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Thread: retracings

  1. Default retracings

    This retracings issue is one of the puzzles of the modern British Library sanctioned scholarship.

    [textualcriticism] retracings of Codex Sinaiticus - corrected ending of John's gospel - Steven Avery - Jan 14, 2014

    CSP - Report on the different inks used in Codex Sinaiticus and assessment of their condition
    Sara Mazzarino - 1.4.2 Re-tracing
    The retracing of the characters (main text, corrections, some quire numbers and some of the squiggles) was repeated several times throughout the history of the Codex Sinaiticus, always using different types of inks.


    The ink used for the second retracing of the main text, for example, appears to be more friable than the one used to write the original text, suffering from major ink loss.

    ... There have been two, possibly three, re-tracings of the brown ink text
    And for vagueness and inaccuracy we can go also go back to Scrivener, who was apparently simply using Tischendorf as his source:

    A full Collation of the Codex Sinaiticus with the received text of the New Textament (1864)

    Scrivener (see note )

    By this time [SA: 7th century or later, p. xxii] the primitive writing, especially on the smooth side of the vellum which had been nearest the animal's body, became so much faded through age, that (as in the case of the great Codex Vaticanus and others) it was thought necessary to retrace the original strokes, which seems to have been done carefully and faithfully, if not with all possible regard for neatness. p. xxiv
    The original ink, which varies in hue according as it was impressed on the rough or smooth side of the skin, where it has not been covered by the strokes of the renovator (see p. xxiv), is for the most part of a yellowish brown, occasionally of an ashey tinge p. xxx-xxxi
    Anyone who looks at the ms. will see that this is simply nonsensical. There is no large-scale retracing indicated by anybody of the main text. Mostly just selected letters on a small minority of pages. The CSP adds to the confusion. Where did Sara Mazzarino get her info? Tischendorf ??

    Can anybody here play this game?

    As to the Tischendorf confusion, we also have:

    Christian Remembrancer (1863)
    The Imperial Edition of the Codex Sinaiticus

    Again, even in the eighth century, the ink had become so pale in many places, that it had to be retouched. Indeed, it had been retouched before. This is one of the points which has to be examined. Is the Professor right in assigning the eighth century as the date for retouching the MS.? May not the fact that this was not the first retouching, indicate something faulty in the ink? If so, we cannot depend on this argument for the antiquity of the MS.
    Apparently Tischendorf set up a retracing schema that involved double retracings in the early centuries. And somehow tied that into his early date.


    You can see some discussion in that post of the ending of John as well. Since the ink there is very strong, some possibilities are that it is recent, or that it was subject to retracing. It is also a section where Tischendorf had a type of x-ray vision, even before Superman.

    "The Codex Sinaiticus inks have never been chemically characterized, and the type and proportions of ingredients mixed together have never been determined."

    There aer a moderate number of pages in the Sinaiticus online that say they have overwriting, but generally just some letters, here is an example from Isaiah:

    "page partly overwritten"

    The overwriting is immediately obvious and easy to be compared to the faded writing on the same page. It is a very modest phenomenon in Sinaiticus.
    And one scholar wrote to me:

    "places in the prophets have been retraced due to excessive fading"

    However, this is far from speaking of two or three retracings of the ms main text., places unspecified. Plus, every retracing should be easy to recognize, even by the eye, better with spectral technologies. Nobody can write letter after letter perfectly over another letter. (This is easily seen in Vaticanus.)


    Skeat and Milne, Scribes and Correctors

    ... throughout the Codex nearly all B's superlines have been overwritten by one or other of the correctors. One of the few which escaped retouching is illustrated in Fig. 7. p. 20

    We may now on analogy expect to find that the remainder of the Psalms were rubricated by scribe A, the writer of the accompanying text; here the primary evidence has been obscured by the fact that nearly all the original rubrics have been overwritten, but it is clear that in their first state they differed notably in style from those of scribe D ... The overwriting, apparently undertaken because the colour had faded badly, p. 35

    The Eusebian apparatus is clearly the work of two scribes; the first numbered only sections 1-52 of Matthew, in a small fine hand using a rather faint pigment. Both section and canon number are capped with horizontal lines. The second scribe overwrote almost all the first hand's work, and entered the remainder of the apparatus, except in Luke where he got no farther than § 106.' Apart from Matthew §§ 1-52, where he is merely overwriting, this scribe regularly omits the line over the canon number, and sometimes that over the section number as well.... Psalms, where A's numeration is similarly overwritten by D. p. 36

    Cb2 .. That he follows Cb1 is proved by his overwriting of the latter's corrections p. 48
    Nothing about overwriting in the main text from Skeat. Only a bit about superlines, rubrics, section #s and corrections.

    touches on some of these Skeat overwriting sections, p. 16 and p. 119-120 going into the Matthew section numbers, p. 38 is about red ink titles. Again, nothing about the main text.


    So we have a massive disconnect, even in the post-2000 science.

    Scrivener and the CSP analysis talk of major retracings.
    The CSP site shows a smidgen of minor retracing sections, the overwriter is unidentified.
    Skeat and Jongkind, for the main text, tell us .. nothing.
    Last edited by Steven Avery; 03-11-2016 at 08:45 PM.

  2. Default additional notes

    Recording the physical features of Codex Sinaiticus

    Fresh ink applied by the scribe directly upon faded or flaked text without erasing or washing it out intentionally, has been called ‘overwriting’ in the documentation form and it is normally indicated by a visible change in the density and colour of the ink.

    Overview of the conservation of Codex Sinaiticus at the British Library
    Helen Shenton

    "Some squiggles have been retraced"

    Multi-spectral imaging for the Codex Sinaiticus Barry Knight, Head of Conservation Research, The British Library

    Photonics developed procedures for resolving palimpsests, in other words, being able to distinguish the underwriting from the overwriting on parchment manuscripts that have been cleaned and re-used. It was felt that this could also be useful for examining the Codex Sinaiticus.

    Facebook - Sinaiticus

    super-ink - retracing - Aug 14, 2014


    [textualcriticism] retracings of Codex Sinaiticus - corrected ending of John's gospel
    Steven Avery - Jan, 4, 2014

    It would be very helpful if we know how much is purported to be retraced, the centuries conjectured, and any scribal information. Is 5% of the text involved, or 95%? Information on these types of questions (including others like the rebinding) is not always consistent from the different sources. And as to specifics of the degree of retracing, and how it is identified (heavy ink?) there simply seems to be a dearth of information. e.g. The Mark cancel sheet has a number of dark lines around Mark 15:46 to 16:1, is that a retracing?

    If there were large-scale retracing, as in Vaticanus, that could also influence scribal habits. And you would want verification, e.g. by ultra-violet, that there is retracing rather than correction. How do you know an overwrite does not make changes?

    Spots where there is overwriting per the CSP, using google.
    These are generally a small numbers of letters on a page or relating to corrections.
    Are there any full pages or columns overwritten?

    1 Maccabees, 12:28 - 13:3 library: BL folio: 30 scribe: A "page partly overwritten"

    Isaiah, 1:1 - 1:27 library: BL folio: 42 scribe: B, overwriting by corrector d

    Isaiah, 4:2 - 5:20 library: BL folio: 43b scribe: B, overwriting by corrector d

    Isaiah, 5:20 - 6:11 library: BL folio: 44 scribe: B, overwriting by corrector d

    Isaiah, 8:23 - 10:3 library: BL folio: 45b scribe: B, page partly overwritten

    Isaiah, 10:3 - 10:29 library: BL folio: 46 scribe: B, page partly overwritten

    Isaiah, 19:20 - 21:14 library: BL folio: 49b scribe: B, entire page overwritten

    Isaiah, 28:15 - 29:9 library: BL folio: 52b scribe: B, overwriting by corrector d

    Isaiah, 30:8 - 30:29 library: BL folio: 53b scribe: B, overwriting by corrector d

    Isaiah, 30:29 - 32:11 library: BL folio: 54 scribe: B, overwriting by corrector d

    Isaiah, 39:8 - 40:30 library: BL folio: 57b scribe: B, overwriting by corrector d

    Isaiah, 40:30 - 41:26 library: BL folio: 58 scribe: B, overwriting by corrector d

    Isaiah, 45:22 - 47:10 library: BL folio: 60b scribe: B, overwriting by corrector d

    Isaiah, 48:20 - 49:22 library: BL folio: 61b scribe: B, overwriting by corrector d

    Isaiah, 52:5 - 54:1 library: BL folio: 63 scribe: B, overwriting by corrector d

    Isaiah, 54:1 - 55:10 library: BL folio: 63b scribe: B, overwriting by corrector d

    Isaiah, 60:20 - 62:11 library: BL folio: 66 scribe: B, some letters overwritten

    Jeremiah, 10:25 - 11:23 library: LUL folio: xx scribe: B1, overwriting by corrector d &zoomSlider=0

    Jeremiah, 22:17 - 23:13 library: LUL folio: xxv_v scribe: B1, overwriting by corrector d

    Jeremiah, 26:14 - 27:9 library: LUL folio: xxvii_v scribe: B1, overwriting by corrector d

    Jeremiah, 32:38 - 33:21 library: LUL folio: xxxii scribe: B1, overwriting by corrector d

    Jeremiah, 39:26 - 40:4 library: LUL folio: xxxv_v scribe: B1, overwriting by corrector d

    Jeremiah, 52:7 - 52:32 library: LUL folio: xlii scribe: B1, overwriting by corrector d

    Proverbs, 4:15 - 5:21 library: BL folio: 130 scribe: A, overwriting by corrector cb

  3. Default research questions

    1) What did Tischendorf write, and why?

    Clearly Scrivener had total misinformation

    2) what was behind the CSP (Sara) strange indication of a large-scale main text 2nd and 3rd retracing

  4. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Avery View Post
    1) What did Tischendorf write, and why?
    Clearly Scrivener had total misinformation
    2) what was behind the CSP (Sara) strange indication of a large-scale main text 2nd and 3rd retracing
    We do have a reference to Tischendorf on multiple early retracings.

    "We may add that a scribe of the eighth or ninth century has retouched with fresh ink many pages of the Sinaitic MS. ; and this had already been done to a considerable extent by a still earlier scribe (Tischendorf, N. T. ex Sin, Cod. p. xxxviii. f.)."

    Ezra Abbot
    What a tangled web. Mutiple retouchings even by the 800s. We will plan on pulling out the Tischendorf section.

    Yet today's writers can't point out what is supposed to have been retouched when, and how they would come up with the date.


    Remember, on Vaticanus there is a major retouching disagreement, with Tischendorf moving it up hundreds of years from what was claimed in Rome. Afawk, the basis of the change was never given.

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