Codex Sinaiticus - the white parchment Friderico-Augustanus

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

Post by Leucius Charinus » Mon Nov 10, 2014 6:14 am

Steven Avery wrote:Hi,
Steven Avery wrote: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.)


Here I want to show you how the complete lack of chemical tests has left theory to simply be unverified conjecture (emphasis added).

Report on the different inks used in Codex Sinaiticus and assessment of their condition
Sara Mazzarino
http://codexsinaiticus.org/en/project/c ... n_ink.aspx


So with all the extensive analysis and conjectures, no testing at all of parchment, ink or stains. Notice how looking at retraced ink can be especially informative, as the upper and lower areas are both identified with specific aspects of the text, which can be correlated with proposed writing chronologies.
.
Oh, they also have hemp threads for the convoluted double binding (before the 1933 Douglas Cockerell binding that was destructive to some evidence) theories that could be tested. Those theories are a bit meshuganah, since they are still taking seriously some of the tisseudorfs about how he found the ms.
.
Now there could be an underlying concern that such tests would produce results extremely incompatible with current Sinaiticus theories. Is this ink a 4th century chemical? 8th century? 19th century? Those are natural questions for chemical and spectrographic studies.
Hi Steven,

Could you link to some references outlining the potential processes for some of this "testing at all of parchment, ink or stains". For example, does the process which tests and analyses the ink require some physical ink to be removed from the pages of this Holy and Highly Revered Relic?

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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new thread on non-invasive manuscript testing

Post by Steven Avery » Wed Nov 12, 2014 7:29 am

Good thinking. I'll start another thread on manuscript testing, and we can use that as a base and keep adding info there. It could become a rather interesting and involved thread, so let's not block up good old white parchment.

And I received a second response from the British Library on the colour issues, so that will be next here.

As for Hermas and Barnabas, that is also ready to move along to some dynamite info!

This way, we have 3 threads, complementary to one another. (I can envision also the possibility of trying to integrate all the basic info on Sinaiticus into its own discussion, but right now the white parchment and Hermas and Barnabas issues are front and center, along with the "why not testing" question.)

Steven Avery
Last edited by Steven Avery on Wed Nov 12, 2014 8:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Society of Biblical Literature discussion - ms deterioration

Post by Steven Avery » Wed Nov 12, 2014 8:36 pm

The March, 2014 white parchment letter from the British Library can be seen here earlier in the thread:

Cillian O'Hogan - British Library
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1017&p=21508#p21508

And a related recent discussion can be seen on one Facebook forum.

Society of Biblical Literature
Codex Sinaiticus scholarly review request
https://www.facebook.com/groups/SocBibL ... 746324255/

James Dowden raised some interesting possibilities, similar to the British Library letter. And we discussed the Pushkin Archive, which was rather a different situation involving fire and water damage. From that discussion I've initiated some contacts with the Russians involved in manuscript conservation, with help from Alexander Nikolaev, a Professor in New York whose uncle Nikolai is referenced in the thread.

James Dowden has a Biblioblog
http://jamesdowden.wordpress.com/

Now there is a second response to my follow-up questions to the March, 2014 letter.

The next post I'll place in the British Library follow-up.

Steven Avery
Last edited by Steven Avery on Wed Nov 12, 2014 8:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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British Library on the white parchment - November, 2014

Post by Steven Avery » Wed Nov 12, 2014 8:53 pm

Hi,

This I going to work with a combination of color-coding the new British Library information in brown.
Cillian O'Hogan for the British Library - "BL-Nov, 2014" - this new material is not in a quote box.

And quote-boxes for previous correspondence, since it includes the March letter from the BL, my recent questions placed here for the first time, and the further response from the BL. I've tried to shorten in such a way that the substantive conversation is fully maintained.

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

BL-Nov, 2014
Thanks again for your very interesting questions: after looking into them and consulting with colleagues in conservation, I've appended some responses, interspersed with your questions below.

BL-March, 2014
Yes, there does appear to be a difference across the photographs.
But there was colour variance throughout.
This probably reflected the degree of parchment degradation of the individual leaves.
The folios that have been subjected to greater fluctuations in relative humidity, heat and light tend to show a higher level of degradation and gelatinisation. These folios tended to be more yellowish.
SA-Oct 30,2014
Is there any reason that the leaves that went to Russia and England would show much greater degradation and gelatinisation than those that are in Leipzig? And is there any record of the degradation turning the leaves yellow from white?
Parchment Assessment of the Codex Sinaiticus
http://codexsinaiticus.org/en/project/c ... spx#note15
Fluctuating conditions of heat and moisture can also make the parchment fibres vulnerable to a breakdown called gelatinisation. Here, collagen in the parchment is denatured by interaction with moisture, which acts to break the triple helix bonds of the fibres and leave them with a gelatinous structure.
e.g. Did the condition of the parchment markedly change in Britain since 1933?
Or, similarly, is there any history with other manuscripts that show such a marked difference based on where they are stored?
Basically ... is there any science, or any observational history, to support this interesting conjecture?
Please understand, it is fine if this is simply a helpful conjecture, of what might have occurred. However, I hope you understand our trying to separate conjecture from science, manuscript history and actual observation. :-)
BL-Nov, 2014
This is conjecture, yes, but based on knowledge of how parchment degrades in general (tending to yellow as it ages or is exposed to detrimental factors): from the overall conservation report (http://www.codexsinaiticus.org/en/proje ... eport.aspx), note:
A future ambition is to review the environments in which the leaves have been variously kept (though the experience of other research projects such as the "Identical Books Project" suggest that detailed historic environmental records will rarely be available and potentially link them to the condition of the different components of the manuscript.

This has not happened yet and there are no immediate plans to do so.

BL-Mar
However, the sections were split between Q37 f3v and Q37 f4r and this makes them vulnerable to mechanical damage and dirt as well.
SA
And I think here you are only talking about one leaf, where the split occurs.
So that would not be relevant to the general observation. Agreed?
BL- Nov, 2014
Yes, that is a fair point.

BL-March, 2014
The Leipzig folios were bound and stored under different conditions than those that ended up at the BL, so Q37 f4r may have been more exposed for a longer period of time.
In relation to a difference between the BL and Leipzig folios, my fist impression was that the Leipzig folios were lighter.
However, they had been unbound, cleaned and flattened, so they appeared different anyway.
SA-Oct 30,2014
This is a critical question.
Is there any known cleaning in Germany that would have turned a yellow parchment to white?
Or would have removed stains?
Do you have any specific information on this? That would be very helpful. Again, if it is a conjecture, or suppositional that is fine. Cleaning can be anything from a little dust removal to applying cleaners and reagents. Do we have any information from Leipzig?

Now, I understand that the binding and flattening was different, since Leipzig did not place their leaves in a codex. And that could create a difference in elements like creases. However creases and folds are not color and stains. And presumably Douglas Cockerell, and his staff, similarly flattened leaves before placing them in the new bindings. (Do we know if they did any cleaning?, perhaps simply dust removal?)
BL Nov, 2014
I can't speak to what happened at Leipzig and suggest you contact the relevant person there (Leander Seige, seige@ub.uni-leipzig.de) as he may have further information. As for Cockerell's repairs, he mentions (on p 84 of Scribes and Correctors) that the leaves were subjected to a damp atmosphere for an hour or an hour and a half, in order to make the parchment soft and limp and enabled to be flattened by stretching in a stretching-frame. I can't find any records of his having conducted any cleaning though there were numerous other repairs, especially to the many slits in the edges of the leaves.

With all best wishes,
Cillian O'Hogan


SA:
Very cordial. A good contact person in Germany.

Reader's can decide how well this addresses the white parchment mystery and anomaly. For now, I simply want to make the information available for our researchers and scholars.

Steven Avery
Bayside, NY

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

Post by DCHindley » Fri Nov 14, 2014 7:46 pm

Steven,

With all that you have said so far, what exactly is your point?

Are you saying codex Sinaiticus is a hoax and worthless for text critical purposes? What does that say about what codices or mss you *do* think have value.

I'll be honest, I have a hard time telling what your agenda is.

DCH

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Re: Codex Sinaiticus - the white parchment Friderico-Augusta

Post by Ulan » Sat Nov 15, 2014 12:41 am

DCHindley wrote:I'll be honest, I have a hard time telling what your agenda is.
I guess he will answer himself, but 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.

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.

But, after having played the "traits often found together" game, let us hear Steve himself before jumping to conclusions.

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Re: Codex Sinaiticus - the white parchment Friderico-Augusta

Post by ficino » Sat Nov 15, 2014 4:50 am

DCHindley wrote:Steven,

With all that you have said so far, what exactly is your point?

Are you saying codex Sinaiticus is a hoax and worthless for text critical purposes? What does that say about what codices or mss you *do* think have value.

I'll be honest, I have a hard time telling what your agenda is.

DCH
I asked Steven a form of this question on the first page of this thread. Don't recall seeing it answered.

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1017#p21413

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Re: Codex Sinaiticus - the white parchment Friderico-Augusta

Post by DCHindley » Sat Nov 15, 2014 9:27 am

Here is a link to Steven Avery's posts on the CARM discussion board:

http://forums.carm.org/vbb/search.php?searchid=2036656
CARM Web Intro wrote:About The Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry

CARM is a 501(c)3, non-profit, Christian ministry dedicated to the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ and the promotion and defense of the Christian Gospel, doctrine, and theology.


DCH

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Re: Codex Sinaiticus - the white parchment Friderico-Augusta

Post by Ulan » Sat Nov 15, 2014 12:13 pm

The direct link to the "search" doesn't work, but you can search for yourself. His latest posts are all in the King James "Only" forum, and here's one snippet that fits what I wrote further up:
Steve Avery wrote:Now, I will not criticize such an analysis, not based on a quote-snippet, since John Cereghin can simply be basing the comment on this truth:

a) The Byzantine Greek manuscripts, considered to be centered in Antioch, are a key element of Bible preservation. Hort tried to discount those ms. by the bogus Syrian or Lucian recensions. On hundreds of variants these have overwhelming agreement on many hundreds of mss.

b) The Alexandrian Greek manuscripts, centered on Codex Vaticanus with generally ultra-minority variants, is the pretender, the counterfeit, in the Greek ms. line. And these counterfeits give you your textus corruptus (the modern critical texts) and the modern versions.
link
It seems my analysis was spot on.

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Codex Sinaiticus - an overview

Post by Steven Avery » Sat Nov 15, 2014 7:46 pm

Hi,
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 is unwelcome.

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 approach.

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.

Steven Avery
Last edited by Steven Avery on Sun Nov 16, 2014 8:42 am, edited 53 times in total.

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