James Donaldson - Hermas latinisms and later Greek words in the David Daniels book

Steven Avery

Is The "World's Oldest Bible" A Fake?
David W. Daniels


There are only so many copies of the Shepherd of Hermas. But of all of the manuscripts available in those days, only one makes the mistakes that were in Simonides’ Hermas. Could those same mistakes also be in the Sinaiticus? Let’s check!

Donaldson’s first objection was that a lot of the words in Simonides’ Hermas (Lipsiensis) are actually more modern Greek words, and not ones he has ever found in such abundance in any ancient Greek manuscript. These include, in Donaldson’s words, “a great number of words unknown to the classical period, but common in later or modern Greek.”

I’ll just show you the list, both with modern Greek letters and in the Sinaiticus font. You are welcome to look for them yourself, at www.codexsinaiticus.org.' 47

47. This chart is largely derived from The Apostolical Fathers: A Critical Account of Their Genuine Writings and of Their Doctrines, by James Donaldson
(London: Macmillan and Co., 1874), pp. 388-391.


Similar or identical to 1864

A Critical History of Christian Literature and Doctrine: From the Death of the Apostles to the Nicene Council (1864)


First chart page from David Daniels, p. 148 online version, same as book.
p. 147 2nd half of page is an intro to the Hermas linguistics
P. 148-151 make four chart pages. *** below
p. 152-155 have a bit more on Maximo etc. - those 4 pages can be summarizes
p. 156 ends chapter but only about the more generaRyrie note
All 4 pages p. 147 should be visible online.

See all five pages p. 147-151 on a separate post.

Daniels Hermas Donaldson.jpg


The Greek Anachronisms Of Codex Sinaiticus
“The late origin of the Greek is indicated by the occurrence of a great number of words unknown to the classical period, but common in later or modern Greek. Such are Βουνος, συμβιοσ (as wife), με (for μετα), πρωτοκαθεδριεις, ισχυροποιω κατεπιθυμω, ασυγκρασια, καταχυμα, εξακριβαζομαι, and such like. The lateness of the Greek appears also from late forms; such as αγαθωτατης, μεθισταναι, οιδας, αφιουσι (αφινουσιν in Sim. Greek), καπεκοπταν, ενεσκιρωμενοι, επεδιδουν, ετιθουν, beside ετιθεσαν, εσκαν, λημψη, ελπιδαν, τιθω, επεριψας and ηνοιξας, ειπασα, χειραν, απλοτηταν, σαρκαν, συνιω, συνιει; and some modern Greek forms, such as κραταουσα for κρατουσα, have been corrected by the writer of the manuscript. The lateness of the Greek appears also in the absence of the optative and the frequent use of ινα after ερωταν, αξιω, αιτουμαι, εντελλομαι, αξιος, &c., generally with the subjunctive, never with the optative. We also find εαν joined with the indicative. Εις is continually used for εν, as εχουσιν τοτον εις τον πυργον. We have also παρα after comparatives, and peculiar constructions, as περιχαρης του ιδειν, σπουδαιος εις το γνοναι, απεγνωρισθαι απο. And we have a neuter plural joined with a plural verb, κτηνη ερχονται. Most, if not all, of these peculiarities now mentioned, may be found in Hellenistic writings, especially the New Testament; and some of them maybe paralleled even in classical writers. But if we consider that the portion which has now been examined is small, and that every page is filled with these peculiarities, the only conclusion to which we can come is, that the Greek is not the Greek of the at least first five centuries of the Christian era. There is no document written within that period which has half so many neo-Hellenic forms, taken page by page, as this Greek of the Pastor of Hermas.”

Cooper, Bill (2016-04-08). The Forging of Codex Sinaiticus (Kindle Locations 898-907). Kindle Edition.
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Steven Avery

Donaldson also has some specific Latin concerns about the Barnabas text in 1874

Note: Link to the Tischendorf accusation/retraction page

Note: Kevin McGrane tries for a compromise of about 600-700 AD, ignoring that the Latin has to come back to Greek and ignoring the Donaldson reference to later Greek words. , “a great number of words unknown to the classical period, but common in later or modern Greek.”

(And my notes from email correspondence)

Sinaiticus - Hermas, Barnabas linguistic, history anomalies


Facebook - Sinaiticus

1864 shows the circular scholarship
This suspicion is, however, entirely set at rest by Tischendorf's discovery of the Sinaitic text, which agrees with that of Leipzig as much as it is possible for an older and better to agree with a later and less pure text. .... but at all events we have proof that that of Leipzig, though corrupt, is not a forgery,
The 1840 Sinaiticus is used to vindicate the Lipsiensis text since Sinaiticus is presumed to be a real 300s text. (ugh)
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Steven Avery

Corrupt Modern Bibles

But for this specific section I wanted to give you a summarized transcript of one of David Daniels’ YouTube videos which discusses the origins and a few of the changes done to codex Sinaiticus as well as the true age of codex Sinaiticus. So without further ado here is the transcript of this video,

How old is it really.


: “One major thing about the Sinaiticus Codex is that it includes the Epistle of Barnabas and The Shephard of Hermas in the New Testament. The curious thing is that the epistle is still intact but the book of Hermas is in pieces and isn’t a complete book.

In 1844 Tischendorf made his first journey to Saint Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai Peninsula. 15 years later when he talked about it, all he said was that he had seen some pieces of the Old Testament. So he took a third of what he had seen, which totaled 43 leaves. Those same 43 leaves went to his patron, Frederick of Saxony.

But the next year in 1845, the Russian religious official Porfiry Uspensky came to St. Catherine’s. Both in 1845 and in 1850 he saw the Sinaiticus, and wrote about it, describing it in terms that truly show he saw all that Tischendorf would describe – 14 years later. However, Uspensky had written his information on the Sinaiticus of Tischendorf’s in Old Slovenian.

Sense not many people could read Old Slovenian, it remained largely unread until quite recently. But a missionary to the Ukraine, John Spillman, got it translated from Old Slovenian into Russian and then from Russian into English. This was probably the first time Uspensky’s work had ever been openly translated to English.

Now this is part of what Uspensky wrote on Tischendorf’s manuscripts which is known as the Sinaiticus Codex:

“The best Greek manuscripts are stored in the priors’ cells, (that’s the lead monks’ rooms). There are only four of them, but they are very precious for their antiquity, rarity and handwriting features, for their content, for the elegance of the beautiful faces of the saints and entertaining drawings and paintings. The first manuscript, containing the Old Testament which was incomplete and the entire New Testament with the Epistle of St. Barnabas and the book of Hermas, was written on the finest white parchment, in the fourth share of a long and wide sheet.”

Did you see that Uspensky stated that the Sinaiticus was written on the finest white parchment (note that most pages of the Sinaiticus are now darker in appearance). He also stated that the Old Testament was incomplete, but the New Testament including the epistle of Barnabas and the book of Hermas was not incomplete but that it was the “entire New Testament?” This sounds as if the book of Hermas was intact during 1845 to 1850.

Another quote from Uspensky states, “…all the sacred texts were written in four and two columns and the words connected without spaces,”he continues, “…and so together as if one long utterance stretches from point to point.” Now if you read the Sinaiticus (found online here, codexsinaiticus.org), you will see there are no periods, no commas; it just keeps going.

He went on, “Such a formulation of letters, the way of writing the sacred text, invented by the Alexandrian deacon Euthalius about 446 AD, and soon abandoned due to the many gaps between the columns on the expensive parchment, prove that this manuscript was published in the fifth century.”

(SA note: I believe this actually refers to sense-lines, rather than columns, the result remains similar.)

But Tischendorf acted like Uspensky was ignorant. However, Uspensky spent time telling about the Sinaiticus in great detail. It is highly likely that Tischendorf didn’t want anyone to believe what Uspensky was saying.

You see, Uspensky states that Euthalius the deacon in Alexandria came up with that way of writing in columns like you see in Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, but it was only done for a short time. And this change in formatting didn’t start until at least 446 A.D.

In his simple analysis, Uspensky gave us evidence from Sinaiticus that it is no earlier than the middle of the 5th century! That’s 100 years too late to be one of Constantine’s 50 Bibles decreed in 330 A.D., or to be the oldest and best.

At 450 AD, that puts it at the same age as people date the Alexandrinus Codex. So now we know that Sinaiticus can be no older than 450 AD, or the 5th century. But hold on, the Vaticanus was also made like that, with 3 columns instead of 4, and lots of empty space. That means the Vaticanus can’t be older than 450 AD either. So neither Sinaiticus nor Vaticanus could have been one of Constantine’s 50 Bibles. And both are no older than they say Codex Alexandrinus is.

So let’s go back to the Shephard of Hermas. Many people say that the real Shephard of Hermas was composed no earlier than about 130 AD and maybe not later than the 160’s AD; and it was originally written in Greek. But all we had for the longest time were Latin copies.

Among these Latin copies are Codex Vaticanus 3848, dated in the late 1300’s AD., and there is also the Dresden Codex, dated in the 1400’s; however, there a few others dated around those dates.

All of these Latin copies have pretty much the same Latin text between them. But there is one unusual codex among these copies, and it’s called Codex Palatinus 150, which is in the Vatican Library. This Codex made some changes, and clearly switched some Latin terms so that it was different from the other translations of Hermas.

However, no one saw the book of Hermas in Greek aside from small quotes from it by proto-Catholic Church Fathers like Origen, up until 1855.
Now in 1855, a man claimed that he came from Northern Greece, from a hill called Mount Athos that was filled with 20 Eastern Orthodox monasteries. He said that he found a rare Greek copy of the original Shephard of Hermas! He got somebody to buy his copy of Hermas, and in 1856 it was published at Leipzig, and called Codex Lipsiensis.

But Tischendorf was shown it as you can see on the title cover of the Codex Lipsiensis his name. However, Tischendorf had his doubts about the text. He said there was no way it could be an original form from the Greek. He said it back-translated Latin words into Greek, he even gave a number of examples of this.

That changed the date of the Lipsiensis forward to the late 1300’s, which is the date of the Palatine Codex. The date was changed because the Greek words were clearly based off of certain Latin words that were only found in the Palatine Codex version of Hermas and not the others.

Then a partner of the man who sold the manuscript came forward and said, “Don’t believe him. He’s a con man! And he’s a forger!” Apparently this man had been selling “ancient” manuscripts from 1843 to 1856 and people all over Europe felt conned. They had trusted this man as a scholar. He was the one who had claimed that he found ancient hidden treasures on Mt. Athos, and they paid top dollar for them.

That man was Constantine Simonides, and to help you remember him here is a limerick that best describes him; “There once was a man called Simonides. With him scholars once all felt at ease. But when he was exposed, they all felt disposed, to dispose of his supposed antiquities!” [Check out this playlist for new information on Simonides; The sinaiticus timeline].

People stopped believing the brilliant forger Simonides, but the people still believed in the brilliant scholar Tischendorf.

Then three years later, Tischendorf reversed his view on the Lipsiensis Codex. The reason why he did what he did was because he had just come from St. Catherine’s with a pile of Greek bible parchment and in that parchment was the book of Hermas.

But now according to Tischendorf’s new story, it was only part of Hermas! But just as important, Tischendorf said Codex Lipsiensis wasn’t messed up after all, but actually, it was 1000 years older than he had previously thought!

The reason why he said that was because the parts of the book of Hermas that were in the Sinaiticus were almost identical to the ones in the Codex Lipsiensis that Simonides sold.

Once again, the people believed Tischendorf. After all why would he lie, and it was big of him to sort of admit that he was a bit mistaken before.
But now the people believed that the Lipsiensis Codex was genuine, and Simonides’ reputation was at least partially restored.
Eventually another scholar named James Donaldson wrote in 1874, saying that Tischendorf was right the first time about Codex Lipsiensis.
Let me add that the best way to prove a character of a text is to see where it came from. That’s why one way to group texts has been to see who repeats the same mistakes. If you have a text that makes the same changes in numerous places as another text, then those two are probably related.
There are only so many copies of Hermas, but of all of them only one makes the mistakes that were in Lipsiensis. Could those same mistakes be in the Sinaiticus?

Donaldson’s first objection was that a lot of words in Simonides’ Lipsiensis are actually more Modern Greek words, and not words that he has ever found in such abundance in any ancient Greek manuscript. What Donaldson said was, “A great number of words unknown to the classical period but common in later or modern Greek.”

A second proof that Donaldson gave was about Greek words in a Latin form, instead of a Greek form. Which in the book Hermas, Visions 3:1, (listed as Hermas 9:4 online), you can see that if you look at one line of the verse it says kaie at the end of a line and then in the next line it says kaie and continues onward with the verse. Believe it or not, Scribe B2 actually started writing kaie on the previous line, and then they started all over again on the next line.

All but one of the Latin translations of the book of Hermas are pretty much the same. But one stands out: Palatine Codex 150 of the Vatican Library.

One convincing example above all that shows that Simonides’ Lipsiensis and the Sinaitic Hermas are both back-translated from the Vatican Palatine Codex is when you take a look at Visions 2:3 (online it is Hermas 7:4) we see a verse that Donaldson showed is supposed to say, “But say thou, behold, great tribulation cometh.” In Latin great is “magna,” but in Greek it’s “megale;” and “thlipsis megale” is exactly the term great tribulation used 3 times in the New Testament. But the Vatican’s Palatine Codex changed magna to maximo; which is like changing great to greatest. However, Maximo could also be the name of a person, such as Maximus; so that could get you confused.

Simonides’ Lipsiensis actually transliterated the word Maximo in Greek. The Sinaiticus also did the same thing in its Greek text, and as we see in Donaldson’s words, “Now we find that the text of the Pastor of Hermas, found in the Sinaiticus Codex is substantially the same as that given in the Athos manuscript,” he also wrote, “Then there is a considerable number of passages preserved to us in Greek by Origen and other writers: The Sinaitic Greek differs often form this Greek, and agrees with the Latin translation, especially the Palatine.”

What this means is that there isn’t anything earlier they could have copied from so Codex Sinaiticus isn’t an old manuscript at all, in fact it is a fake, phony, counterfeit.

It isn’t from 350 AD, and isn’t from 450 AD, it can be no older than 1350 AD.

Simply stated, the Sinaiticus is not the best and it is not the oldest. At best it’s a medieval phony.” End of Quote