DSS fragments - "The Lying Pen of Scribes" Facebook group - now, what about Sinaiticus?

Steven Avery

The Lying Pen of Scribes
Steven Avery - March 28, 2018

Hi Lying Pen group,

The provenance of the Museum of the Bible fragments was dicey. And those with ownership of the fragments have been willing to allow scientific tests. Even the famed BAM group (Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung,) with Dr. Ira Rabin is now able to do tests on some fragments. As shared by a super-reliable source.

Yet with Codex Sinaiticus the BAM group had material tests planned for 2015, for the white parchment, unstained, 1844 Leipzig portion of Sinaiticus. A manuscript with similarly dicey provenance issues and rather glaring authenticity concerns.

The result ?
Nothing, the tests were cancelled.

So what do our experts do when the libraries (British Library and Leipzig University Library) stonewall on testing?

Apparently, they simply clam up in a clique of silence. The Sinaiticus scholarship is now "deeply entrenched" into the academic milieu. Ignoring or at best hand-waving the evidences is the modus operandi. Let's suppress even the discussion!

Like the colouring and staining of the 1859 portion, which had already been rather amazingly pointed out in the early 1860s (able to be verified only after the 2009 Codex Sinaiticus Project placed all sections online, giving us the world's best evidence -- BEFORE and AFTER.)

Brit and German sections being in "phenomenally good condition" as reported by Helen Shenton of the British Library (for a supposed ancient manuscript,) There is even a wonderful must-see page-turner video online.

The scholars do not even check a source that was fingered as contributing to the production, In a manner similar to how the Buttmann 1861 edition was found to have been used to create the formerly "Category One" Archaic Mark (ms. 2427, now considered a forgery.)

And here, I have only scratched the surface, e.g. what about the Barnabas 1843 edition? Published by Simonides and referenced in a Smyrna periodical. Have the scholars checked the connections with Sinaiticus?

And have they made any sensible analysis of the sense-line homoeoteleutons that match up perfectly with Claromontanus as source?

Simonides we know published the Sinaitic-connected Hermas before the 1859 Tischendorf red-cloth "discovery" (previously seen and written about by Porfiry Uspensky.) Which led to Tischendorf first accusing Hermas of late Latin influence, and then retracting his linguistic accusations, as pointed out by the learned Scottish scholar James Donaldson. Tischendorf is the same gentleman who fabricated a "saved-from-fire" scenario in 1859 to mask the 1844 brazen theft of 5+ quires out of the codex.


The scholars have various excuses. It can be a tad humorous. And I can go into that another day
. (One is .. not my expertise. The problem is that the evidences are so wide-ranging! And some are too clear, obvious, strong and simple.)

Who can do solid historical analysis when it comes to textual and authenticity issues?

Steven Avery
Dutchess County, NY USA
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Steven Avery

Lying Pen - Norway Conference - Sinaiticus gate-keeper - Kipp Davis, MOTB and DSS

This Lying Pen group has had a number of interesting discussions and posts over the last two years. However, the emphasis has not been directly the group, but various auxiliary posts and blogs.


Tommy Wasserman - Sinaiticus gate-keeper
Feb, 2018

Dead Sea Scrolls Fragments of Dubious Authenticity - Larry Hurtado on the Kipp Davis studies of Museum of the Bible fragments

Larry Hurtado's praise of two important Dead Sea Discoveries articles from last year: Kipp Davis et al., “Nine Dubious ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’ Fragments From the Twenty-First Century,” DSD 24.2 (2017): 189-228 and Kipp Davis, “Caves of Dispute: Patterns of Correspondence and Suspicion in the Post-2002 ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’ Fragments,” DSD 24.2 (2017): 229-70 (via
Morten K. Beckmann)[/SIZE].

Note: Larry Hurtado would not post a Sinaiticus-thinking post on his blog, and the information was placed here on PBF and my PureBible forum on Facebook and a url was given on Lying Pen

Norway conference - Malcolm Choat and Tommy Wasserman on Simonides issues
April 27, 2016
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Steven Avery

Lying Pen of Scribes forgery discussion history - Sinaiticus as one emphasis

And I plan to add a bit more of the Lying Pen history here:

The Lying Pen of Scribes added 3 new photos.
April 16, 2016 ·
Alison Schofield (University of Denver), “The Shapira Affair: Were Lost Dead Sea Scrolls Discovered in 1883?”

Steven Avery
This is a fascinating topic, I've been wondering for years when it might be properly revisited. Christian David Ginsburg was involved a bit as well, I gather.
Is any material from this talk going to be available?
The Lying Pen of Scribes
July 14, 2017 ·Looks like SBL in Berlin in August will be lots of fun. For instance, see Torleif Elgvin's abstract below. It is good to see that more and more scholars now talk openly about forgeries among the post 2002 Dead Sea Scrolls-like fragments in the Schøyen Collection and the Museum of the Bible collection (among others).

Steven Avery
Great stuff from our scholars. "Too good to be true" is one major element that can help determine non-authenticity. And I wonder when one or three of our scholars will take a long, careful look at the mountain of evidence that is now swirling around Codex Sinaiticus. Time for the deeply entrenched scholarship logjam to break.
This is followed by a short comment from Tommy Wasserman.

Tommy Wasserman
Who are "our scholars" "Steven Avery"? Do you mean scholars in general? They have examined and written articles and monographs on Codex Sinaiticus since the 19th century.

And my responses.

Steven Avery
Sure, Tommy Wasserman, dozens of papers have been written about elements of Sinaiticus, simply and incorrectly assuming authenticity.

However, from 1900 to recent days only two English writers made any type of significant attempt to address the authenticity issues. James Anson Farrer in Literary Forgeries in 1907 was one. He revealed to the English readers one major evidence corroborating the Simonides account and involvement, from the Lambrou catalogs of 1895 and 1900, and raised important thinking points.

And the James Keith Elliott book of 1982 was another, with major deficiencies (e.g. he did not even mention Farrer, which was a type of scholarship gross negligence. I wrote to him and asked about the omission and received no reply.)

Now, many of the major evidences that challenge the deeply entrenched scholarship all arose after the Codex Sinaiticus Project of 2009 made the manuscript available to study. Some of that study actually began collaboratively on a Facebook group.

This new evidence includes the clear evidence of colour tampering, matching to a "T" (for Tischendorf) the historical accusation of tampering made c. 1860. We can even see the Before and After from the Codex Sinaiticus Project. And the homoeoteleuton evidence that Claromontanus was used as an exemplar for Sinaiticus. Also the timeline research that makes the commonly accepted scenario virtually impossible and supports Simonides involvement. David W. Daniels has been studying this closely. Then we have the crafty and blatant lying of Tischendorf (one example, the saved from fire in 1844 canard that he put forth in 1859 for expediency). This worked to hide the lack of provenance. And Tischendorf would point people to his facsimiles rather than examining the actual manuscript. Holding the pristine white parchment portion in Leipzig and the awkwardly coloured part in St. Petersburg, with minimal access (the facsimile edition ignored physical anomalies and the obvious colour distinction, remember Leipzig leaves left Sinai at a much earlier date). Study of the facsimile rather than the manuscript section was a classic case of misdirection. We now have the acknowledgement of the "phenomenally good condition" (Helen Shenton) of the manuscript. And we have the translation of the Uspensky and Morozov observations, Nikolai Alexandrovich Morozov (1854-1946) having noted that the condition simply could not be that of a heavily-handled antiquity manuscript. Dirk Jongkind thanked us for making the Uspensky material available in English. This material makes the Tischendorf fabrication history 100% clear. And much more.

We also have the lack of any scientific testing of parchment and ink and materials. The planned 2015 study of the Leipzig pages, by the group in Berlin, Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung Und Prüfung under Dr. Ira Rabin, that worked on the DSS, having been quietly cancelled.

Plus we have additional helps arising from the fascinating Vienna 2014 conference on Simonides. (Although they were not really aware of the new Sinaiticus material, which was still in the beginning stages of research and study.)

So the fact that much of the scholarship train keeps rolling along in the gear of oblivious is really not very relevant. The authenticity issues cry out for examination. Especially now that we know so much more about the authenticity and forgery problems.

Who will step up to the plate?


Your thoughts, counterpoint and consideration welcome!

Steven Avery
The above omits one of the most important areas of historical manuscript evidences, the Epistle of Barnabas and the Shepherd of Hermas.

In 1855, Simonides made public a Greek Hermas edition before the Sinaiticus manuscript Hermas was published. Even earlier, Simonides published an 1843 Barnabas Greek edition. The very two books that were non-canonical in Sinaiticus.

Rather amazing coincidences. Amazing coincidences and seemingly impossible insights (if you accept some iteration of the Tischendorf and authenticity positions) abound everywhere in the field of Sinaiticus.

Tischendorf actually accused the Hermas of Simonides of being too Latinized, then he retracted the accusation around the time of the publication of Sinaiticus, for fear of the boomerang effect.

The world-class Scottish scholar James Donaldson (1831-1915) analyzed both the Hermas and Barnabas books of Sinaiticus, and he wrote articles that showed that linguistically they could not be the antiquity claimed by Tischendorf (in essence, the Tisch original accusation was right.)

Even without knowing of the Barnabas edition, and without going into the Tischendorf accusation and retraction, and the Donaldson linguistics:

James Anson Farrer said about the Simonides Hermas edition:

"The coincidence seems almost more singular than can be accounted for by chance"

Literary Forgeries p. 60
Greek Forgery: Constantine Simonides


And what do Elliott and Wasserman and Snapp tell us about this history?

A thunderous silence, a harumph and a hand-wave.
Steven Avery
So, while a number of individuals, and one team, have been researching, finding and studying these evidences, and making them more publicly available, the position taken by the more official forgery scholarship realms has so far been akin to that of government bureaucrats that say:

"nothing-burger, nothing to see, we don't need to even examine this evidence, fake news, kooks"

At times on Facebook or blogs they even delete posts (or block the posters) that even reference the evidence that indicates that Sinaitcus is non-authentic. (I am not talking about rant or off-topic or self-promotion posts, which on any topic can properly deserve moderator action.)

The possibility of Sinaiticus being non-authentic is discomfiting to the paradigms of our current deeply entrenched scholarship. Thus, the issue is supposed to be invisible, dismissed with a hand-wave. Or a very mild limited possible counter-evidence is emphasized. (e.g. The Mayer papyri controversy of Simonides in the 1860s, while interesting, is barely relevant to the 1839-1844 Simonides work and the Sinaiticus provenance history.)


My appreciation that the Lying Pen group has taken a more open position.


Whatever your position, studying Sinaiticus should help appreciate the many different competing elements that have to be compared in examination of authenticity issues. (It should be recognized that not all non-authentic manuscripts are forgeries, replicas can morph into supposed antiquity documents.) Here are some of the major components, and each one has sub-components.



Historical Analysis
veracity and consistency
timeline and chronology
means, motive and opportunity
too good to be true

Physical Condition
materials and ink
consistency with purported history

Textual Analysis

Linguistic Elements



Which elements are really the critical piece of the puzzle to show authenticity, or not, can vary greatly on each manuscript study.

This is why you can find people talking past each other, looking at only one evidence, rather than working together for the full picture.

Tommy Wasserman, as usual, avoids any real substance.


New member
I've had a very high opinion of Tommy Wasserman's work until you pointed out those flaws, Steven. Fascinating read, as always.

Steven Avery


Tommy Wasserman is fairly sharp. His problem here is multi-fold:

a) the scholarship for Sinaiticus is "deeply entrenched". Too much unravels if you pull it out. And so many textual critics and writers will look so foolish. They don't think about all that, but it effects their whole approach. It must be true, because everyone has said it is true.

b) to the external appearance it does look like an old ms. At least the script. But, hey, that is what you do with a replica (or forgery.) All scripts are easily replicated, and the Sinaiticus box-script is especially easy.

c) there are too many moving parts in the Sinaiticus - Simoneidos story. It takes more a journalists and historians sense, or a polymath like the Russian Morozov, or simply a common-sense layman, to see what happened. The scholar's are supposed to be experts in their atomistic specialty. e.g. Tommy Wasserman said he does not know about parchment! And he mentioned a talk by Rene Larsen of Denmark. And in his atomistic world, Rene Larsen talked about what type of animals were used. When I asked him about why such an old, heavily used parchment would be in such "phenomenally good condition", he gave me basically a bunch of vague nothings and analogies of no substance.

They are all trapped in one-half-dimensional paradigms.

The Sinaiticus fakery is incredibly easy to see.
And it is like a forensics "dream team" victory to have the BEFORE and AFTER of colouring right in front of your eyes.

Then more evidences keep piling up.
One 2018 project is the edition used for the Old Testament from 1821.

There are none so blind ...