DCHindley wrote:Are you saying codex Sinaiticus is a hoax and worthless for text critical purposes?
What I am saying in this thread is that there is compelling evidence, available publicly since 2009 when the pictures were put online, that Codex Sinaiticus was tampered with in the period 1844-1859. Evidence that the parchment was artificially aged, using techniques well known in replica and forgery circles. And this physical evidence matches historical accusations about the ms made in 1861.
The evidence is very glaring. Alternate explanations to tampering are extremely difficult.
Beyond that, there are other evidences that Sinaiticus was not a 4th century text, such as the linguistic and manuscript situations with Hermas and Barnabas.
How you piece together those evidences, the results, the conclusions, will vary a bit from person to person. I have not made that the emphasis of the threads, the first issue is knowing the actual anomalies. If a person accepts that the evidence is that the manuscript has been subject to tampering, this does not ipso facto
mean it was not authentic from the 4th century. However it does support a high level of suspicion about antiquity claims. Those types of concerns are not welcome in many NT circles, since various institutions, reputations and presentations have a lot of vested interest
on the line. Egg on the face
Also, it is very clear that the 4th century authenticity claims were a rush to judgment.
There were always problems with the pushing of those claims, as seen by Adolf Hilgenfeld in the 1860s and David Trobisch today. Now, those gentlemen may not have been concerned about authenticity, however their alternate positions of a later date, 6th-7th century, unexamined, shows you that there was an unhealthy steamroller dynamic at play. Ironically, the yellow with age condition of the manuscript was a significant part of the 1860s antiquity claim, as accepted by Scrivener and others. And today we know that the manuscript was actually a pristine white parchment, in superb modern-looking condition.
Precept upon precept, line upon line.
DCHindley wrote:Are you saying codex Sinaiticus is a hoax and worthless for text critical purposes?
To repeat your question and answer more directly.
It is possible. If the manuscript is not authentic, there is a lot of puzzle about what happened in the critical periods, up to 1844 and then 1844-1859. Plenty of motive and opportunity for tampering. Tischendorf might have been fooled, or he might have played people for fools. We know Tischendorf lied about the manuscript discovery. And it is quite clear that the 1844 manuscript haul was overt theft. And the 1859 haul was a more nuanced heist. And he callously mutilated mss (e.g. the Archimedes Palimpsest and likely the Ephraemi palimpsest). Ironically, there is an unusual quote from Fenton Hort in 1851, almost out in left field, saying Tischendorf would find "rich materials" for the Westcott-Hort NT recension. And there is quite a bit of perplexity and contradiction involving his papal visits and relationship to Vaticanus. Returning to Sinaiticus, Simonides may have been involved in various ways. Simonides claimed direct involvement in making the manuscript. And his own story may mix elements of truth and self-serving historical adjustment.
Lots of scenarios can be considered. And I really do not have any one that stands out.
Historically, Sinaiticus was used as a buttress to the new Westcott and Hort theories behind their 1871 and 1881 GNT recension. The Batman of Vaticanus was a partner to the Robin of Sinaiticus. Together they were the W-H textual Dynamic Duo. If Robin turns out to be a shill of the Joker, Gotham City will need a reexamination of its crime-busting approach.
Now, to be fair, Hort's theories are pretty much defunct anyway, whatever the actual situation with Sinaiticus. However, the residue of the theories still casts a heavy hand on NT textual circles.
DCHindley wrote:What does that say about what codices or mss you *do* think have value.
Sinaiticus has a specifically unique set of problems with provenance, history, condition and linguistics. Afaik, these problems do not spill over in any general way to our other ancient Greek, Latin, Syriac, Coptic et al mss.
Now, if you see the problems here, you will be slow to jump through hoops on consensus
claims about New Testament manuscripts. Once burned, you will be a tad shy.
An interesting case is the consensus on some ultra-early dating of Egyptian papyri that is used for various NT textual analysis theories and apologetics that is now breaking down under closer examination. However, for the most part there are not authenticity issues in that realm, just optimistic, biased scholarship and a chimerical consensus. You have more the problem of bandwagon consensus
conclusions that are not based on a careful examination of evidences.
Sinaiticus is quite unique,
a) poof provenance before 1844. Including a period, about 50 years, when many manuscript hunters were in the St. Catherine's monastery specifically looking for and at ancient manuscripts. Other manuscripts were discussed, yet Sinaiticus is unknown. And the ancient catalog is no longer referenced, even though a catalog of monastery manuscripts was written up in the 1730s by the bibliophile Archbishop Nicephorus Marthalis.
b) alternative production scenarios that arose can help explain what brought the ms to Sinai around 1840. And James Anson Farrer pointed out important elements that were only confirmed in the 1890s by the publication of the Athos catalog by Spyridon Paulou Lambros. Interestingly, this included a confirmation of Kallinikos, who wrote specifically of the ms parchment tampering that occurred in the 1850s, making it yellow. And Kallinikos also discussed the theft of the ms.
c) the normal stories of manuscript discovery are known to be transparent fabrications, such as the saved-from-burning cover story. Plus, Tischendorf was known to mutilate manuscripts, in addition to theft. So no aspect of the stories he presented from 1859 on, about the previous two decades, can be accepted as factual without external corroboration. Which does not exist.
d) lots of opportunity for tampering in 1844-1859. Baksheeshnik compatriots in the monastery. And the ms handled off-site, privately, away from Sinai in Cairo, for months in 1859. With the hands involved given only vague identification. Two German professionals in Cairo who knew Greek and had a couple of months of free time worked with Tischendorf, per his account.
e) hard physical evidence that the ms was subject to tampering to make it appear old, matching to a T the specific 1861 allegation of the ms being made to look yellow with age. We can move forward carefully from the 1845 report from Uspensky writing about the white parchment bound codex condition. Up till the clashing ms conditions we see today. We have a trail of historical and physical evidence pointing to the tampering. And the tampering clearly is consistent with non-authenticity.
f) the New Finds of 1975 gives corroborative evidence that the period 1844-1859 was a time of manuscript mangling. They also give us circumstantial evidence that the mass of the Shepherd of Hermas was discarded.
g) linguistic evidence that books of Sinaiticus were not 4th century, courtesy of Scottish scholar James Donaldson. Ironically, carefully applying Tischendorf's own arguments, that Tischendorf retracted .. when Sinaiticus was ready to be published. That study from Donaldson has not received a review and response even today.
h) coincidences about the Hermas and Barnabas publications that preceded Sinaiticus publication.
"The coincidence seems almost more singular than can be accounted for by chance",
James Anson Farrer, Literary Forgeries, 1907.
And the Barnabas 1843 text brought forth by Simonides was hand-waved, along with the Star of the East publication. Today we have more information about what may be a deep-six of authenticity claims.
i) a slew of mostly unexamined anomalies involving rebinding, retracing, Arabic palaeography and prophecy, super-tiny writing, ultra-dark ink, issues with Tobit as Old Syriac or Old Latin, Revelation as a commentary, lack of deterioration, the amazing NT not losing a single leaf despite the supposed heavy usage and dispersion and the OT being in tatters, Tischendorf's x-ray vision, cancel sheets, dual quire numbers, and more.
These are often approached with an approach of hands-in-the-air early dating presuppositional perplexity. Simply, this is puzzling.
A simple example is the highly unlikely theory that the ms was rebound between 1844 and 1845. This theory exists not based on any real evidence, it exists simply to plug up the gaps and fabrications in the official cover stories. Passed down from Tischendorf and still repeated as if reliable. The handlers of the manuscript and the scholarship are, for the most part, unwilling to acknowledge the simple fact that Tischendorf lied. And all historical reconstructions should not pretend otherwise.
Incidentally, I was aware of some of these problems, and wrote rather dismissively of them. e.g. In the discussions on TC-Alternate as recently as 2011. Then I examined the evidences more closely
, and we discovered the additional evidences. Including the white parchment pristine condition of Codex Friderico-Augustanus and the James Donaldson linguistic articles and the Barnabas 1843 edition.
With the white parchment vs yellow and stained parchment sections we have a glaring physical anomaly. It can be checked by anybody. The history of the 1844-1859 period can be researched. Thus, this thread.
Ulan wrote: let's first state that answering his questions here is a good task in and itself. Knowing more about the earliest texts is always a good thing. I'm all for doing some 14C dating on some uncleaned portion.
As would multispectral imaging on parchment, ink, stains and threads. Possibly direct chemical testing as well. Multispectral imaging is done on many manuscripts and artifacts, for a wide variety of purposes, including assessing dates. e.g. Even if Sinaiticus is authentic antiquity, there is supposed to be a wide variety of corrections over a millennium. Testing would help discern what text and ink matches other text and inks and when they were placed on parchment. Here with the parchment condition we have glaring and more fundamental issues. The best testing can examine the ms with a tabula rasa
The only time I know special technology was used on Sinaiticus was simply to help determine some underwriting that had been erased, using ultra-violet. Even that has some interesting twists.
Ulan wrote:Of course, I have my own suspicions about this. Steve dates all NT texts between 40 and 63 (with some leeway). All other people that I know and who have similar ideas about the dating of the NT don't stop expressing their seething hatred for the Codex Sinaiticus and the influence it holds on modern bible translations. They are constantly ranting about the corruptions of the Alexandrian text-type and the evils of modern NT scholarship..
Ulan, I have no hatred of any manuscript. Textually, I don't think Sinaiticus is particularly important whether 4th century, 6th century, or 19th century. The actual glaring anomalies are the issue.
Ulan wrote:But, after having played the "traits often found together" game, let us hear Steve himself before jumping to conclusions.
You could say I was more open to studying this question because of a textually skeptical approach to the small number of Alexandrian mss. So in that sense I was more attuned to listening and studying these authenticity issues.
However, I was also quite dismissive of the concerns of authenticity ... until I studied the evidences.
The purpose of these threads is to make public some of the new and rather amazing evidences.
The simple fact that the Sinaiticus m. is actually in two distinct conditions:
a) 1844 left Sinai - Codex Friderico-Augustanus - 43 leaves, white parchment, pristine
b) 1859 left Sinai - bulk of ms - about 350 leaves, yellowed and stained
And this is something that should have been a major discussion point years back. However, the public, and most researchers, did not know about this until 2009. The condition differentiation was not made clear by Tischendorf, Lake, Skeat and Milne, the historical writers on the ms until recent years who may have seen both parts. Not many people visited Leipzig and St. Petersburg or London with the idea of comparning ms conditions.
And again, please note that there were very specific accusations of tampering made around 1861 that match the two conditions.