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.
"... 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
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.