Archaic Mark - ms 2427 - portrait of Mark similar to Simonides

Steven Avery

Internet availability of information has been a spur to study, thus when this was placed online:

University of Chicago Library, Goodspeed Manuscript Collection
Ms. 972, New Testament. Gospels. Mark (Archaic Mark). Greg. 2427. Greece? 19th or 20th century

"Discussions about analyzing the codex began in 2005 as part of the renewed interest in the manuscript stimulated by the digitization of the Goodspeed Manuscript Collection" Chicago’s “Archaic Mark” (ms 2427) II Microscopic" - Mitchell, et al, below

As with Sinaiticus, that is when analysis really took off:

Chicago's "Archaic Mark" (MS 2427): A Reintroduction to Its Enigmas and a Fresh Collation of Its Readings’, (2006)
Margaret M. Mitchell and Patricia A. Duncan

Novum Testamentum 48.1 (2006): Archaic Mark (Feb 14, 2006)
Peter J. Williams

"Archaic Mark" (MS 2427) and the Finding of a Manuscript Fake (2006)
Stephen C. Carlson

Manuscript 2427- a fake (2006)
Wieland Willker
Note that Wieland was more careful to describe the actual evidences properly than most other writers. He also has an interesting discussion of the washed nature of Vaticanus, something that is barely mentioned elsewhere. Even the retracing is given minimal ink.

Evangelical Textual Criticism: Archaic Mark (Greg.-Aland 2427): A Story of a Modern Forgery (2009)
Thomas Wasserman

"there are a lot of examples of such forgeries in the 19th and early 20th century, not least in Athens."

Includes bibliography.

Evangelical Textual Criticism: “Archaic Mark” – Final Verdict

"I would have thought that Simonides was a good candidate. If you look at the portrait of Mark (Nov. Test, p. 117), there are some similarities with Simonides’ portraits elsewhere ..." Peter M. Head

Note: the question of a Simonides resemblance was a part of the Mayer papyri discussions, and apparently has come up in the Artemidorus Papyrus analysis, as well.

Material, ink, chemical, codicological scientific study was a key element:

Chicago’s “Archaic Mark” (ms 2427) II: Microscopic, Chemical and Codicological Analyses Confirm Modern Production (2010)
Margaret M. Mitchell - Joseph G. Barabe - Abigail B. Quandt

"Discussions about analyzing the codex began in 2005 as part of the renewed interest in the manuscript stimulated by the digitization of the Goodspeed Manuscript Collection" Chicago’s “Archaic Mark” (ms 2427) II Microscopic ...

Minuscule 2427

Ms 2427 was considered a parallel to Vaticanus, however it includes the traditional Mark ending.


Notes on some of the individuals:

Abigail B. Quandt - Head of Book and Paper Conservation
The Walters Art Museum 600 N. Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 410-547-9000 (also LinkedIn, Facebook)

Natalie Tchernetska - no current email yet available - has written about Tischendorf ms holding, including thefts, and Archimedes Palimpsest (separate page planned, Tischendorf heisted a leaf, as he likely did on the Ephraemi Rescriptus palimpsest .. pages also planned for Vinland Map and Artemidorus Papyrus)

"Constantin Tischendorf and his Greek Manuscripts" (2013) p. 12-14
Note that she is a principle, with Reviel Netz, Nigel Wilson and William Noel in:

The Archimedes Palimpsest -

And others: note the first: Abigail Quandt, John Lowden, Erik Petersen, William A. Christens-Barry, Roger L. Easton, Jr, Keith T. Knox, Uwe Bergmann, Doug Emery, Alex Lee, Michael Toth,

"Cambridge, Leipzig, Sinai: Tischendorf and Benechevitch," pp. 564–569

And a Bibliography on Digital Image Enhancement:

Poor Condition of the Archimedes Palimpsest - (2008)
Abigail Quandt and Natalie Tchernetska looking through the palimpsest and commenting on its poor condition|

Margaret M. Mitchell - -She will be on sabbatical in academic year 2015-2016.

Patricia A. Duncan - - Patricia (Tish) Duncan is Assistant Professor of Religion at TCU.

Joseph G. Barabe -Senior Research Microscopist -McCrone
Group -
McCrone Group - similarities to BAM, who was planned to do an April, 2015 test on Sinaiticus, Leipzig leaves --> cancelled
(BAM has actually a stronger reputation, and worked on the Dead Sea Scrolls, I suggest caution with McCrone public pronouncements)

Mary Carolyn Orna - Author of the The Chemical History of Color, Professor, College of New Rochelle, "Critical Thinking for Challenging Times"


Not the Gospel Truth: Modern Manuscript Forgeries and the Story of the Archimedes Palimpsest (2007)

Abigail Quandt

the evidence points to a pair of art dealers who acquired Byzantine manuscripts from their monastic owners in Greece and Turkey and sold them in Paris after having "improved" their appearance for greater profit.

Ten Years of Lessons from Imaging of the Archimedes Palimpsest (2011)
Roger L. Easton, Jr., William A. Christens-Barry, Keith T. Knox

As already mentioned, four leaves were erased yet again some time after 1938, overpainted with forged icons of the four Gospels, and further distressed to appear even more aged.
Chicago’s “Archaic Mark” (ms 2427) II: Microscopic, Chemical and Codicological Analyses Confirm Modern Production (2010)
Margaret M. Mitchell - Joseph G. Barabe - Abigail B. Quandt

"It is tempting to think that the forger may have intended his paint to crack and flake, either by applying an unstable coating to the surface (although it is unlikely that he would have known this about cellulose nitrate), or by mixing the paint with other materials such as shellac that he knew would become brittle in a relatively short period of time. Most Byzantine manuscripts exhibit moderate to extensive paint losses, so to pass his "Archaic Mark" off as an authentic work it would be logical for the forger intentionally to distress the paint layer in some way. The surfaces of the miniatures produced by the 19th/20th c. Athenian forger Pelekasis, as well as those found in the Archimedes Palimpsest (created after 1938), were scratched and rubbed in order to distress the paint layer and make it look naturally aged.

And freshening the ink was specifically referenced in terms of Tischendorf tampering.

"And I know yet further, that the codex also was cleaned with lemon-juice, professedly for the purpose of cleaning its parchments, but in reality in order to weaken the freshness of the letters, as was actually the case."

Minuscule 2427


Added to:

PureBibleForum - Sinaiticus

the theft and mutilation of manuscripts


Ten Years of Lessons from Imaging of the Archimedes Palimpsest (2011)
Roger L. Easton, Jr., William A. Christens-Barry, Keith T. Knox

The prayer book was used in Christian Orthodox services at the Monastery of St. Sabas in the Judean desert for hundreds of years. In the 1800s. the book was placed in the library of the Metochion of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Constantinople, where its presence was noted in 1844 by Constantin von Teschendorf, who was most famous for "borrowing" the Codex Sinaiticus from St. Catherine's Monaster}'. He published observations made during his visit to Constantinople in the book "Reise in den Orient," which was published in German in 1846 and in English translation by W.E. Shuckard as "Travels in the East" in 1847. In the book. Tischendorf noted that the bishop allowed him

"to make any use of the manuscripts I found. They were thirty in number, but they were altogether without any especial interest, with the exception of a palimpsest upon mathematics" (Tischendorf, tr. by Shuckard, 1847, p-274)

It is quite likely that this citation refers to the Archimedes palimpsest. Tischendorf apparently made use of the manuscript in a manner that was no doubt unforeseen by his host, since one leaf from the codex was found among his papers after Tischendorf s death and now resides in the Cambridge University Library as Add. 1879.23. ....

Remember, Tischendorf 15+ years later also claimed "permission" to take the 1844 CFA leaves.


"Yet one of the few critics who has enjoyed the privilege of examining both copies, has told us that he was particularly impressed with the marks of greater age patent in the Codex Vaticanus; it looks older, and has suffered more from the ravages of time; none of its leaves seem by any means so fresh as do some portions of its rival."

The quote is almost surely Scrivener speaking of Tregelles, who afawk saw only the darkened section of Sinaiticus! The Tregelles primary source would be nice to find. If Vaticanus is 4th century, and Sinaiticus is much lesser age, then this is not 5th century. Remember, Sinaiticus is supposed to have gone through more use, corrections, rebindings than any other ms.

Christian Remembrancer (1866)

Posted earlier -

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Steven Avery

learning from 2427

From Mark Michie

From the Margaret Mitchell video. Near the end of the video during a Q/A section she is talking about the Jesus' wife papyri (about 54:00)


Likely the most important parts from Margaret Mitchell, "the same should be applied to other manuscripts without provenance" including Sinaiticus.

In reference to gospel of Jesus' wife she says

"that the physical testing needs to be done, that it should i think have been done earlier on in the process is my own opinion, that this can and should be done."
"...but the physical materials need to be tested and .....we need full scale materials analysis.....that does obviously need to be done on order to authenticate that and i think It's crucially important that we scholars, when we introduce new materials into the scholarly discussion, and let alone the popular discussion i think It's very, very important that we do the most careful analysis that we can up front."


Some notes on 2427 discussion of Margaret Mitchell

Argon Labs

No euthalian matter

Jokes that the Holy land is Germany before 8 min

McCrone labs

21 min. Physical state doesn't fit what we would expect

Stresses teamwork

Interdisciplinary decisions of what to test

Precise sampling under magnification

Test parchment. Carbon dating. Tiny snippet of parchment

Precise sampling of pigments

Ink testing

Core sample of ink/bonding agent/coatings

30:30 This level of detail is absolutely essential

Glossy coating over codex and coating between parchment and higher layers

32:32 - Wash meant to make the parchment look older beaded on corners

Coating of celulose nitrate

Brown edging

34:15 - Improbability quote from Abigail Quandt

Highly unlikely that someone just happened to have mid 16th century blank parchment just lying around.

36:04 Shiny coating to age the appearance

36:10 edge damage from oily fingers not present. No genuine wear pattern. Fabricated wear pattern - dark edging

45. Importance of this work is for the detection of further forgeries.

Q/A 46 min

48:22 she ties Vaticanus and Sinaiticus together as an earlier text type

Chicago scholars thought that the peculiarities pointed to greater antiquity but proven opposite.

50 41 - Q&A Who had the skill to make it? -


50:50 - Surmises that since this is a composite object we are talking about a workshop and there could be other forgeries from this workshop

51:55 - Simonides ref - laughingly mentions his claim to Sinaiticus as an inverse problem of forgery

(SA: Mitchell drastically misdates Simonides, showing a lack of familiarity .. we could put her full quote here)

Mentions a volume that may have been used to model the images

Modern greekisms 53:10 thinking in greek

Talks about the Jesus wife papyri 54
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Steven Avery

the yellowing of 2427

Chicago’s “Archaic Mark” (ms 2427) II: Microscopic, Chemical and Codicological Analyses Confirm Modern Production (2010)
Margaret M. Mitchell - Joseph G. Barabe - Abigail B. Quandt

Second Coating on Parchment

The forger then applied a second coating to the parchment, to further age its appearance and make it seem damaged. In earlier analysis it was assumed that this speckled appearance was due to fungal growth on the parchment. However, instead of being a natural phenomenon caused by mold attack, this unusual speckling is the result of an applied yellow-orange coating, which has now been identified as a mixture of starch and dextrin. The coating appears to have been applied to the blank sheets subsequent to the glue/gelatin coating, but before the writing and painting were executed. It is clearly visible on the illuminated leaves, in areas of the parchment support that are now exposed due to losses in the paint layer. Although more difficult to determine, due to the thinness and translucency of the ink, the speckled coating seems to lie underneath the writing as well. The material may have been spattered on the surface with a brush or sprayed with an atomizer, in an attempt to replicate the appearance of mold as well as the irregular accumulation of stains, accretions and grime that are normally seen on the pages of medieval manuscripts (fig. 2).39

While the color of this coating varies from yellow to orange, with occasional darker patches and flecks of brown, it does not resemble anything that would have occurred naturally, over the course of time. Fungal stains are typically purple to red in color and the parchment is usually very weak and degraded in areas where it has been attacked by mold. In such a small manuscript as the "Archaic Mark" one would expect to see many dark, greasy stains in the margins, yet this secondary coating does an inadequate job of imitating the effects of grime and grease caused by handling. p. 113-114

The are similarities to the Sinaiticus situation. The scientists are trying to find out why the ms. has an extraordinary condition. For this, they test the materials.

There are differences as well. With Sinaiticus we have the amazing before and after situation from the Tale of Two Manuscripts. This would make the study of colour and staining far easier to put in focus.

One major difference is that on 2427 the presumed aging is supposed to have all occurred before any ink And thus, could be mixed up with a parchment prep process. In Sinaiticus the staining is after the ink (except for the possibility of late notations.)
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Steven Avery

Is the 'World's Oldest Bible' A Fake? - Ch. 22 Prove It!

Ch 22 - p. 185
Ms 2427

p. 187 - NA-27 - Category I
p. 189 - PIC - textbook example of Category I
p. 190 - almost completely the same as the text of the Codex Vaticanus -
p. 191 - Colwell and Goodspeed
p. 194 - Mary Virginia Orna - chemistry = Prussian Blue (iron)
p. 195 - provenance
2006 Margaret M. Mitchell photos -
p, 196 - Abigail Quandt
p. 197 - Stephen Carlson - "exact fitting words" (homoeoteleuton)
p. 198 - Philipp Buttmann - GNT - 1860 - NOW CHANGE TO 1856
p. 199 - copied Mai's errors into his copy of Mark
"an enterprising forger"
p. 200 - were tests April 2015 planned
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Steven Avery

Colwell and Hixson - the accent analogy
Colwell recognized an extraordinary textual affinity between Minuscule 2427 and Codex Vaticanus. According to him the codex 2427 preserved a "primitive text" of the Gospel of Mark ("Archaic Mark").[2] He found that from 73 singular readings of Codex Vaticanus, 46 are shared with codex 2427.[3] Colwell examined Minuscule 330 and found that the text of the Pauline epistles of this codex is textually very close to the codices 451, 2400 and 2492.[4]


Fordham Princeton etc
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Steven Avery


The lack of general publicity about microscopic/spectroscopic/etc analysis of the Sinaiticus does not mean that no such analysis has been done. The lack of public awareness of the 'Archaic Mark' examinations shows that such examinations happen without fanfare.

At the moment, I am not really aware of the Archaic Mark timeline of the tests.
David Daniels has some information in his first book.

Here is an excellent note I just saw on Archaic Mark.


"Archaic Mark" (MS 2427) and the Finding of a Manuscript Fake (2006)
Stephen C. Carlson

I had been aware that there was a controversy over 2427 because, every once in a while, a discussion about it would break out on TC-list, a textual criticism mailing list run by Jimmy Adair. I remember wanting to use 2427 in my study of the origins of the Caesarean text in Mark 6:45-8:26 (the Bethsaida section) that I did for the New Testament Textual Criticism section at SBL 2004, but I was hampered by the very selective list of readings in NA27. I needed a full collation. Then, I learned last summer (2005) that the images of Archaic Mark were put online, and I started collating the text. My interest in 2427's authenticity was piqued when I found what looked like a line omission in Mark 8:11. According to Paul Maas, Textual Criticism, line omissions in a manuscript are highly diagnostic of the manuscript's exemplar:

(a) If a witness J, exhibits all the errors of another surviving witness, F, and in addition at least one error of its own ('peculiar error'), then J must be assumed to derive from F. Sometimes a witness can be shown to depend on another surviving witness from a single passage, viz., if the peculiar error in the descendant is clearly due to the external state of the text in the surviving exemplar; e.g. . . . where in copying a prose exemplar a line has been omitted, destroying the logical unity, &c.[2]

[2] Paul Maas, Textual Criticism (trans. Barbara Flowers; Oxford: Clarendon, 1958), 4.


Notice how the spur to the study was the ms. being placed online.
Same as Sinaiticus.

Note that the SART team are afawk the only ones who have looked into the Sinaiticus line omissions in any detail.

Steven Avery


Robert P. Casey

. . It is to be hoped that in the forthcoming edition a chapter may be written by an advocatus diaboli who would do his best to prove that the codex was a manufacture of the nineteenth century, executed by a workman with the skill and limitations of a Simonides, familliar with Lachmann's edition and the modern Greek Bible, and thinking in Greek. Perhaps he had an Armenian friend living in Constantinople or Kaiseriye who was a skillful artist. The failure of the attempt to prove this thesis would do much to clear the ground for confidence in this remarkable possession. (p. 149)