Codex Sinaiticus - the white parchment Friderico-Augustanus

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Steven Avery
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Re: Codex Sinaiticus - the white parchment Friderico-Augusta

Post by Steven Avery » Thu Oct 30, 2014 11:49 pm

ficino wrote:As I remember from working on it in Venice, the famous "Venetus T" of Plato, copied by Efrem the monk in around 950, still boasts nicely light-colored parchment. Parchment comes in all degrees of quality.

Yes, you can see white parchment referred to some times in manuscripts of some age. Keep in mind that New Testament scholars are generally not hands-on palaeography and codicology experts. So when they see manuscripts they see them through the lens of their textual studies. And when true experts are employed by the British Library, their writings are often humorous with how they relate to anomalies, it is good to have your handy-dandy "read between the lines" decoder ring.

If all of Sinaiticus was like the Codex Friderico-Augustanus leaves, it would definitely be curious, the subject of much discussion. Yet not ipso facto impossible for the early date.

The problems with Sinaiticus, though, go much deeper, the white manuscript left Sinai in 1844, the yellow manuscript with stains did not leave till 1859. What happened 1844->1859? The one explanation that really explains the puzzle is simple: there was tampering in those years in Sinai. Ockham truly struggles with alternatives like humidity and storage being different in St. Petersburg than Leipzig. If that were so, St. Petersburg would have many mss quickly yellowing. Plus there is no real history or science that says this occurred.

The other day, I read that one of the papyri was noted for being in rather unusually good condition. However, I don't think that was colour, it was more binding, maybe ink, maybe the fullness and completeness of the pages. I'll see if I bump into it again.

More on the papyri, a side-note, a simple example of disciplines clashing. Brent Nongbri, currently Australian, formerly Yale, has been rather successfully showing that early dates assigned for the Rylands papyri (P52) and the Bodmer (P66, P75 is likely a future study) are possible, yet not justified by the palaeographical facts on the ground. For the Bodmer, the dates could easily be later, 4th century or possibly even later. New Testament dating, pushed by textual critics, can at times take a myopic approach.

Steven Avery
Last edited by Steven Avery on Fri Oct 31, 2014 10:19 am, edited 2 times in total.

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

Post by ficino » Fri Oct 31, 2014 4:02 am

Steven Avery wrote:
The other day, I read that one of the papyri was noted for being in rather unusually good condition. However, I don't think that was colour, it was more binding, maybe ink, maybe the fullness and completeness of the pages. I'll see if I bump into it again.

More on the papyri, a side-note, a simple example of disciplines clashing. Brent Nongbri, currently Australian, formerly Yale, has been rather successfully showing that early dates assigned for the Bodmer papyri (P52 and P66, P75 is likely a future study) are possible, yet not justified by the palaeographical facts on the ground. The dates could easily be later, 4th century or possibly even later. New Testament dating, pushed by textual critics, can at times take a myopic approach.

Steven Avery
Interesting about Nongbri.

Steven, I very much would like the reference to the papyrus you speak of above! You speak about binding. I don't know of a case, at least before the late empire, where we have papyrus leaves that are bound, though there are references to papyrus codices. Perhaps your example is rather late.

Steven Avery
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Re: Codex Sinaiticus - the white parchment Friderico-Augusta

Post by Steven Avery » Fri Oct 31, 2014 5:02 am

Hi,

Yep, Nongbri is making the point that palaeographic evidence alone, without related external connections, should be seen as only a loose dating method, that a couple of handwriting similarities does not act to pinpoint a date, you can have such similarities over hundreds of years.

Here is what I saw about the leaves and "stitching of the binding".

The manuscript was found in 1952 at Jabal Abu Mana near Dishna (Egypt). In fact, the preservation level of P66 surprised scholars because the first 26 leaves were basically fully intact, and even the stitching of the binding remained.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papyrus_66

Sometimes this would raise provenance concerns. However, my understanding is that the Bodmer papyri are fairly solid in that regard. Note though that I do not really have background on the papyri literature.

Now, I do know some of the tricks of people like Gordon Fee, Daniel Wallace and James White, in misrepresenting the dates and significance of the papyri, especially a trick involving "common ancestor".

Kurt Aland, surprisingly, has an important section where he points out that the localized nature of the papyri should warn us about not overestimating their textual significance. Similarly he points out that gnosticism was a major force in Egypt at that time.

Steven Avery

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

Post by Ulan » Fri Oct 31, 2014 6:09 am

Steven Avery wrote:The problems with Sinaiticus, though, go much deeper, the white manuscript left Sinai in 1844, the yellow manuscript with stains did not leave till 1859. What happened 1844->1859? The one explanation that really explains the puzzle is simple: there was tampering in those years in Sinai. Ockham truly struggles with alternatives like humidity and storage being different in St. Petersburg than Leipzig. If that were so, St. Petersburg would have many mss quickly yellowing. Plus there is no real history or science that says this occurred.
The message you quoted further above says that the Leipzig document had been taken apart, flattened and washed. Did you consider the washing?

Steven Avery
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Leipzig cleaning - early parchment descriptions

Post by Steven Avery » Fri Oct 31, 2014 10:57 am

Hi,
Ulan wrote:The message you quoted further above says that the Leipzig document had been taken apart, flattened and washed. Did you consider the washing?
Definitely. The reference to Leipzig "cleaning", not washing, the manuscript, is the only really significant part of the explanations. I even have a request in to the Library for some more specifics, however they said, very cordially, that researching some of these elements will take a week or three.

Let's start by showing that the ms. was yellow in olden days.
"the vellum leaves, now almost yellow in colour"

A Full Collation of the Codex Sinaiticus, p. xxx, 1864,
Scrivener
http://books.google.com/books?id=v-JUmBD5zIcC&pg=PP38
Next, a reference likely based on Scrivener (who likely got his information from Tischendorf.)
"vellum sheets, are now yellow in age"
The Saturday Review of Politics, Literature, Science and Art, Volume 17
http://books.google.com/books?id=eHJAAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA358
Next, a reference to the Sinaiticus manuscript being yellow in a book about the discovery of the Syriac Sinaitic palimpsest. The book looks back at the Sinaiticus manuscript:
I translate the following description of the Convent of St. Catherine from a Greek book entitled—"The Holy Monastery of Sinai," by Perikles Gregoriados, Professor in the Theological School of the Holy Sepulchre (Jerusalem, 1875). p.82

"Of this venerable relic of so many ages, written on fine yellow vellum, the overjoyed finder (Tischendorf) p. 87

How the Codex Was Found: A Narrative of Two Visits to Sinai (1893, 1st ed)
Agnes Smith Lewis and Margaret Dunlop Gibson
http://books.google.com/books?id=AgCmFGN-E0IC&pg=PA82
Later, I will plan to go more into how such a referenced "cleaning" affects our studies.

Steven Avery
Last edited by Steven Avery on Mon Nov 03, 2014 6:14 am, edited 2 times in total.

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

Post by ficino » Fri Oct 31, 2014 11:01 am

Steven Avery wrote:Hi,



Here is what I saw about the leaves and "stitching of the binding".

The manuscript was found in 1952 at Jabal Abu Mana near Dishna (Egypt). In fact, the preservation level of P66 surprised scholars because the first 26 leaves were basically fully intact, and even the stitching of the binding remained.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papyrus_66
Cool, thanks. Yes, I note that Wikipedia says that Nongbri has placed P66 in the fourth cent. So it is relatively late, and its having been bound fits that century, certainly.

Steven Avery
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Codex Sinaiticus - the white parchment Friderico-Augusta

Post by Steven Avery » Fri Oct 31, 2014 11:48 am

Hi,

Interesting. Some extracts from the paper.

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

The Limits of Palaeographic Dating of Literary Papyri: Some Observations on the Date and Provenance of P.Bodmer II (P66)(2014)
Brent Nogbri
https://www.academia.edu/6755662/The_Li ... mer_II_P66_

Palaeographic Assessment and a Proposal
Don Barker has recently made a strong case that the ranges of dates assigned on the basis of palaeography to Christian literary papyri have generally been too narrow.24 P.Bodmer II can serve as an especially informative example of this phenomenon. It is not that some of the more securely dated parallels of the second and third centuries do not show some similarities to the hand of P.Bodmer II. Rather, it is that other potential comparanda (especially potential coniparanda with later dates) have not been fully explored. In the case of P.Bodmer II, one does not even have to look very far to find a reasonably close palaeographic match with a firm date. Within the Bodmer collection itself, indeed within the same cache of manuscripts purchased with P.Bodmer II, there is a more firmly datable papyrus that bears many striking resemblances to P.Bodmer II, namely P.Bodmer XX (LDAB 220465), a copy of The Apology of Phileas that describes a trial held before the prefect Culcianus. The dates of Culcianus are reasonably secure, and the events narrated in the text cannot have taken place earlier than the first years of the fourth century. Assuming P.Bodmer XX is not an autograph, the papyrus most likely dates to some point in the middle of the fourth century (though a date later in the fourth century cannot entirely be ruled out). (continues) p. 14-15

Contextualizing P. Bodmer II among the Other Bodmer Papyri
The type of argument I have just made can be quite disconcerting. It is frustrating to point out that we do not know with certainty something that we formerly thought we knew quite well. If palaeography thus leaves us with this wide range of dates, is there any way to establish a date for P.Bodmer II with more precision? I believe that we can. p.20

P. Bodmer II Charts on p. 22-23 (Christian material in Greek, Coptic)

What emerges from this quick survey is that most of the codices are dated to the third to the fifth centuries with a clustering in the fourth century. p. 24

(codex discussion of P.Bodmer XIV-XV: p. 24-25)

P.Bodmer II has also been repaired in a way that interferes with reading parts of its text (bands of reinforcing papyrus cover parts of the inner margins of some pages). Yet, to describe these codices as "relics" already in the fourth century on this basis seems misleading, because it is unclear at what point these repairs and rebindings took place. p. 25

A codex produced in the early fourth century would have period of at least two centuries for wear and tear to take place and repair and rebinding to occur. At what point between the copying of these codices and their deposition in or after the sixth century were these pieces rebound? How often might they have been rebound? Clearly some attention to the construction of P.Bodmer II is in order. p. 25

(continues with codicology through p. 32 and then conclusion through p. 35)

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

We would have to read carefully, or contact Brent Nongbri, to see if the concept is that this was originally bound, and if so, if that should be used as a reason, as you suggest, to support the later dates.

Overall. Quite convincing.

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

Larry Hurtado's Blog
The Date of P66 (P. Bodmer II): Nongbri’s New Argument -June 3, 2014
http://larryhurtado.wordpress.com/2014/ ... -argument/

... The accurate dating of early Christian manuscripts, and especially copies of biblical writings, is extremely important. So, as unsettling as Nongbri's contentions may be to what has been the received opinion on P66, it is important to give the matter patient and adequate attention. (And he refers to another article that is forthcoming in which he challenges the received dating of P75 too!)

In this preliminary review, Hurtado takes issue on one relatively minor point.

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

Steven Avery

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Codex Sinaiticus - the white parchment Friderico-Augustanus

Post by Steven Avery » Fri Oct 31, 2014 7:15 pm

**************************************************
James Donaldson on Sinaiticus provenance
**************************************************

Here, I would like to turn to a section where James Donaldson, who is helping us with many linguistic aspects of Hermas and Barnabas, talks about the poof provenance aspect of Sinaiticus.

Remember, the white parchment trickery was hidden, so that does not come up. It does show you that one of the very top scholars remained very skeptical of the Tischendorf Sinaiticus juggernaut.

**************************************************

perception of James Donaldson - Sinaiticus provenance - ancient catalog

One man stands out as the scholastic giant of the 1800s, when it comes to Sinaiticus and understanding the basic issues of ms. integrity, authenticity and dating. Here the Scottish scholar James Donaldson was discussing a ms which some thought might have been a forgery.

Codex Hierosolymitanus
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codex_Hierosolymitanus
"... The codex contains the Didache, the Epistle of Barnabas, the First Epistle of Clement and the Second Epistle of Clement, the long version of the letters of Ignatius of Antioch and a list of books of the Bible following the order of John Chrysostom. It was discovered in 1873 by Philotheos Bryennios, the metropolitan of Nicomedia, at Constantinople. He published the texts of the two familiar Epistles of Clement in 1875, overlooking the Didache, which he found when he returned to the manuscript."

The discovery of the Greek Orthodox scholar:

Philotheos Bryennios (1833-1917)
http://orthodoxwiki.org/Philotheos_%28B ... 9_of_Nicom

and Donaldson stopped to consider the general problem of mss with sketchy and dubious provenance explanations. Donaldson pointed out that the situation was more unsatisfactory in regard to Codex Sinaiticus.

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

The Theological review (1877)
The New MS. of Clement of Rome
James Donaldson
http://books.google.com/books?id=W0EEAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA35
We have given nearly all the information in regard to this manuscript which Bryennius has vouchsafed to impart to us. He does not say anything of the history of the Library or of the manuscript. He supplies us with no external testimony to its antiquity. He mentions the fact that he was aided in the collation by his illustrious friend, the Metropolitan of Korytzas, Dorotheus Evelpis. We have to trust entirely to the honour of these two Greek clergymen for the fact that a really genuine manuscript has been found, and to internal evidence. We cannot think that this is an entirely satisfactory method of procedure. When a manuscript is discovered, all the external testimony that can be adduced should be adduced. In this particular case we are met with a puzzling circumstance. Gebhardt and Harnack state that a catalogue of this Library was prepared by Bethmann in 1845, and exists in Pertz's Archiv, but no mention is made of our Codex. Was it in the Library then? Still more unsatisfactory is the absence of such external testimony when so important a Codex as the Sinaiticus is concerned. Tischendorf rescued a portion of tins manuscript from the waste-basket in 1844. In 1853 he could hear nothing of it. In 1859 he accidentally found it in the possession of the steward, the most complete copy of the Old and New Testament in existence, with the Epistle of Barnabas and the Pastor of Hermas. Could not the monks state its history during the period of 1844 to 1859? Could they not have detailed the efforts they made to gather the scattered fragments together ? Could not the steward have told when he became the custodian of the work ? All this information would be exceedingly interesting in itself and very valuable for posterity. This generation may have perfect confidence in Bryennius and Tischendorf. But circumstances might arise at a long subsequent period which might awaken doubts as to the genuineness of the manuscripts. The appeal to internal evidence may prove to be unsatisfactory. And then what is there ? It might well be urged that if a Tischendorf were inclined to forge a manuscript, he had unrivalled opportunities of so doing. No one was so well versed in manuscripts as he. None knew so well as he all the forms of the letters, all the mistakes of copyists, all the various readings. And it might also be said that there is no guarantee that the terrible results of a discovery of such a practice would be sufficiently deterrent. Chatterton was not deterred. Constantino Simonides was not deterred. Nor were these influenced by a base love of gain, but an eager desire to shew their power. A fascination was upon them which blinded them to all consequences. We cannot therefore but think it a grave error both in Tischendorf and Bryennius that they have not adduced external testimony to the history of their manuscripts.
====================================

There is an interesting irony in the Bethmann catalog reference, since the St. Catherine's ancient catalog, by Nicephorus Marthalis, is similarly part of the poof provenance.

"Still more unsatisfactory is the absence of such external testimony when so important a Codex as the Sinaiticus is concerned."

"... circumstances might arise at a long subsequent period which might awaken doubts as to the genuineness of the manuscripts. The appeal to internal evidence may prove to be unsatisfactory."

And that day is today.

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

Tischendorf did not even have a collaborating scholar. He spoke of two mystery Germans, no names, not scholars, who worked with him with the ms when it was privately in his hands in Cairo in 1859. They were tradesmen, or professionals, not scholars.

Uspensky gave a limited account of the ms. in 1845 and 1850, and his account talked of a white parchment ms. And a bound codex. All conflicting with the Tischendorf fabrications.

How did everything but Frederico-Augustantus, which departed Sinai in 1844 with Tischendorf in unusual circumstances, become so yellowed?

James Donaldson would ask a question of that nature, had he known about the parchmant colour problem, by contrast many of the scholars today are in a fog.

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

James Donaldson shows his high level of skill in analyzing these texts, with a strong familiarity with the Greek and Latin classics and Biblical writings. Gebhardt and Harnack call him:
"Donaldsonius, vir doctissimus inque litteris Graecis versatissimus"
Donaldson, a learned man versed in Greek literature.

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

Post by Leucius Charinus » Fri Oct 31, 2014 10:00 pm

ficino wrote: Yes, I note that Wikipedia says that Nongbri has placed P66 in the fourth cent. So it is relatively late, and its having been bound fits that century, certainly.
Steven Avery wrote: Interesting. Some extracts from the paper.

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

The Limits of Palaeographic Dating of Literary Papyri: Some Observations on the Date and Provenance of P.Bodmer II (P66)(2014)
Brent Nongbri
https://www.academia.edu/6755662/The_Li ... mer_II_P66_
Brilliant article from my perspective. I had the pleasure of meeting Brent early this year at Macquarie Uni. I had read all his articles and was in the building seeing a few other people so I dropped by. I was surprised to see he had a surfboard in his office at that time.
What emerges from this quick survey is that most of the codices are dated to the third to the fifth centuries with a clustering in the fourth century. p. 24

P.Bodmer II has also been repaired in a way that interferes with reading parts of its text (bands of reinforcing papyrus cover parts of the inner margins of some pages). Yet, to describe these codices as "relics" already in the fourth century on this basis seems misleading, because it is unclear at what point these repairs and rebindings took place. p. 25

A codex produced in the early fourth century would have period of at least two centuries for wear and tear to take place and repair and rebinding to occur. At what point between the copying of these codices and their deposition in or after the sixth century were these pieces rebound? How often might they have been rebound? Clearly some attention to the construction of P.Bodmer II is in order. p. 25

(continues with codicology through p. 32 and then conclusion through p. 35)

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

We would have to read carefully, or contact Brent Nongbri, to see if the concept is that this was originally bound, and if so, if that should be used as a reason, as you suggest, to support the later dates.

Overall. Quite convincing.

Well I have read it carefully. What are your questions?

If it about the stitching and binding there is a schematic at page 27

Have you presented the stitching and binding specifications for Codex Sinaiticus in this thread yet?
Were you going to compare these processes? I guess Sinaiticus has been repaired a few times? IDK.
Larry Hurtado's Blog
The Date of P66 (P. Bodmer II): Nongbri’s New Argument -June 3, 2014
http://larryhurtado.wordpress.com/2014/ ... -argument/

... The accurate dating of early Christian manuscripts, and especially copies of biblical writings, is extremely important. So, as unsettling as Nongbri's contentions may be to what has been the received opinion on P66, it is important to give the matter patient and adequate attention. (And he refers to another article that is forthcoming in which he challenges the received dating of P75 too!)

In this preliminary review, Hurtado takes issue on one relatively minor point.
Image

Larry makes a token defence for the early use of the staurogram and against the notion that it is a 4th century innovation.


James Donaldson appears as a key figure in the prosecution.
Interesting thread and devlopments. Thanks.


my dog's still barking up the C14 tree :)




Be well,



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

Post by perseusomega9 » Sat Nov 01, 2014 4:17 am

Hey Steven, saw you posted this in the NT scholarship FB page, waiting to see what kind of response you get there as well.

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