Scrivener defense of Codex Sinaiticus authenticity - Full Collation

Steven Avery

This 1864 piece by Scrivener was, quite amazingly, used as the supposed evidence for Sinaiticus authenticity. Despite the fact that many of the major problems with the Sinaiticus authenticity position were not even yet known.

See the discussion on Facebook involving James Snapp. Read the thread and notice the failure of James Snapp in responding to the authenticity difficulties.

Scrivener Intro to Sinaiticus 1864.doc - Jan, 2015

Remember that Scrivener had never even seen the manuscript, and he had been dismayed that Tischendorf never answered the challenge of Simonides by bringing part of the ms. to London.


A full Collation of the Codex Sinaiticus with the received text of the New Testament (1864)
F. H. A. Scrivener

About four years ago, when the textual criticism of Holy Scripture was fast regaining its proper rank as a branch of theological study, the general attention of the learned was directed to it by the unexpected announcement that Tischendorf had found at Mount Sinai a Greek manuscript of the whole New Testament and a portion of the Old, at least as ancient as any yet known to us, Nor has the public interest in this important subject in anyway diminished as the details of Tischendorf s discovery, the external appearance of the Codex Sinaiticus as a paleographic record, and its internal character as a witness to the sacred text, have become gradually and at length completely known to us, while the strange attempt of Dr. Simonides to establish his claim to be the actual writer of a document pronounced by competent judges to be fifteen hundred years old has arrested the curiosity of many who, but for his adventurous boldness, would never have been led to think about Biblical manuscripts at all, much less to regard them, as what in truth they are, the very title-deeds of our Christian inheritance.

Scrivener's methods for determining 4th century antiquity involved simply accepting the unknown pronouncements of some scholars unnamed, who all, for the most part, received information from Tischendorf, who made access to the ms. extremely difficult.

"pronounced by competent judges to be fifteen hundred years old "

Who? What judges? What did they say?

Some of the best scholars who did not even address the forgery or replica theory (that information was only known well in England) thought it was more like 500- 600 AD, as argued by Uspensky and Hilgenfeld. This debate was the subject of a number of articles and books in the 1862-1863 years. Scrivener gives no information.

Nobody had seen The Tale of Two Manuscripts, a glaring problem that Tischendorf tried to hide. Obviously, Scrivener did not know about the marked difference of ms. condition, as he had never seen either the Leipzig or Russian part, and there were no photographs.

How these precious fragments came into such a place is not easily understood, the rather since we have been recently assured that the manuscript of which they formed a part had long been in the library of the monastery, and inserted in the old catalogues. The forty-three leaves thus rescued he of course easily got for asking; but on finding that further...

Here Scrivener is trying to address the poof providence. Where are these supposed ancient catalogues?

The very fact of this bogus claim, coming from a monk, Callinicos of Sinai, close to Cyrillus, Tischendorf's basksheenik in the monastery, coming through the English opposition to Simonides, shows some of the problem. Their "research" was incompetent and when Simonides gave a number of verifiable contacts, the opposition declined to check with them.

This was succinctly and sharply answered by Simonides, who said that he knew for a fact from his own visits to the monastery, and working with the library, that there was not any such ancient catalog. A point that Scrivener omits, And no such catalogue has ever been produced, not in 1864, not in 2015.

And look at the accepting of the tissuedorf, about rescuing 43 leaves, which were heisted by simple theft. Put on rose-coloured glasses, and you will see roses.

Chapter 4 - Was the Codex Siniaiticus Written by Constantine Simonides

The first impression conveyed to Tischendorf by the loose leaves of the Codex Friderico-Augustanus was the assurance that their date must be referred to the fourth century; and after a prolonged and intimate acquaintance with the whole manuscript, the investigations of himself and other competent judges by no means prejudiced in his favor, have led them, with little or no hesitation or wavering, to the same deliberate conclusion.

● The singularly fine quality and venerable appearance of the vellum,
● The fact that it is the only known manuscript containing eight columns on the open leaf, as if in imitation of the older rolled books,
● The very simple, yet graceful shape of the uncial characters, the rare occurrence even of a single point for a stop, the total lack of capital letters, all these particulars closely resembling the Herculanean papyri,
● The brevity of the titles and subscriptions, and some of these too by a second hand,
● The absence of the larger chapters and their titles of contents ; the presence, on the other hand, of the Ammonian sections and Eusebian canons in the Gospels and of the Vatican chapters in the Acts,
● The unusual order of the books of the N. T., especially of the Epistle to the Hebrews,
● The presence of the works of Barnabas and Hermas, as a portion of canonical Scripture,
● The various corrections the primitive text has undergone from ten or more different hands, with inks of many various shades, in different ages, yet nearly all before breathings and accents came into common use,
● Above all, the peculiar character of the original text itself, which is of the most ancient type, thoroughly independent in its general current, often standing quite alone ; often countenanced only by Codex Vaticanus or Codex Bezae, or perhaps by a single later or cursive copy; or by one very old version; or by a single Greek or Latin Father, Eusebius, Basil, or Chrysostom; Ambrose, Jerome, or Augustine —

(SA: These were text-flow in the article, James changed them to bullet points, as if they were actually strong arguments for authenticity. Most simply show that a skilled forger or replica maker would need to know the style of the times, which is CAM 101 .. creating ancient manuscripts.)

All these facts, true beyond dispute, every one of them of some weight, several of them of great importance, when taken all together, with nothing considerable to set in the opposite scale, persuade us by their accumulated influence that our manuscript is inferior to no copy yet known (hardly excepting the Codex Vaticanus itself), whether in age or in critical value.

In the face of reasoning thus strong, and to our mind quite irresistible, Constantine Simonides asserts that he wrote the Codex Sinaiticus with his own hands twenty-four years ago, without the wish, or design, or indeed the smallest expectation, of misleading the most ignorant and unwary as to the true character of his work. This strange and startling claim had been whispered about for some time before, but was first publicly asserted in a letter to the Guardian newspaper, which appeared Sept. 3, 1862. The name of Dr. Simonides was already well known to the literary world. According to a Biography of this ingenious person, written by Mr. Charles Steuart of Brighton, but distributed among his friends with his own hands, he is a Greek native of the isle of Syme, on the coast of Asia Minor, born about the hour of sunrise November 11th, 1824.

For full ten years he has been well known as the discoverer of some and the possessor of other documents, Biblical, Patristic, Historical, Hieroglyphical, and Archaeological, bearing a semblance of antiquity which the learned in general have not been willing to allow to them. We will here mention only two of the most remarkable of Simonides’ treasures, the palimpsest39 of Uranius and the Liverpool papyrus fragments of St. Matthew. The History of the Kings of Egypt from the remotest ages to the reign of Ptolemy Lagus, by Uranius of Alexandria, son of Anaximenes, a perfectly novel work on a subject of deep interest, was offered by Simonides to the celebrated Professor Lepsius in or about 1855; and though for the moment accepted by him and Professor Dindorf, was soon rejected as spurious by them both and all other German scholars; some of those who have since examined the palimpsest by the microscope profess to trace the faint outlines of Uranius’ history above the writing which ought to be more modern. The Biblical fragments were found by Simonides in 1860 when engaged in unrolling masses of papyri (supposed to have come from Egypt) in the Museum of Mr. Mayer, a Liverpool merchant. One of these papyri, in the subscription to St. Matthew’s Gospel, proclaims itself to be the very copy dictated by the Evangelist himself to the deacon Nicolas (Acts 6:5) his scribe, in the fifteenth year after the Lord’s Ascension.

Among other marvelous facts which may serve to modify our wonder at such a discovery of the very autograph of the earliest Gospel, our author assures us that he has seen a transcript of this same Gospel, in the monastery of Mount Sinai, “with the inscription of the date of publication extremely clear,” which purports to be one out of fourteen copies written by Hermodorus, a disciple of the Lord, sixty-five years after the Ascension, and fifteen after the Evangelist’s death. Of this papyrus Simonides has afforded us one exquisite Facsimile, and promises the whole Gospel in due time.40 We are not aware that the Mayer papyri have as yet found a Lepsius sanguine enough to accord to them even a provisional assent. By most scholars they have been held to be condemned by the very extravagance of their claims on our belief, and those who have felt it their duty to scrutinize them patiently have certainly seen no cause to vary from the verdict which first impressions would suggest.

[39 – In times when vellum was scarce, it was usual to wash out an original work in order to substitute in its room something later and more popular: the primitive writing being left just legible under that of the later hand. Such palimpsests are Codices C and Nb.]

[40 – We derive these facts respecting Codd. Nicolai et Hermodori from Dr. Simonides’ “Facsimiles of certain portions of the Gospel of St. Matthew and the Epistles of SS. James and Jude, written on papyrus in the first century, and preserved in the Egyptian Museum of Joseph Mayer, Esq., Liverpool,” by Constantine Simonides, Ph.D., 1862. No one who has not studied this book can form any adequate notion of the writer and his labors.]

Such is a brief outline of the previous career of the extraordinary man who on being shown Tischendorf’’s Facsimile of the Codex Sinaiticus (it could have been none other than the portion of Luke 24) annexed to the Notitia, which appeared late in 1860, at once pronounced it the work of his own hands. How it was that he had not long ago put in the same claim to be the scribe of Codex Friderico-Augustanus, a part of the self-same copy, which was edited in 1846, especially since he might have seen the original leaves when at Leipsic some years before, is one of the most perplexing parts of his case. Even after he had asserted that Codex Sinaiticus was his work, he allowed “two years” to elapse before the appearance of his public letter of Sept. 3, 1862.

Simonides’ account of the origin of the manuscript is, in substance, the following: About the end of 1839, when he was living with his uncle Benedict, head of the monastery of Panteleemon on Mount Athos, that venerable dignitary was anxious to send to the Emperor Nicholas of Russia some gift, in dutiful acknowledgment of the benefits he had conferred, from time to time, on that society. Not possessing anything he deemed acceptable, Benedict resolved to provide a copy of the Old and New Testaments in vellum, in uncial letters of the ancient form. As Dionysius, the professed calligrapher of the monastery, was afraid to undertake the task,41 Simonides commenced it at the request of his uncle, who provided him with that edition of the Greek Bible which the brothers Zosimas, wealthy Russian merchants, had defrayed the cost of publishing at Moscow. This Moscow Bible, after having been collated with three ancient manuscripts and the printed edition of the Codex Alexandrinus, so as to be cleared from many errors (the old spelling however remaining unaltered), was given to Simonides to transcribe. He obtained the vellum from an old book in the convent library, which was almost blank, the material being very clean and beautifully finished. He thus copied out both the Old and New Testaments, the Epistle of Barnabas, and the first part of Hermas; he would have completed the whole of the Apostolic Fathers, but that the parchment was now exhausted and Benedict was dead. He therefore ended his task by simply writing Σιμωνιδου το ολον εργον, gave it over to the binder, and retaining the dedication to the Emperor at the beginning of the book, he sought for another patron who might be disposed to value it.

[41 – As he very well might be, if the scrawl in our Facsimile (15) were his veritable hand-writing.]

See also

Dionysius scrawl from Tischendorf to Scrivener

Maccabees #1


Song of Songs 3:5? #2 (check how it is listed in Textual Mechanic)

Song of Songs 6:3 - "Remember Lord the monk Dionysius the sinner." (Parker, 117)


This patron was found in Constantius, ex-Patriarch of Constantinople and Archbishop of Sinai, at whose residence in the isle of Antigonus, the Patriarch being absent, he left the volume in 1841. Constantius accepted the gift in a gracious and fatherly letter, with which he sent 25,000 piastres (about ?1300 we believe42) and his benediction. It may well be presumed that the prelate whose benediction to a young scholar amounted to something approaching the fee-simple of his bishopric [[i.e., a great favor]] is now in the number of the blest; he was already dead, as Tischendorf tells us, early in 1859; but in 1844 Simonides heard from his own lips that he had long ago sent the Codex to Sinai, and there accordingly its writer found it (though now imperfect and with an older appearance than it ought to have had) on the occasion of two visits he made there in 1844 and 1852; in 1852 he vainly questioned the librarian about its history.

[42 – We can find no authority for putting the Turkish or any piastre at a lower value than between 12 and 13 pence.]

This strange narrative naturally excited great curiosity, and was subjected to searching criticism. On one leading point, his visits to Sinai, he has been met with a direct contradiction: Callinicos, a monk of Sinai, in a letter dated from that convent April 13, 1863, addressed to the late British chaplain at Alexandria, and forwarded through his successor, declares in the name of the brotherhood, including him who held the office of librarian from 1841 to 1858, that no such person as Simonides was ever known there.43 It was, moreover, soon observed, that if Mr. Steuart’s Biography might be trusted, his hero could have been only just fifteen years old when he undertook this very considerable task; and that as barely nine months elapsed between his arrival at Athos in November 1839 and the death of Benedict in August 1840, even had he begun his work immediately on his arrival, he must have proceeded at the rate of 20,000 uncial letters daily, to have advanced thus far in so short a time. To these objections Simonides rejoined that he labored on some time after his uncle’s decease; and that, as regards his age, he was nineteen years old in 1839, having been born, not (as Mr. Steuart alleges) “about the hour of sunrise, Nov. 11, 1824” — that was the birthday of his brother Photius — but on Nov. 5, 1820, the sixth hour before noon. This last correction he supports by publishing a letter to Mr. Steuart,44 complaining of the error, dated as far back as Jan. 16, 1860.

[43 – His rude but vigorous Greek admits of no mistake: οτι δηλονότι ουδέποτε Σιμωνίδης τις εφάνη εις το Μοναστήριον τουτο.]

[44 – In the Literary Churchman, Sept. 1, 1863. We have thought it due to Dr. Simonides to regard this, his last published statement, as his version of the whole transaction.]

One most serious defect in Dr. Simonides’ case is his utter lack of living witnesses, except indeed Mr. Steuart, and that only for the authenticity of the letter dated Jan. 1860. Constantius the Patriarch, whose evidence would have been very important, is unquestionably dead. Of the several persons incidentally mentioned in his narrative, not one has presented himself to corroborate his statements. One person, indeed, respecting whom Simonides had hitherto said nothing, Callinicos, a Greek priest of Alexandria, has borne testimony by letter most strongly and explicitly in his favor; but all attempts to trace his existence in the city whence his letters were dated, and in the community (alas, a small and persecuted flock!) of which he is represented to he a distinguished ornament, have hitherto proved unavailing. Until their writer is produced, his letters must go for nothing.

One single circumstance, not hitherto dwelt upon so far as we know, but which seems to tell somewhat in favor of Simonides, ought not to he suppressed, even though we may not think it of any great weight. Hermas, whose treatise closes the Codex Sinaiticus, well as he was known and esteemed in the ancient Church, has attracted comparatively little notice in modern times. Now it certainly is remarkable that Simonides, some years since, brought to Leipsic from Mount Athos, together with the palimpsest of Uranius, one genuine fragment of the Shepherd in Greek, and the transcript of a second made by him from a manuscript in the same place, both which materially assisted Tischendorf in his edition of the Patres Apostolici. It is true that Simonides has been accused of unfair dealings even with regard to these manuscripts of Hermas (see Prolegom. Cod. Sin. pp. xl-i, edit. min.), but we do not purpose to enter on that debate, though it has undoubtedly embittered the relations between him and Tischendorf. We merely wish to point out, as a curious coincidence, his having brought from Athos, about 1855, genuine codices of that self-same early treatise, which he now alleges that he copied at Athos in 1840 as an integral part of the Codex Sinaiticus.

We have submitted to the reader a summary of the statements of Dr. Simonides, and of the chief objections which have been urged against their truthfulness. Everyone will form his own judgment on the facts here placed before him, as we would fain hope, with no undue bias or prepossession. If on the whole it shall be thought that we are under no logical necessity to deny that he wrote in 1839-1840 some such manuscript as he has described, one thing appears quite certain, that the manuscript he may have then written neither is nor can be the Codex Sinaiticus. We consider this last point fully established by the following arguments, each of which we trust will be found to have some force when considered separately, and two or three to prove our conclusion beyond all possibility of doubt.

I. Simonides inscribed on his work when completed Σιμωνιδου το ολον εργον, and these words were read on it (whether in 1844 or 1859) by his correspondent, the Alexandrian Callinicos. Indeed his whole narrative is grounded on the assertion that he was the only scribe engaged, although Benedict and Dionysius made a few marks or notes in several places. Now even though Tischendorf may be wrong in supposing that so many as four different hands were employed upon Codex Sinaiticus, it is nearly impossible to maintain, in the face of the internal proofs we have accumulated, that the whole is the labor of one scribe. Hence the Codex Simoneidos, as its author calls it, cannot be identical with Codex Sinaiticus.

II. Again, Simonides transcribed from a Moscow Bible, whose text Benedict had altered by means of his three manuscripts and the printed Codex Alexandrinus. Codex Sinaiticus, on the contrary, must have been derived from a model whose lines were similarly divided with its own, that is, in a manner totally unlike what any printed Bible would represent. This is evident from the not infrequent instances wherein its scribe suffers his eye to wander over a line, or from one line to another, to the utter destruction of the sense. The reader will perceive our meaning if he examines narrowly the examples cited above, p. xv.

III. Yet further, how could itacisms, which are nothing better than mere blunders in the spelling, find their place in the transcript of a printed book? Codex Sinaiticus is so full of them, those too of the oldest type, that the bulk of our collation is materially increased thereby. Certainly we are told in the letter of Sept. 3 “that the old spelling remained unaltered” when the learned Benedict, by means of his manuscripts, cleared his printed text from errors. But is it likely that he, or any sane person, would have deliberately and systematically changed the true spelling of the Moscow Bible into the false fashion prevailing in the oldest manuscripts? Yet he must have undertaken such a preposterous task if Codex Simoneidos and Codex Sinaiticus are one document. The same observations apply, though with less force, to the grammatical peculiarities enumerated above.

IV. Benedict had before him the Codex Alexandrinus, and right glad we are to be told that so ripe a work of western scholarship has penetrated the recesses of the Greek monasteries. How came he then to adopt the Ammonian sections and Eusebian canons of that manuscript, while he rejected the notation of the larger κεφαλαια and the titles or headings it also contains; the rather since all known manuscripts except Codices Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, and Bezae are believed to exhibit them? Then again, as to capital letters larger than the rest: only four documents on vellum besides Codex Sinaiticus are known to be void of them; why not have followed Codex Alexandrinus and all later manuscripts in this respect also? Why conform to the contrary practice, which had long since become obsolete, when capitals would have so much better enabled Simonides to exhibit his exquisite skill as a calligrapher?

V. From what source too did Benedict derive those divisions in the Acts which are peculiar to Codices Sinaiticus and Vaticanus alone among all extant copies? Simonides never intimates that either his uncle or he had taken the trouble to ascertain the readings of Codex B, nor have we seen one word in his subsequent works which would make us think that he even knew of its existence. Add to this that the chapters in Codex Sinaiticus, though evidently the same in substance as those of the sister manuscript, differ from it (as may be seen by the note appended to our collation of the Acts) sufficiently to prove that the connection between them is too remote for one to have been derived immediately from the other.

VI. Let us now recall to mind the numerous marks of extreme antiquity on the face of the Codex Sinaiticus, which have persuaded every competent scholar who has examined it, or received its description on the word of others, that it is a genuine relic of the primitive ages of the Church. It would be very difficult for the most skilful paleographer living to fabricate a manuscript of but a few leaves in extent, so perfectly like an ancient document in respect to material, and form, and shape of the letters, and the various shades of inks, of different ages and from different hands, as seriously to perplex competent and careful judges; to palm on them a forgery of any considerable length we hold to be quite impracticable.

But even were this not the case, such an attempt would necessarily imply experience, adroitness, special information, in a word, design and fraudulent intention on the part of the writer of the document. That a boy of fifteen, or a youth of nineteen, who many years afterwards has exhibited surprising ignorance of much which even sciolists [[those with only shallow knowledge]] are presumed to know, should have executed within the compass of a few months a volume of 1400 pages, comprising nearly four millions of uncial letters; and that too in such a fashion that WITHOUT THE SMALLEST INTENTION TO DECEIVE, or to pass off his performance as an ancient work, he has actually misled the best critics in Europe — this proposition we must confess to he so unlikely and indeed incredible, that we could not receive it on any evidence whatever.

VII. Finally, the text afforded by the Codex Sinaiticus can never have been derived from the meager sources described by Simonides, though they might amply suffice for the very limited purpose Benedict had in view. About the character of his three manuscripts used at Athos he is silent, but nothing has ever been brought from the Holy Mountain which much exceeds a thousand years old. To Codex Alexandrinus also, the text of Sinaiticus approximates less than to most of the same rank, especially in the Gospels and Apocalypse. But in truth, its text is manifestly derived from an original of the highest interest and authority. Had Benedict been the most acute and accomplished Biblical scholar in Christendom he could not have anticipated in 1839 the results of the discoveries of the last twenty years; no one who in his time sat down to construct an ancient text, which should resemble that of the earliest manuscripts, versions, and ecclesiastical writers, could possibly have been led to the results embodied in the Codex Sinaiticus; not even though to their deep and comprehensive learning be added the fortunate daring of a Bentley, the tact and ripe judgment of a Griesbach. One example will illustrate our meaning as well as a thousand, which the student may readily find for himself in the following collation. In Matthew 14:30 Codex Sinaiticus omits ισχυρον after ανεμον. In 1839 no other document, manuscript, version,45 or Father was known to countenance such a variation; it has no such inherent probability as to have suggested itself to Benedict, or to any one else. When Rulotta’s revised collation of the Codex Vaticanus was brought to light again in 1855, it first became known that that venerable authority contains the word only in a later hand; in 1857 Tregelles published his collation of the important cursive Codex 33, made seven years before; this copy also omits ισχυρον. Thus, were we now engaged in forming a text that should seem ancient, here is just such a textual variant as we should adopt for our purpose; it could not have been so employed twenty-four years ago, since the omission in any one codex was completely unknown, and would not have been conjectured.


Such are the grounds of our firm conviction that Codex Sinaiticus is a monument of the Biblical scholarship and pious skill of the fourth century of our era. On its happy discovery we congratulate the Christian world, and respectfully thank Professor Tischendorf for the care and diligence he has bestowed upon editing it.

[45 – Mill, indeed, in the Appendix to his N. T. (1707), observes “omittit ισχυρον Copt.;” but this, like so many of his best readings, was neglected by the later editors, Wetstein, Griesbach, and Scholz; no one will think that Benedict borrowed the

** Scrivener had never seen the two manuscripts that combined make the one Sinaiticus. ** He had never touched them. He did not know that the Codex Friderico-Augustanus looked like a new parchment while the major heist in Russia was as he described, yellow his age. His information was carefully fed by Tischendorf, and involved deception.

There is not much in the way of substantive argument above. When I have a few minutes I will cull out some and give at least an overview response. The textual arguments are small. Much of this is saying that Simonides was a forger, which is not much of an argument against his producing a forgery or replica. Some of it pokes holes in his story line, but that only means that he may have embellished the actual details of creation in order to make his own position look better than the objective facts.
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Steven Avery

Scrivener noted the Tischendorf "strange silence" and no-show

The Great Vatican Manuscript of the Holy Bible (1867)

Of Tischendorf's animus, we fear, the least said the better: but those who remember the circumstances of that period, when Constantine Simonides was claiming to be the actual writer of Codex א, and Tischendorf's strange silence was lending some plausibility to his pretensions, will be of opinion that he could not well have done a wiser thing than to submit the suspected document to the examination of a most competent judge, who could have no prejudice in favour of its discoverer. In this country, we will engage to say, the positive evidence of Tregelles weighed far more in favour of Codex א than all the Attic epistles Tischendorf could publish against the poor Greek pretender, though they told us of (grek), or assailed him with that argument so admirably adapted to the taste of the English public, (grek) (Tischend. Cod. Sin. Proleg. p. xli. 1863).

Scrivener may not have seen the additional unbalanced attacks against critics in Assault and Weapons of Darkness.

The Prologeomena attack on Simonides can be seen here:

Novum testamentum sinaiticum: sive, Novum testamentum cum epistala Barnabae et fragmentis Pastoris. Ex Codice sinaitico auspiciis Alexandri II. omnium Russiarum imperatoris
p. 40-41
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Steven Avery

Saturday Review (1864)
The Codex Sinaiticus *

* A Full Collation of the Codex Sinaiticus, with the Received Text of the New Testament.
By F. II. Scrivener, M.A. Cambridge: Deighton, Bell & Co. London: Bell & Daldy. 1864.


Whatever view is taken of the . Sinai manuscript, it is equally the moat remarkable document of j
its class. Either it is probably the most ancient, or certainly the most modem, of known Biblical manuscripts.

And whether it h regarded
as old or new, its internal characteristics are equally remarkable.
On the supposition of its being old, it exhibits a peculiar and sin-
gular trrt, and in this text—alien'd, corrected, retraced afresh by a
succession of revising scribes—it presents specimens of wliat are sup-
posed to bo the various ages of Greek handwriting, from the simplest
and plainest uncials to the almost unintelligible cursive scrawl of the most debased times. It has all the marks of having hail along
histoiy, various fortunes, readers of different tastes, who have left
their notes upon it — all tho Appearances which an ancient
relic gathers on it of having come in contact with the I
fashions of ono ago after another, and of having passed through I
many hands. On the contrary supposition of its being little
more than twenty years old, it hus this even more remarkable
peculiarity—that it shows, on the face of what is quite recent, all
these apparent traces and deposits, not merely ot a remote anti-
quity, out of different degrees and stage* of antiquity; and this
by accident as it wen*, and entirely without the design of seeming
to have passed muter the revision of different owners. Yet it whs
not intended to puss for an ancient manuscript; these apparent in-
dications of various hands working on it are not due to the
purpose of forging an imitation which was to bo put forward as

genuine, and which required such corroboration* of its alleged
date* This diversified and accumulated evidence of antiquity has
Collected of itself in M. Simonides' work, malgri lui, without
his having had any thought of producing such an effect, or having
had any reason to do so. In fact, he ha) done so to his own dis-
advantage. Without meaning it, he has unintentionally given his
manuscript such signs of age, apparently so unequivocal and beyond
Counterfeiting, and capable of Waring so perfectly the keenest
acrutiny and the most minute testing, that now he finds that he
eannot reclaim his own work.

undivided, and there are few stops. The copyist is utterly care-
less nbnut ending a line with a word or a syllable; he will divide
the shortest monosyllable between the close of one line and the
beginning of the next. On the other hand, it hns been remarked
that no line ever bejpns with any combination of letter*—-with one
enrious exception, n combination characteristically Egyptian —
which mi”lit not begin a Greek word, a* if he was more careful of
I the first look to the eye of the beginning of the line than of its
| more irregular end, though oxen here he graml^ end?* with
i certain letters. The forms of the letter* are us unndomed as
( possible, without flourishes or knobs, and with no peculiarities but
such us are found also in what nrc supposed to be our oldest muim-
| scripts. It is entirely without capitals. Then* are only four known
| manuscripts on vellum, the Vatican M.S. being one, resembling it
in this peculiarity, which is found in the earlv papyri ; the Alex-
andrian manuscript has them. Alone, with tne \utican MS. and
| the Cotlcx Mezu?, it wants the notation of the larger chapters con-
tained in the Alexandrian and nil other manuscripts; while ono
peculiar division of the Acta of the Apostles, hitherto found
nowhere hut in the Vatican manuscript, is also found in tho Sinai
I manuscript.

Saturday Review

The accuracy of grammar and of transcription does not equal the beauty of the handwriting. Like all the writers of the most ancient manuscripts of the New Testaments, the scribe of the Sinai manuscript was what we should call a bad and vulgar speller; that is, his spelling represented, not the original and orthographical form of the words, but the modern pronunciation, at a time when, as in modern Greek speech, several vowels and diphthongs had become confounded together in the spoken language, and the old distinctions between

The most ancient mamserfpt* of the New Testament hitherto known depart
fwtn thecuuiuiuu gritniiuutiral intlcctioiM, and arc assimilated to those torms
which pertain to the Alexandrine modification of the Hellenistic—a debased
dialect of the tireek, current aimxiig Jewish converts in the first century. It
in nut necessary to inter Mum this peculiarity that nit the ulde-t Codioe* wen
written at Alexandria, hut rather that they approximate to the primitive
orthography of the sacred penmen, whose style would naturally be moulded
on that of t'heSepluairiut version ; while later seriV* have gradually aoftcfted
down its huHimss, und brought it iuto closer conformity with the usage of
tltear own time*. Heme ibe prevalent** of these Alexandrine termination*
has been reasonably held as a presumptive proof (valid so Ur a* it goes) of it*
high antiuuity.


But it is noticed that this debased spelling, or itacism as it is called, which probably represented the literary cultivation of the earlier Christian times, varies in different portions of the manuscript, as if the same transcriber was not always at work on it. Besides this peculiarity, and also a variety of irregular forms or solecisms, it abounds in mistakes of the eye and pen, arising from catching the end of the wrong word or missing out a line, so that Dr. Tregelles pronounces that

"the state of the text, as proceeding from the first scribe, may be regarded as very rough,”

But it was not left in that rough state. Manuscripts uudeiwent revision and correction just as the proof-sheets of a printed work; but the peculiarity of the manuscript was that this revising and correcting process could be carried on for ever. The Sinai manuscript has undergone this process largely. It is covered with alterations ; and Mr. Scrivener is confident that we can distinguish the traces of at least ten different revisers—some of them systematically spread over every page, others occasional or limited to separate portions of the manuscript; many of them being contemporaneous with the first writer, far the greater part belonging to the sixth or seventh century, and a few being as recent as the twelfth. He gives examples and facsimiles of these corrections, which leave no doubt that a variety of hands, and hands of diilerent dates, have been employed on the manuscript. The object of one of these correctors, whose share of the alterations is the largest, was to bring the text closer to that which is the Received Text of our day:—

We are thus [says Mr. Scrivener] presented with a kind nf history of the
sarmt text, and uf the changes it underwent fmm time to time; nut to
mention that the occurrence of so many hands in Mich variuut wbadi-n nf
ink, and so divi-nuticd in style, forms a powerful argument Ihr the high
antiquity of tin: copy to which these annotations are appended.

p. 359

i and «, at ana (, i, ot, v9, and 17, had ceased to l>o perceptible; —
Last edited:

Steven Avery


Scrivener must have had access to photos of the Sinaiticus, otherwise he could not have written this book:
Scrivener was flying blind, counting on the disinformation written by Tischendorf.
Scrivener used a special facsimile edition produced with a special print font by Tischendorf.

A Full Collation of the Codex Sinaiticus with the Received Text of the New Testament (1864)
(The Hathi Trust text is blurred, actually both book representations have problems, they are the same as we see by the hand-written note on the Title page.)
A better edition:

By the end of 1862 his splendid editio major of the whole manuscript in four thin folio volumes was ready, and
was first seen in England early in January, 1863. Of the 300 copies of which it is composed, 200 seem to have been
absorbed as presents from the Emperor to various public bodies (chiefly in his own dominions) and to a few learned
men. The rest were given up to Tischendorf for sale ... - p. xi
Finally, in April 1863, was published a cheap manual or popular edition, containing the New Testament, Barnabas and Hermas alone, in ordinary Greek type, with the Prolegomena and notes pertaining to the New Testament, %c., somewhat altered and slightly improved, accompanied by one facsimile plate (Heb. xii. 27—xiii. 26). This handsome volume, for all practical purposes, is amply sufficient for the use of those who have access to the larger edition as a book of reference. It is to be regretted, however, that the text of the smaller work, and more especially the notes of both, are rather inaccurately printed. Such errors as we have detected are placed at the end of this Volume, and that in no carping spirit as directed against Tischendorf, whose merits indeed are beyond all praise, but purely as a matter of necessity and duty to the reader. - p. xii

Thus, Tischendorf simply left off the accents his 1862 edition, Bibliorum Codex Sinaiticus Petropolitanus.

Here you can see the first page of Matthew and part of the first page of Hermas, and you can compare these to the actual pages that are up on the CSP site: