Codex Sinaiticus - the white parchment Friderico-Augustanus

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Steven Avery
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Codex Sinaiticus - the white parchment Friderico-Augustanus

Post by Steven Avery » Tue Oct 28, 2014 10:09 pm

Hi,

Codex Sinaiticus has a number of curious anomalies and a somewhat shaky provenance.

Here are three interrelated facts about the ms. that call for scholarly review, consideration and explanation.

===============================

1) Porfiry Uspensky, Russian bishop, visted St. Catherine's Monastery in Sinai in 1845. He said that the Sinaiticus codex consisted of white parchment leaves. (Uspensky also wrote of his 1850 visit in an 1857 book.)
Первое путешествие в Синайский Монастыŕ в 1845 году Архимандрита Порфиря ... (1856)
By Порфирий Бишоф в. Чигирин
http://books.google.com/books?id=hIlCAAAAcAAJ&pg=PA225

«Первая рукопись, содержащая Ветхий Завет неполный и весь Новый Завет с посланием ап. Варнавы и книгой Ермы, писана на тончайшем белом пергамене. (...) Буквы в ней совершенно похожи на церковно-славянские. Постановка их прямая и сплошная. Над словами нет придыханий и ударений, а речения не отделяются никакими знаками правописания кроме точек. Весь священный текст писан в четыре и два столбца стихомерным образом и так слитно, как будто одно длинное речение тянется от точки до точки.» (Порфирий (Успенский), Первое путешествие в Синайский монастырь в 1845 году, Petersburg 1856, с. 226.)
We originally saw the Uspensky section online in Russian courtesy of a Ukrainian Bible scholar, Leszek Jańczuk. Leszek has been a main contributor towards making the Bible ms. section of wikipedia rather strong.

2) 43 leaves were taken by Tischendorf to Leipzig in 1844. This is a bit over 10% of the Sinaiticus extant leaves. Tischendorf called this the Codex Friderico-Augustanus. The Leipzig leaves are white parchment and stain-free.

3) 347 leaves were taken by Tischendorf to St. Petersburg in 1859. These later went to the British Library in 1933. These leaves are yellow and stained.

(Small portions of Sinaiticus are currently in Russia and Sinai, the Sinai material is related to the New Finds of 1975.)

================================

Please note that (2) and (3) were made accessible by the 2009 excellent placing of the full Sinaiticus ms. online. There is no indication that this curious set of "facts on the ground" has been noticed before 2014. No indication at all in English, going through the German discussions of the 1860s and the Russian historical material is more involved. Major highlights of the German discussions were reported in the English press, and the Russians have now put some helpful material online.

The British Library has confirmed the accuracy of the colors of the sections as seen on the Codex Sinaiticus website. They made extra efforts for standardization of the photography at the difference sites. And placed a color number for the parchment with each page. Also they confirmed the color distinction of the sections.

Your thoughts welcome!

Steven Avery
Bayside, NY
Last edited by Steven Avery on Sat Nov 01, 2014 9:41 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Stephan Huller
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Re: Codex Sinaiticus - the white parchment Friderico-Augusta

Post by Stephan Huller » Tue Oct 28, 2014 11:08 pm

Very interesting post. I am friends with David Trobisch who was a speaker at the Sinaiticus conference recently. If you have any questions I can relay it to him. Thank you for the high quality post Steven.

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Leucius Charinus
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Re: Codex Sinaiticus - the white parchment Friderico-Augusta

Post by Leucius Charinus » Wed Oct 29, 2014 12:34 am

Interesting thanks Steven.
Steven Avery wrote:Hi,

Codex Sinaiticus has a number of curious anomalies and a somewhat shaky provenance.
It's provenance is unknown. Tischendorf claimed he found it "in a rubbish bin" in a church monastery.

Here are three interrelated facts about the ms. that call for scholarly review, consideration and explanation.

1) Porfiry Uspensky, Russian bishop, visted St. Catherine's Monastery in Sinai in 1845. He said that the Sinaiticus codex consisted of white parchment leaves. (Uspensky also wrote of his 1846 visit in an 1857 book.)

2) 43 leaves were taken by Tischendorf to Leipzig in 1844. This is a bit over 10% of the Sinaiticus extant leaves. Tischendorf called this the Codex Friderico-Augustanus. The Leipzig leaves are white parchment and stain-free.
Background story:
  • In 1844, during his first visit to the Monastery of Saint Catherine, Leipzig archaeologist Constantin von Tischendorf claimed that he saw some leaves of parchment in a waste-basket. He said they were "rubbish which was to be destroyed by burning it in the ovens of the monastery",[85] although this is firmly denied by the Monastery. After examination he realized that they were part of the Septuagint, written in an early Greek uncial script. He retrieved from the basket 129 leaves in Greek which he identified as coming from a manuscript of the Septuagint. He asked if he might keep them, but at this point the attitude of the monks changed. They realized how valuable these old leaves were, and Tischendorf was permitted to take only one-third of the whole, i.e. 43 leaves. These leaves contained portions of 1 Chronicles, Jeremiah, Nehemiah, and Esther. After his return they were deposited in the Leipzig University Library, where they still remain. In 1846 Tischendorf published their contents, naming them the 'Codex Friderico-Augustanus' (in honor of Frederick Augustus).[86] Other portions of the same codex remained in the monastery, containing all of Isaiah and 1 and 4 Maccabees.[87]

3) 347 leaves were taken by Tischendorf to St. Petersburg in 1859. These later went to the British Library in 1933. These leaves are yellow and stained.
(Small portions of Sinaiticus are currently in Russia and Sinai, the Sinai material is related to the New Finds of 1975.)
Background story ...
  • In 1853 Tischendorf revisited the Monastery of Saint Catherine to get the remaining 86 folios, but without success. Returning in 1859, this time under the patronage of Tsar Alexander II of Russia, he was shown the Codex Sinaiticus. He would later claim to have found it discarded in a rubbish bin. (This story may have been a fabrication, or the manuscripts in question may have been unrelated to Codex Sinaiticus: Rev. J. Silvester Davies in 1863 quoted "a monk of Sinai who... stated that according to the librarian of the monastery the whole of Codex Sinaiticus had been in the library for many years and was marked in the ancient catalogues... Is it likely... that a manuscript known in the library catalogue would have been jettisoned in the rubbish basket." Indeed, it has been noted that the leaves were in "suspiciously good condition" for something found in the trash.[n 6]) Tischendorf had been sent to search for manuscripts by Russia's Tsar Alexander II, who was convinced there were still manuscripts to be found at the Sinai monastery

    The story of how von Tischendorf found the manuscript, which contained most of the Old Testament and all of the New Testament, has all the interest of a romance. Von Tischendorf reached the monastery on 31 January; but his inquiries appeared to be fruitless. On 4 February, he had resolved to return home without having gained his object:


    • On the afternoon of this day I was taking a walk with the steward of the convent in the neighbourhood, and as we returned, towards sunset, he begged me to take some refreshment with him in his cell. Scarcely had he entered the room, when, resuming our former subject of conversation, he said: "And I, too, have read a Septuagint" – i.e. a copy of the Greek translation made by the Seventy. And so saying, he took down from the corner of the room a bulky kind of volume, wrapped up in a red cloth, and laid it before me. I unrolled the cover, and discovered, to my great surprise, not only those very fragments which, fifteen years before, I had taken out of the basket, but also other parts of the Old Testament, the New Testament complete, and, in addition, the Epistle of Barnabas and a part of the Shepherd of Hermas
    .

    After some negotiations, he obtained possession of this precious fragment and conveyed it to Tsar Alexander II, who appreciated its importance and had it published as nearly as possible in facsimile, so as to exhibit correctly the ancient handwriting.
Please note that (2) and (3) were made accessible by the 2009 excellent placing of the full Sinaiticus ms. online. There is no indication that this curious set of "facts on the ground" has been noticed before 2014. No indication at all in English, going through the German discussions of the 1860s and the Russian historical material is more involved. Major highlights of the German discussions were reported in the English press, and the Russians have now put some helpful material online.

The British Library has confirmed the accuracy of the colors of the sections as seen on the Codex Sinaiticus website. They made extra efforts for standardization of the photography at the difference sites. And placed a color number for the parchment with each page. Also they confirmed the color distinction of the sections.

Your thoughts welcome!
If the British Library were to follow the scientific method they would extract small samples from the abundant blank spaces in the codex and send them to the radiocarbon units for C14 dating. I once wrote to the BL to ask them if they had any plans to C14 date this codex (and Alexandrinus). The British Library has no plans to C14 date Sinaiticus. Despite this negative reply there is a petition in progress - http://www.mountainman.com.au/essenes/c ... 0bible.htm Here is the summary response ...
  • British Library on C14 dating Sinaiticus:

    Many thanks for your enquiry. Having consulted with colleagues in History & Classics and our Collection Care team, I can confirm that the Library has not previously subjected either manuscript to C14 dating, nor do we have plans to do so. There is broad scholarly consensus on the dating of both codices based on various well established criteria for judging the date of a manuscript. C14 dating requires a relatively large sample to be taken from a collection item and destroyed – the Library does not undertake such analysis on its collections, instead relying on a range of non-destructive techniques including contextual and imaging analysis.
Included among the aims and objectives of the Project Codex Sinaiticus Online was a provision which I find in these circumstances quite ironic ...
  • To undertake research into the history of the Codex . . . , to commission an objective historical narrative based on the results of the research which places the documents in their historical context ...."-- http://www.codexsinaiticus.org (March 2005)
I have no ideas how to explain the different coloured sheets. However I'd be interested to know why Tischendorf - the discoverer - did not make a note of this. From your summary above it appears that Tischendorf never mentioned this himself. Is that correct? Why would that be?


Be well



LC
A "cobbler of fables" [Augustine]; "Leucius is the disciple of the devil" [Decretum Gelasianum]; and his books "should be utterly swept away and burned" [Pope Leo I]; they are the "source and mother of all heresy" [Photius]

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Re: Codex Sinaiticus - the white parchment Friderico-Augusta

Post by bcedaifu » Wed Oct 29, 2014 2:20 am

http://www.globalegyptianmuseum.org/glo ... spx?id=287

question: Are the pages in Leipzig still white, 150 years later?

question: does anyone else observe an image at http://codexsinaiticus.com/en/manuscript.aspx?book=34

which, on higher magnification, suggests recopying?

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Re: Codex Sinaiticus - the white parchment Friderico-Augusta

Post by perseusomega9 » Wed Oct 29, 2014 4:06 am

Leucius Charinus wrote:
  • British Library on C14 dating Sinaiticus:

    Many thanks for your enquiry. Having consulted with colleagues in History & Classics and our Collection Care team, I can confirm that the Library has not previously subjected either manuscript to C14 dating, nor do we have plans to do so. There is broad scholarly consensus on the dating of both codices based on various well established criteria for judging the date of a manuscript. C14 dating requires a relatively large sample to be taken from a collection item and destroyed – the Library does not undertake such analysis on its collections, instead relying on a range of non-destructive techniques including contextual and imaging analysis.
You should email them back, modern AMS techniques don't require much at all for a sample, a few slivers froma few pages should cover it.

http://www.radiocarbondating.com/sample ... quirements

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Blood
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Re: Codex Sinaiticus - the white parchment Friderico-Augusta

Post by Blood » Wed Oct 29, 2014 4:46 am

C14 dating requires a relatively large sample to be taken from a collection item and destroyed
Is this correct? I thought only a small sample was necessary. The DSS were C14 dated.
“The only sensible response to fragmented, slowly but randomly accruing evidence is radical open-mindedness. A single, simple explanation for a historical event is generally a failure of imagination, not a triumph of induction.” William H.C. Propp

Steven Avery
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Codex Sinaiticus - the white parchment Friderico-Augusta

Post by Steven Avery » Wed Oct 29, 2014 4:47 am

Hi,
Stephan Huller wrote:Very interesting post. I am friends with David Trobisch who was a speaker at the Sinaiticus conference recently. If you have any questions I can relay it to him. Thank you for the high quality post Steven.

Most welcome. Stephan. And I did notice with interest where you pointed out that David Trobisch has maintained a healthy skepticism about the ultra-early dating of Sinaiticus. (Afaik, the only scholar to do so ... publicly.) Giving a fairly wide date range, in a few different references.

From your blog, I especially noted:

"He believes that many people with a vested interest in promoting the work gave it the earliest date possible which is the early fourth century."

Amen, many-fold.

Similarly, Adolf Hilgenfeld (1823-1907) was skeptical of the rush to early dating in the 1860s. The learned James Donaldson (1831-1915) brought forth language and text concerns, involving Hermas and Barnabas, in the 1860s and 1870s. That were simply never addressed. Even potential "facts on the ground" (hard evidence) was hand-waved. All the information can be made available, with special consideration to a scholar like David Trobisch. Feel free to share with him from the OP and discussions. At the moment, I don't have any specific questions, although that can easily change in a flash.

Now the issues raised in this post go quite a bit deeper than simply early dating. They can go to the heart of a swirl of issues around provenance and dating and authenticity. And even include, possibly, blatant tampering with the ms.

You might wonder if the vellum or ink or stains of Codex Sinaiticus have ever been subject to chemical tests. Apparently, even though the ms. has been heavily studied, and conjectural and even convoluted theories around inks, parchment, retracing and rebindings abound, no such testing has ever been done. (Note: I mention chemical testing because that has been very helpful in looking at issues like the Voynich ms and the Viking map, and is relatively inexpensive and relatively controversy-free.)

60 Minutes:
So does (Wolfgang) Beltracchi have any regrets?
“Yes, I [used] the wrong titanium white.”

Steven Avery
Last edited by Steven Avery on Wed Oct 29, 2014 8:53 am, edited 2 times in total.

ficino
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Re: Codex Sinaiticus - the white parchment Friderico-Augusta

Post by ficino » Wed Oct 29, 2014 4:53 am

Steven, is your suspicion that Tischendorf faked Sinaiticus? Or parts of it, maybe the whiter parchment leaves?

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Re: Codex Sinaiticus - the white parchment Friderico-Augusta

Post by perseusomega9 » Wed Oct 29, 2014 5:02 am

Blood wrote:
C14 dating requires a relatively large sample to be taken from a collection item and destroyed
Is this correct? I thought only a small sample was necessary. The DSS were C14 dated.
See my link, or short answer without clicking: about 100mg of sample, vs tens of grams using previous techniques

Steven Avery
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Codex Sinaiticus - the white parchment Friderico-Augusta

Post by Steven Avery » Wed Oct 29, 2014 6:56 am

Hi,

Before working with a question or two above, I want us to look at Codex Friderico-Augustanus (CFA) online, especially so that you can navigate the comparison of the CFA with the rest of Sinaiticus. This type of navigation should include the four crossing points (the CFA consists of two distinct sections). Recommended: the navigation can include looking at anything on the manuscript, CFA and main body.

====================================

NOTE ON NEW FINDS

The "New Finds" involves a 1975 stash of mss, discovered in a hard-to-reach, hidden back room. Scholarship on this continues, it is likely that everything that relates to Sinaiticus is now available. You will see below that this includes elements of a section duplication.

====================================

CODEX FRIDERICO-AUGUSTANUS

Henry Barclay Swete (1835-1917) gives us the precise text of the 43 leaves in the Codex Friderico-Augustanus (CFA):
The Old Testament in Greek: According to the Septuagint, Volume 1 (1901)
edited by Henry Barclay Swete
http://books.google.com/books?id=BxFBAQAAMAAJ&pg=PR20

(i) Codex Friderico-Augustanus (Lips. 1846)—a lithographed facsimile of the 43 leaves which Tischendorf rescued during his visit to S. Catharine's in 1844. These leaves contain 1 Chronicles xi. 32—xix. 17, 2 Esdras ix. 9 to end, Esther, Tobit i. 1—ii. 2, Jeremiah x. 25 to end, Lam.
Thus, the CFA are the leaves beginning here:

====================================

FIRST CFA SECTION - 19 LEAVES - Quire 35, 36 8x2=16 and the first 3 leaves of quire 37
The first 4 leaves, Quire 35, 1,2,3,4 - involve duplication. See below.

1 Chronicles 11:22 - Begin CFA
http://codexsinaiticus.org/en/manuscrip ... omSlider=0

thur to 1 Chronicles 19:17 (MT goes to 19:19) and then begin in the middle of 4th column with 2 Esdras 9:9
http://codexsinaiticus.org/en/manuscrip ... omSlider=0

2 Esdras continues more normally
http://codexsinaiticus.org/en/manuscrip ... omSlider=0

And continues through to the end of 2 Esdras, all of Esther and the beginning of Tobit, up to 2:2
Q37-3v -
http://codexsinaiticus.org/en/manuscrip ... omSlider=0

Cillian O'Hogan, researcher for the British Library called the comparison of this last one from Leipzig with the British Library next folio (hit the arrow sign) a "striking example" of the color change phenomenon (correspondence with the British Library.)

====================================

SECOND CFA SECTION - FOLIOS 47, 48, 49 - 24 Leaves (8x3)

Begins at Jeremiah 10:25 - Folio 47 1r
http://codexsinaiticus.org/en/manuscrip ... omSlider=0

Continues with full text until:

All of Jeremiah and then to Lamentations 2:20 (Hebrew Bible ends at 2:22)
http://codexsinaiticus.org/en/manuscrip ... omSlider=3

====================================

*** With the two sections in hand, and four crossing points, you can evaluate the degree of CFA integration with the rest of the Codex Sinaiticus in terms of textual continuance and "same scribe" identification. ***

====================================

Advanced class: David Charles Parker on the 1 Chronicles duplication.
Codex Sinaiticus: The Story of the World's Oldest Bible David Charles Parker, 2020

The text (of Sinaiticus as a whole) proper begins in the middle of 1 Chronicles, and here immediately we notice an anomaly. The careful reader of the list of contents in Chapter I (Codex Sinaiticus in outline, p. 7-9) will have noticed that 1 Chronicles 17:14-17, 21-25; 18.1-4, 7-10, 12 appears twice. The explanation lies on Q35-F4V ... The note reads:

The sign of the three crosses marks the end of the seven redundant folios and is not part of Esdras.

The text changes from 1 Chronicles to 2 Esdras in the middle of line 26, so that the first two words are from I Chronicles 19.17 and last is from 2 Esdras 9.9 ... (gives English text to focus on duplication)

The note tells us that the seven folios (i.e. fourteen pages, of which five are extant) are a repetition of text that had already been copied. ... How did they miss this nonsense? And how did the scribe copy fourteen pages twice without noticing? ...

We now have a better insight into what happened, because of the first copy of the text (also by Scribe A) is among the New Finds.(continues with more conjectures and more anomalous aspects) p. 65-67
====================================

For the yellow duplicate of Chronicles, in the British Library (white parchment is in Leipzig)

1 Chronicles (duplicate), 9:27 - 10:11 library: BL folio: 1 scribe: A Quire 34, Folio 8r
http://codexsinaiticus.org/en/manuscrip ... omSlider=0

1 Chronicles (duplicate), 10:11 - 11:22 library: BL folio: 1b scribe: A - Quire 34, Folio 8v
http://codexsinaiticus.org/en/manuscrip ... omSlider=0

Although the Sinaiticus website calls the above two urls "duplicate", it is not a section given by Parker, who only gives parts of ch. 17 and 18 as extant duplicates, ie. the following from the New Finds (allowing a distinction between 18:11 and 18:12) :

1 Chronicles, 17:14 - 18:1 library: SC folio: scribe: A - Quire 29, Folio 7r
http://codexsinaiticus.org/en/manuscrip ... omSlider=0

1 Chronicles, 18:1 - 18:11 library: SC folio: scribe: A - Quire 29, Folio 7v
http://codexsinaiticus.org/en/manuscrip ... omSlider=0

So far, it seems like Parker is right, and the British Library erred on that "duplicate" indication above. However, that is tentative.

Note that most of the duplication is not continuous extant text, it is extrapolating from the New Finds fragments, which gives the appearance of bookmarks or discards (this is not referenced by Parker.)

====================================

This explanation above includes elements of the very unusual duplication, our white parchment anomaly, and the 1975 New Finds all in one. Rather a handful. And I include it so we have at least some perspective on the issues involved with the duplication.

My tentative conclusion: It does not appear that the duplication difficulty affects the white parchment anomaly in a direct way. The white part of the duplication went to Leipzig, the yellow part was "left behind".

The fact that duplicate pages and pages contiguous to those taken early by Tischendorf and Uspensky are in the hidden-till-1975 New Finds, can be considered as a bit of an additional smoking pistol.

====================================

Reconstructing Codex Sinaiticus
http://codexsinaiticus.org/en/project/t ... ocating_sp

====================================

Steven Avery
Last edited by Steven Avery on Sat Nov 01, 2014 9:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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