"Accents are not found in MSS. older than the 8th century." - Ezra Abbot --- pics Hermas Dan Batovici

Steven Avery

"Accents are not found in MSS. older than the 8th century."

The above was Greek NT manuscript science even after Sinaiticus was "discovered".

Dictionary of the Bible: Comprising Its Antiquities, Biography, Geography, and Natural History, Volume 3 (1872)
New Testament
Ezra Abbot

Accents are not found in MSS. older than the 8th century.* - Ezra Abbot

* Mr. Scrivener makes an exception in the case of the first four lines of each column of the Book of Genesis. In Cod. A, which, he says, is furnished with accents and breathings by the first hand (Introduction. p. 40) Dr. Tregelles. to whose kindness I am indebted for several remarks on this article, expressed to me his strong doubts as to the correctness of this assertion : and a very careful examination of the MS. leaves no question but that the accents and breathings were the work of the later scribe who accentuated the whole of the first three columns. There is a perceptible difference in the shade of the red pigment, which is decisively shown In the initial E. - p. 2118

Dictionary of the Bible.jpg

This was written in various editions from 1863 to at least 1894.

So by this science, the Sinaiticus manuscript must be centuries older than the 4th century date used to make up the Greek texts used in the modern corruption editions and versions. And since placing Sinaiticus in the 6th to 8th century is very difficult, we go to the solid alternative - 19th century.

Dictionary of the Bible (1871)

Dictionary of the Bible.jpg
... A small interval serves as a simple punctuation; and there are no accents or breathings by the hand of the first writer, though these have been added subsequently.
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Steven Avery

some ancient Greek manuscripts with accents

The book concludes with four examples drawn from ancient Greek manuscripts: Homer, Iliad 8.433, 435-47 (first or second century papyri); LXX Isaiah 13:3-8 (sixth century Codex Marchalianus); Romans 14:22-23, 16:25-27 (Michigan Ms. 34, fourteenth century); Demosthenes, On the Crown, 119-120 (an 1807 manuscript). Lee provides a photograph of the manuscript followed by a few paragraph of comments and a transcription. This wide range of dates allows the student to track the development of accents and other diacritical marks. These four illustrations are fascinating although I would have preferred additional examples from New Testament papyri given the target audience of this book. ...

Book Review: Phillip J. Long

John A. L. Lee,
Basics of Greek Accents (2018)
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Steven Avery

While this eliminates the palaeographic argument that Sinaiticus must be old due to not having accents, the fact that a few papyri dated early have accents do not allow this to be a proof of Sinaiticus antiquity. Simply a corroborating argument in that the Matthew accents are unlikely, as such accents are not on the early parchment New Testament writings.

(This is putting aside the mess in Hermas, which looks like someone did not really understand the text and was trying to make it comprehensible.) Those should be shown in our palaeographic puzzle section.

The claimed lack of accents (other than supposed late correctors) had been a part of the bogus palaeography pushed by Tischendorf. Another was "yellow with age".

One that is often used is the simplicity of the script, which argument shows a total misunderstanding of the terminus ante quem of manuscripts.

[B-Greek] Accents & Breathing Marks in Codex Sinaiticus and Beatty & Bodmer Papyrii?

Here is the situation back in 1899:

The palaeography of Greek papyri. (1899)
Frederic G. Kenyon

Accentuation is rarer than punctuation in Greek papyri, and quite as fluctuating in its appearance. It is not found at all in non-literary documents, and in literary MSS. its use is sporadic. It does not appear in the Petrie papyri of the third century n. c., nor in the Louvre Hyperides of the following century. The earliest example of the use of accents is in the Bacchylides MS., where they are also more plentiful than in another papyrus; and it is worth noticing that this is likewise one of the most carefully written papyri in existence, and is therefore probably something more than a copy for private use. Accents are also somewhat freely used in the Aleman fragment in the Louvre, which is probably of the latter part of the first century B. c.; and more scantily in the British Museum Odyssey papyrus (early first century) and two fragments of the Iliad in the Louvre (first and second centuries). ....
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Steven Avery

BVDB contra counterpoint

"BTW, who says the accents are original to the scribes who produced the manuscript?"

Bill Brown
"After all....accents could always have been added later."

The question from brandpluckt is legitimate, but he is hampered by deliberate ignorance.

"For the record, I do not read Avery's nonsense."

Bill Brown is simply flying blind.


Clearly the Hermas accents were "added on" at some time other than the original writing of Hermas. At least the ink is very different.

However, Skeat's point in Matthew is that if you look at the ink and style, the accents were part of the original writing. As were a number of unusual features like the Old Testament prophecy references (wrong at least three times.) Our checking so far agrees.
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