variety pack of material.
These are basically "articles in process" that relate fairly directly to this current summary.


white parchment

discolouration of documents,
stains, liquids used - forensic testing

Sinaiticus darkening .. "can't this be explained .. pages age at different rates .."

reasons, excuses, confusions - circularity

British Library - and other - modern comments on research and condition and colour

four types of evidence that help determine age and authenticity of a manuscript

when did Tischendorf first publicly connect the 1844 CFA to the 1859 Sinaiticus?

Sinaiticus 101

Nikolai Alexandrovich Morozov handles Sinaiticus, notes the Tischendorf antiquity claims are false

'old parchment becomes rigid and cannot be folded and unfolded'

physical examination - key to antiquity vs. contemporary
http://www.purebibleforum.com/showthread.php?t=199The Tale of Two Manuscripts

why the colour and condition of Sinaiticus points to inauthenticity

no colour photos available until CSP 2009

Sinaiticus through the centuries in the 4th century paradigm

Kallinikos exposes Tischendorf shenanigans

no testing of materials of ink! .. oops


Steven Avery

Dutchess County, NY
Sinaiticus Authenticity Research Team

(1) Another set of explanations is a bit of a combination of circularity and psychology. It accepts some evidences that Sinaiticus is late, and then asks why Tischendorf, or anybody, would colour a later ms. After all, the 1846 publication of the CFA asserted a 4th century date, so why would Tischendorf colour the rest of the ms? This is a bit of a convoluted explanation that is more presupposition combined with pop psychology than anything else. For one, the presumption of an early ms. is suspect. Yet even if so, the "facts on the ground" clearly show that the ms. was coloured, so the pop psychology explanation is worthless. Beyond that, it is easy to understand that, in expectiing a battle about the 4th century NT date (which did occur in the 1860s) it would be much easier to proclaim a "yellow with age" 4th century ms. than one that is pristine white parchment. After all, everybody should know that parchment yellows with age and use.
Last edited:

Steven Avery

Here we should place the picture that is on the SART site, and that is on the front of the David W. Daniels book.

Steven Avery

If you can't prove the CFA had a lighter color in 1859, as you can't, as there are no witnesses to it, then your post - all your posts - are rank BS.

It looks like you are giving up on all the confusing and contradictory attempted explanations, like the one from TNC of Simonides having spies in Cairo.


All leaves are far too youthful, easy-peasy page turning, Tischendorf needed a way to pretend they were old.


British Library Leaves

Significantly datker colour

Uneven colour from leaf to leaf

Stains, streaks and brush marks



Two sections kept far apart and

Generally inaccessible

Tischendorf says to used his $$$ rigged book

Deceptive comments on the parchment condition

pale manuscript to Leipzig, yellow manuscript to St. Petersburg



No significant scientific examination



Recorded and wrote that the remainder was white.

And that it was not an old manuscript, no gray hairs or wrinkles


Simonides and Kallinikos

"called shot" about the colouring

truly an absurd claim unless ... it occurred.
Why unnecessarily complicate the story, if there were nothing to the coloring, which note was submitted to no less than 2 newspapers?
Last edited: