Neither Oldest Nor Best - David H. Sorenson

Steven Avery

Neither Oldest Nor Best: How the Foundational Manuscripts of Modern Bible Translations are Unreliable (2017)
David Henry Sorenson

Review material begins on Facebook:

Pure Bible Forum
Neither Oldest or Best - David H. Sorenson
New book includes Sinaiticus authenticity.
This book has some interesting points. It also has doozies. I'll try to discuss some of both here.

Editorial Reviews
This book provides powerful evidence that Codex Sinaiticus was actually produced in 1840 and that Codex Varticanus is no older than the medieval era, with modifications likely made in the 19th century. Dr. David Sorenson presents compelling evidence that most modern Bible versions are based upon manuscripts which are fraudulent in their provenance. This book is powerful vindication of the King James Version. "Explosive, well researched and documented" Randall King, D. Min. "Devastating evidence and pentrating (sic) common sense analysis . . . a must read." Dell Johnson, Ph.D., Th.D.

First some of the problems. Later we will go into more interesting spots.
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Steven Avery

Mark ending doozy

Major Problem

You do have to discard his section on the ending of Mark, which is one part of his claims around Vaticanus.
Since it was known, way before the time period where Sorenson theorizes the same scribe changing both mss, that Vaticanus did not have the Mark ending.

Look at Andreas Birch (1758-1829):

Variae Lectiones Ad Textum IV Evangeliorum, ex Codd. Mss. Bibliothecae Vaticanae, Barberinae, S. Basilii (1801)

Andreas Birch
defunt in Vat. 1209

Earlier collations, not as easily available, were by Bartolucci (1669) and Mico for Bentley, 1720, which was revised by Rulotta.

Thus, the whole theory from Sorenson (or an unspecified source he uses) that the Mark ending was changed in Vaticanus in the mid-1800s, Jesuit manipulation, is simply worthless, and embarrassing.

Chapter Eight

The Last Twelve Verses of Mark - p. 145-158

We shall see that Vaticanus and Sinaiticus are not independent witnesses, but in fact were modified at the same time by the same scribe in the same way. Their independent testimony suddenly becomes collusion and their integrity as evidence suddenly becomes dishonesty. p. 147

But once again, there is clear evidence that Vaticanus was modified, quite apparently in collusion with Sinaiticus to advance a particular heretical view — a denial of the resurrection of Jesus Christ by omitting it from what higher criticism considered to be the primary source gospel — the Gospel of Mark. p. 150

But the overarching point is that Vaticanus was intentionally modified to omit one of the foundational truths of Christianity — the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Apart from that flagrant heresy, Vaticanus has no textual integrity as a primary source for the New Testament. The modem Critical Text is built upon a manuscript intentionally modified to deceive. - p. 153

MS 2427 ... The answer is as simple as it is profound. MS 2427 was copied from Vaticanus before the last 12 verses of Mark were removed. We thus have prima facie evidence of what the complete Gospel of Mark in Vaticanus looked like before it was intentionally modified. The evidence is clear. The last 12 verses of Mark were removed from Vaticanus (and most likely from Sinaiticus) at some point during the mid 19th century. - p. 154

These alterations took place quite apparently sometime during the mid-19th century. That is when MS 2427 was produced with its full reading of Mark 16. p. 155

Though Tischendorf showed himself to be of questionable integrity in much of the greater saga of the discovery of Sinaiticus and even Vaticanus, the fact that he was surprised that the last 12 verses of Mark were missing from Vaticanus would seem to exonerate him from such deviousness. - p. 155

There is another group across Europe which for centuries did have the skills, expertise, and resources to accomplish such a task. That was the Jesuits. As the principal agents of the Counter Reformation, their history is replete with a long rap sheet of producing forgeries, fake documents, and altering documents to further the goals and polices of the Vatican. p. 155-156

Could it be that in the 10 or 12 years after Simonides had finished his work on what came to be known as Sinaiticus and after Vaticanus became largely known, that agents of the Jesuits, perhaps posing as higher critics, undertook the tasks of altering Vaticanus and Sinaiticus to further their ends? p. 156

But the bottom line is that Vaticanus was intentionally altered, most likely in the mid 19th century by agents willing to undercut the resurrection of Christ. That in itself should negate any confidence in it as a source of Scripture. - p. 157

Chapter Nine - Conclusion

Vaticanus: The Last 12 Verses of Mark 16

Perhaps the most damning evidence of all is the fact the last 12 verse (sic) of Mark 16, which is Marks’s account of the resurrection, were purposefully omitted. Furthermore, there is a blank space on the page where they should be. Close examination and applying the discipline of stichometry — the counting of letters, words, and lines — shows that there is the exact right amount of blank space at the end of Mark 16:8 for the final 12 verses. But they were intentionally omitted. The resurrection account was intentionally removed from the Gospel of Mark.

Moreover, the same scribe who did this deed at the end of Mark 16 was one and the same scribe who did so at the end of Sinaiticus. There clearly was collusion and a brazen attempt to deceive. p. 167


So the whole section should be bypassed, since Vaticanus was seen to be missing the Mark ending much earlier than the mid 19th century. In fact, if there really was the same scribe (very doubtful) that would be an argument for the two manuscripts to go back to antiquity.


7/2/2017 added-

This doozy was all taken from the earlier Bill Cooper book

The Forging of Codex Sinaiticus

Which has its own thread and this is the related post on that thread:

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Steven Avery

the Sinaiticus manuscript color evidence

Chapter Five
The Forensic Evidence

On p. 97 pics of six manuscripts are shown. This is similar to what the SART team (much of the credit to Mark Michie in getting these online) has here. mss.html

In fact, the Sinaiticus page is the same. And our Sinaiticus page is identified (Q36 f4r - CFA) which is critical information.

The Alexandrinus and Bezae pages are much yellower than what we have, that is being researched.


But the plot thickens. In 2009, the British Library in conjunction with the Leipzig University Library produced a high-quality, high-definition, digital-photographic facsimile of Codex Sinaiticus. A team of photographers visited the British Library, the University of Leipzig in Germany as well as Mount Sinai and St. Petersburg, Russia.8 They used the same lighting and the same camera equipment at each location, endeavoring to maintain uniform conditions at each location. This was ultimately published by Hendrickson Publishers in 2011.9 The volume is massive and very expensive, but it gives an exact, full-color reproduction of every page of the re-combined Codex Sinaiticus. One can essentially see the codex today which few earlier scholars and text editors ever saw. -

Today, all the leaves (i.e., pages) of the manuscript are pretty much a uniform, dusky-white in appearance, including the Leipzig leaves (Codex Frederico-Augustanus). Between 1913 and 2009, they went from snow white in appearance to a shade of off-white. Something happened in the intervening 96 years. They no longer look fresh and new. They look old in appearance. In those 96 years, they either quickly aged naturally from snow white to dirty white, or someone doctored them to give them the appearance of antiquity. p. 99-100

And, today, the entire manuscript, both the Leipzig and London portions, have a uniform appearance of age. They both are dusky shades of off-white. When Tischendorf absconded with the final portion thereof in 1859, it looked older. And, it does to this day. p. 100-101

And so, the question arises, is there any evidence that Codex Sinaiticus has been artificially discolored to give the appearance of age? The answer to that is an absolute yes. In examining the Hendrickson digital color facsimile, there are clear signs of tampering. p. 102

All other manuscripts from the fourth or fifth centuries are brown or very tan in their appearance. Sinaiticus is still white, though quite apparently somewhat “antiqued” to make it seem older. p. 164


Here we have major problems everywhere.

The Hendrickson Publication has very little information, and is not claimed to be:

"an exact, full-color reproduction of every page of the re-combined Codex Sinaiticus".

The place that claims to have reproduction accuracy is the Codex Sinaiticus Project. In fact, the evidence is strong that the Hendrickson 2011 Facsimile publication was smoothed to hide the colour difference between the Leipzig leaves and the London leaves.

From this flows a number of simply false statements about the current manuscript condition. Here are two.

Today, all the leaves (i.e., pages) of the manuscript are pretty much a uniform, dusky-white in appearance,

And, today, the entire manuscript, both the Leipzig and London portions, have a uniform appearance of age.

This is simply untrue, as we have carefully documented on the site.
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Steven Avery

New Reply

Those are the two super-problems of which any reader of the Sorenson book should be aware.

This does not negate other points raised, and in this thread we will try to cover a lot. However, the two above could easily lead supporters astray.


Here are some less significant corrections.


Star of the Sea

Sorenson has the Barnabas publication in Smyrna with the review as:
Star of the Sea. pg. 125

From our SART research team:

East is Anatole
Sea is Thalassa.

There is no rationale for "Star of the Sea" except mishearing or some other problem.

The footnote on p. 197 has "Star of the East".

He lists Bill Cooper as one source (a secondary source).


No Evidence that Tregelles saw Sinaiticus?

"Ironically, there is no evidence that Bradshaw or Tregelles ever saw the actual Sinaiticus manuscript, There is no evidence that either of them traveled to St. Petersburg or Leipzig to view the actual documents." p. 93

"Recall that the original dating was based upon the opinion of Dr. Tischendorf, Mr. Bradshaw, curator of the curator of manuscripts at the Cambridge University Library, and that of Dr. Samuel Tregelles, a Plymouth Brethren scholar. In their opinion, Sinaiticus was produced in the fourth century, around A.D. 350. Ironically, there is no evidence that Bradshaw or Tregelles ever personally saw the actual manuscript, but only mechanically-printed facsimiles thereof." p. 110

"Though several others such as Samuel Tregelles and Henry Bradshaw supported Tischendorf s claim, there is no evidence that they ever saw the actual manuscript itself. Rather, they only saw printed facsimiles thereof which are useless insofar as paleographic dating is concerned." p. 161


The report of Tregelles seeing a bit of Sinaiticus at the house of Tischendorf in Leipzig is given by Epp:

The Late Constantin Tischendorf and Codex Sinaiticus

One source is the "Unpublished Letters" by Stunt. (It took a little effort to get that pub.) The controversy about the ending of John 21 is well know (that is where Tischendorf used his famous x-ray vision, or perhaps he knew more about the production than he was letting on.)

Anyway, the three "no evidence" statements are wrong.


Tischendorf Collation was not a Full NT Copy

"If Tischendorf could copy the New Testament of Vaticanus in 42 hours, surely Simonides could have copied the entire Bible in a period longer than one year." - p. 185

This looks like a mistaken idea of how Tischendorf was supposed to have worked with the Vaticanus ms in 1867.
Without doing a careful check, I am pretty certain it was supposed to be used for a collation of sorts.


Heavenly Witnesses

"Moreover, I John 5:7 and its full reading is found in manuscript fragments of I John dating far earlier than Vaticanus or Sinaiticus".- p. 23
What is Sorenson thinking here? Maybe the Mayer papyri fragment (singular) that was to be published by Simonides (and might be in Liverpool today).

Another possibility is that he is assuming his own arguments for Vaticanus as well as Sinaiticus, leading to an unspecified later date. Even if the opponent of the verse authenticity conceded all this (unlikely) he would fall back on Alexandrinus as his earliest manuscript. Obviously. And there is nothing "far earlier" in support of the verse.

Far too vague, circular and unclear. Or simply wrong (if Vaticanus is 4th-6th century.)


Typos, Spelling

"Liverpool, the curator at the museum, J. E. Hodgekin, Charles Stewart, and others". - p. 69

A bit better is Uranios

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Steven Avery

Thousands of Pages of Manuscripts Mitigates Against Forgery

From p. 76

"Inasmuch as the Uranius Manuscript was 10,000 pages in length (approximately ten times the length of Sinaiticus), that in itself mitigates against him forging it."

Did anybody inspect or see 10,000 pages of Uranios? Or was this simply a verbal claim of Simonides. A 10,000 page palimpsest would be rather amazing.

From p. 78:

In that context,, Simonides sent another letter to The Guardian further protesting his defamation which was printed on January 21, 1863. He wrote,

“Truly I wonder how people can credit such unreasonable falsehoods, things wholly impossible, and believe the reports of Tischendorf - viz., that I prepared palimpsests, and wrote 10,000 pages of an Egyptian Lexicon, 7,000 pages of the Alexandrine Philological Catalogue, 10,000 pages of Uranius! 8,800,000 pages of various other ancient writers on different subjects! That I corrected the corrupted texts of various classical writers, filled up many blanks of injured ancient MSS, and wrote and prepared papyri! And all this in a very limited space of time, for which work a life of two thousand years would not suffice me ”

Simonides thus pointed out how Tischendorf defamed him by claiming he had forged everything associated with him and the folly of that charge.


This is on Elliott p. 58 and the:

Journal of Sacred Literature

This is how the issue was framed by Simonides. However, did Tischendorf ever talk about millions of pages, or tens of thousands? How many did Simonides actually show? How many pages of Uranios did
he submit in Germany.

If you throw out those numbers in defense of Simonides, you have to at least mention the discordance between the huge numbers and what we know was actually submitted anywhere. At times there was talk of a chest, or chests of manuscripts, but following that down to something tangible is not easy.

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Steven Avery

drop caps at the beginning of some books are not evidence for Vaticanus being of medieval origin

Sorenson adds a theory that Vaticanus is old because of the drop caps at the beginning of some books. These drop caps are a medieval design.

However, research to date shows every drop cap was simply a later embellishment, possibly done at the time that the cursive books were added to Vaticanus, and/or it was subject to overwriting. The first letter of the book would be erased, smudged out, and the drop cap placed in the area to the left.


We do not know for sure when Vaticanus was originally produced. The 300s is possible, hundreds of years later is possible, or perhaps one could try to claim it was a 1400s fake, a manuscript designed to look old.

However, the drop caps supply no evidence for any of the later dates.

Facebook discussion

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Steven Avery

We know David Sorenson got a lot of information , and also misinformation, from Bill Cooper.
Rick Norris, on the contra (Anti-Avery) forum, shows us how bad is the situation with Sorenson, he did not even get Cooper's name right.

David Sorenson's Book: Neither Oldest Nor Best

For chapter four footnote 28, David Sorenson stated: "Lambros cited by Bill Powers, The Forging of Codex Sinaiticus" (Neither Oldest Nor Best, p. 93)

On p. 101, David Sorenson wrote: "Bill Cooper in his book The Forging of Sinaiticus"

On page 112 for footnote 11 on p. 101, David Sorenson has "Bill Powers, The Forging of Codex Sinaiticus."

On page 158 for footnote 5, David Sorenson has "Bill Cooper, The Forging of Codex Sinaiticus"

In his Bibliography, David Sorenson listed it as
"Powers, Bill. The Forging of Codex Sinaiticus, Kindle edition, 2016, location 669." (p. 197)

while in his index, he listed "Cooper, Bill" (p. 202).

Similarly there is a reference praising the book from

James Stringer's comments was "a real lesson about being careful where you get your information."

This is likely Phil Stringer.
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Steven Avery


5:30. Research in England
7:10 - neither Vaticanus or Sinaiticus are ancient
Claims only bibliog error

9:15 - the eclectic text

10:00 - major finds of the 19th century … Vat and Sin
Vat not ancient

Did he say modern Greek in Vaticanus?

11:40 - 16 whole verses are missing

Did not start with fire story

13:10 -1843

14:40 - but here’s the real story

15:40 - Simonides grew up in monastery

18:20 - 1843

18:45 - made up the story of rescuing it from the fire

19:50 - 10,ooo lbs, 10,000 rubles

20:10 - fluid like coffee to tan the surface

20:20 - facsimile did not have CFA

21:50 - forgery - no proof

22:20 - sweep under rug

22:45 - 3 reasons - he produced eyewitnesses

24:00 - good on Bezae Alex pics
24:45 - 1500 1700 not snow-white
24:59 - oops several scholars went to Kei-zig, examined those 43 leaves .. snow-white

26:00 - the text goes around the wormholes

26:nn. - streaks brushes

Eyewitnesses Kallinikos Benedict , another scribe athos

27:50 - bbc flipping like old telephone book
1700 years old is not supple, it is stiff and fragile

28:40 * * so fragile delicate old nobody can look at it
Flipping through like an old Sears catalogue

29:20 c-14 - maybe done

30 - Donaldson - modern Greek -convinces one fella nicely

JW diglot includes vat

31:30 starts vat in 1843 - shelf 1209
Only mentions pastorals missing

33:00 - collusion

First use - vaticanus

4 prot Tregelles Alford ? Burgon tisch - hug

34:00 Erasmus Bombasius error heavenly

34:30 - drop cap blunder
Ornate - medieval art-work

India ink - mid 19th - vat?

37:00 ending of mark -exactly the space
37:50 - same scribe
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