Odessa lithograph - John Elliot Hodgkin - trove of letters Hodgkin and Farrer - Charles Stewart

Steven Avery

Facebook - Sinaiticus


The next group of extracts is from the Literary Churchman, March 12, 1864, "The Sinaitic Manuscript". Much of this (not the first section) is by John Elliot Hodgkin (1829-1912). Hodgkin was a central figure and maintained a respect for the Simonides claims on Sinaiticus into his elderly years. His connections with James Anson Farrer were actually in a sense pivotal in helping us in the reopening of the l'affaire Sinaiticus.

"We resolved not to trouble our readers any farther with this tangled controversy, until at least some new facts should be elicited to assist the decision of the very grave question whether this Codex is a modern transcript, or an ancient MS. of rare value. We have seen that since we last dealt with the subject, even the Pope has been introduced as a party to the debate, by having been induced to write - so say the Foreign Journals - a letter of congratulation to M Tischendorf on his "discovery".

Gives the sense that there is even more here than we see at face. e.g. Who was influencing the Pope.

"Other facts have transpired and we proceed to put them in as few words as8 possible before our readers. We have before us a copy of a work printed in lithograph at Moscow and Odessa as far back at 1853-4 which refers to the Copy of the Scriptures no doubt prepared by Simonides and Benedict for the Emperor of Russia, and the mutilation and loss of a part of it is there complained of."

This lithograph was a pivotal piece of evidence in the controversies. It was not easy in those days to examine the CFA parchment, or the super-ink. The opponents simply accused it of being a forgery, and in their minds the corroborating evidence from Russia from a lithographer shop not strong enough to overturn. Later we will see how a different major evidence was similarly accused, falsely and wrongly.

"This copy has been in the possession of Mr Steuart of Brighton (now 41 Great Percy Street Pentonville) for nine years."

Similarly you can see the worth of the accusations that Stewart himself was a fabrication. Many contras liked to claim that Charles Stewart was a fabrication (look at the initials!). Scrivener was not that ill informed, and referred to Charles Steuart of Brighton. Here we have an address.

Recently we found that he was most certainly a scientist in London, who wrote for the Microscopial Journal and later was present of the Microscopial Society (remember some Simonides works were subject to microscope examinations). And Stewart corresponded on Simoindes with another scientist, Henry Deane, 1847-1824 (who also corresponded with Hodgkin).. Those letters are in Australia waiting for an adverturess Aussie to go to the State Library of Victoria.

Note that Charles Stewart is said to have had that lithograph since about 1855. Before even the Shephard of Hermas controversy. Offhand I am not sure if so early fits the Simonides travel timeline. The contras were saying that Simonides forged this document around 1861-1862. To allow this document to be real would prove that Simonides had at least one ancient manuscript at Sinai, and it would be hard for that to be anything but Sinaiticus (especially now that we know that the mutilation accusations are essentially confirmed.)


Now let us continue, from the same Literary Churchman article, about this lithograph. Dated from before the Sinaiticus controversies. And that is evidence for the Simonides manuscript unto Catherine's Monastery. (Allowing the Scrivener theory of a different manuscript the minuscule consideration it deserves.)

"It was presented by Dr Simonides in 1854 to "Mr Abet" to whom it is inscribed. We have received from Mr Hodgkin a letter on the subject of this and the other similarly printed works, which bear on the title page Moscow 1853 and Odessa 1854 respectively. In the first part of this letter Mr Hodgkin gives an account of his inquiries, which commenced early last year into the question whether the works so important in their bearing as to the "Codex Sinaiticus" were really printed at the time and place alleged or were impudent recent forgeries. He found, by communication with a correspondent of unquestionable reputation at Odessa, that the foremen of a large lithographic establishment there had been engaged in the printing of these works in 1854. and perfectly recollected the circumstances connected with them."

Maybe any of you gentlemen can see if all this detail is in the James Keith Elliott book. Hodgkin's reputation was solid, and this is a ton of evidence that the lithograph was simply legit. Allowing that we should do a little extra research, especially around the dates and location of Simonides. (There is such a mountain of evidence, that even with all the time.. per James Snapp .. that I put into these studies :) there is a lot that is not at my fingertips.)

Steven Avery
Last edited:

Steven Avery

Il viaggio di Artemidoro: vita e avventure di un grande esploratore dell'antichità (2010)
Luciano Canfora


needs clean up

Caro Hodgkin, Le sto lasciando tulle le carte che presi l’altro giorno tranne i curiosi ricalchi in onciale che sembrano provenire dal Pastore di Erma. Sono ansioso di metterli a raffronto al British Museum con il fac-simile di Tischendorf dello stesso scritto, situato al termine del suo codice. Io mi aspetto che il suo volume di lettere litografate contenga un trattato di Simonidis sulla ‘Aytoyeacpia, sull’arte religiosa del Monte Athos. Una lettera, che ho trovato, di Alessandro Sturtza (per lo meno, credo che sia indicato lui con le lettere puntate A.S.S.) è datata da Odessa, 14 aprile 1852, e rin- grazia per l’invio di tale libro. Se le cose stanno così, bisogna presumere che anche le altre lettere furono effettivamente litografate in quella data.

Dear Hodgkin, I'm leaving you all the papers I took the other day except the curious traces in uncial that seem to come from the Shepherd of Hermas. I am anxious to compare them in the British Museum with Tischendorf's facsimile of the same writing, located at the end of his codex. I expect his volume of lithographed letters to contain a treatise by Simonidis on 'Aytoyeacpia, on the religious art of Mount Athos. A letter, which I found, from Alessandro Sturtza (at least, I believe he is indicated with the letters A.S.S.) is dated from Odessa, April 14, 1852, and thanks for sending this book. If that is the case, it must be assumed that the other letters were also actually lithographed on that date.
Last edited: