signed notes of Dionysius, Hilarion, Theophylact (best pic for palaeography inquiry)

Steven Avery

The signed notes (or notes that include their names) of Dionysius, Hilarion, Theophylact are rather interesting in terms of epigraphy and palaeography. There is no real analysis of the scripts that I have found. Nor of the language and literary style, spelling, vocabulary, word order, grammar, etc (consider the "florid phraseology" of Theophylact") that might help, at least, to supply an accurate terminus post quem.

We start with Theophylact.


Pure Bible Forum - Feb, 2014
EMPHASIS Dionysius, Hilarion, Theophylact
and medieval and Arabic writings


Bible Criticism and History Forum
Note at the end of Sinaiticus Job? - Aug, 2014


The Textual Mechanic, Timothy Mitchell, showed some of the notes. However, he omitted some and was not too happy when that was pointed out, so he did not let the post that provided the cordial correction onto the blog. This is an unfortunate syndrome today that often arises.

Textual Mechanic
The Monks of Codex Sinaiticus
November, 2017


Christianity Stack Exchange
When did the insertion of title-page for Old Testament and New Testament started?


Palaeography - April 21, 2018

planned for the "three crosses" note


Last edited by a moderator:

Steven Avery

Quire 72-8v - Job 42:9 - 42:17 British Library folio: 199b

Theophylact 3 Job.jpg

Based upon the transcription provided in

ὁ παλαιᾶϲ καὶ καινῆϲ διαθήκηϲ θϲ ˙ ὁ ἐν τριάδι ὑ
μνούμενοϲ ˙ καὶ ἐν μονάδι δοξολογούμενοϲ αὐτὸϲ
δέξαι τὴν μετάνοιαν τοῦ ἁμαρτωλοῦ θεοφυλά
κτου ˙ καὶ ἀξίωϲον αὐτὸν τυχεῖν τῆϲ βαϲιλείαϲ ϲου ˙ διὰ
ϲπλάχνα ἐλέουϲ ϲου ˙ καὶ ἐλέοϲ ἀμέτρητον:

The old and new covenant of God
Who in three is praised
And in one is glorified
He received the repentance of the sinner Theophylact
And made him worthy to obtain of thy kingdom
Because of Thy bowels of mercies
And immeasurable mercy

... at the time he wrote that note, he expected that the New Testament was to IMMEDIATELY FOLLOW. it had to be at a time where that was actually the case, unless it was already taken out, and it became the object of anyone's graffiti, between creating "ancient documents" in their bookmaking room at the monastery.

ho en triadi
It is poetic to say:
Who in three I praise And in one I glorify

David and I think that the Athos and Sinai monasteries might find scrawls in OTHER BOOKS, quite similar. A calligraphist, as referenced by Simonides, or a copyist, or graffiti. It was sort of "open season" on the manuscript.


Christianity Stack Exchange translation


ὁ παλαιᾶϲ καὶ καινῆϲ διαθήκηϲ θϲ
Oh God of the old and new covenant

ὁ ἐν τριάδι ὑμνούμενοϲ
who in trinity is praised

καὶ ἐν μονάδι δοξολογούμενοϲ αὐτὸϲ
and in unity is glorified:

δέξαι τὴν μετάνοιαν τοῦ ἁμαρτωλοῦ θεοφυλάκτου
receive the repentance of a God-guarded* sinner

καὶ ἀξίωϲον αὐτὸν τυχεῖν τῆϲ βαϲιλείαϲ ϲου
and count him worthy to attain your kingdom

διὰ ϲπλάχνα ἐλέουϲ ϲου
by the bowels of your mercy

καὶ ἐλέοϲ ἀμέτρητον
yea mercy immeasurable.

Note at the end of Sinaiticus Job? (2014)

ωβ Job –
ὁ παλαιᾶϲ καὶ καινῆϲ διαθήκηϲ θϲ God’s (θϲ)
Old and new teachings

ὁ ἐν τριάδι ὑ μνούμενοϲ ˙
He in Trinity is one

καὶ ἐν μονάδι δοξολογούμενοϲ
And is worshipped in one

αὐτὸϲ δέξαι
He is glorified

τὴν μετάνοιαν τοῦ ἁμαρτωλοῦ θεοφυλά κτου
by the repentance of sinners (added - SA "Theophylact")
Last edited:

Steven Avery

Tischendorf plugged in a date for this note, something like 12th century, which is quite irrelevant, as he did not give any basis. This general failing was pointed out by Skeat and Milne:

In no case does he [Tischendorf] give any details of the characteristics of the various hands he professed to identify, and we must assume that, in the main, he was guided solely by the general appearance of the script” (Milne and Skeat 1938:18).
Since then, the Tischendorf date is repeated by just about everybody. Yet nobody does a real analysis. This is a superb example of parrot analysis, that leads to circularity, along this line:

"Look at the scribes from the 12th century, (Tischendorf tells us!) ... and that shows you that Sinaiticus is ancient."

Yet who said they were 12th century? A man who clearly was not objective, and had an agenda ... Tischendorf.


There should be a real scholarship attempt to assign a terminus post quem and a terminus ante quem. Of course, the terminus ante quem is much flexible and problematic since, once a script exists, it can be maintained for a long time.

The script would be a factor.
Is it just a bunch of personal idiosyncrasies, and would you ever see that script in 1100 AD ? Does the spelling or vocabulary or grammar and word-order give a terminus post quem ? How about the writing style? "The florid phraseology"?

Is there really any terminus ante quem at all ?
Other than its first publication note, c. 1860.

Look at the 1,000 English writing scrawls today. All in the same time period.


Here is a example of the skepticism about the arbitrary dates of Tischedorfm, even back in 1863:

Christian Remembrancer

III. Now comes the important question, When was the Codex Sinaiticus written?
As to external evidence, there are absolutely no data whatever. The original writers made no note of their handiwork. The brethren of the monastery have no tradition about it. When the Professor says that the MS. must have been in the monastery ‘ex multis seculis,’ we must be on our guard, for the wish may have been father to the thought. He supposes that Dionysius, Hilarion, and Theophylact, whose names do appear in the work, were Sinaitic brethren : this may be so, but the point has still to be proved. He says, it may, perhaps, be shown from the annals of the monastery that these three persons lived in the twelfth century, though he admits that their names do not occur in the list of Archbishops at that period. Perhaps it may, but we must not, therefore, assume it as a fact. The monastery was built a.d. 530, by order of Justinian, and has remained up to the present time. ‘Now,’ says the Professor, ‘we may very well believe that the Emperor took care to furnish the monastery with MSS. &c. from Alexandria.’ It is most likely that he did; but how can it be shown that this MS. was among the number? We must come, then, to other considerations to help us in fixing the date of the MS.

Steven Avery

Tischendorf, Scrivener, Lake and the British Library

This next one I think was first written by 1863, by Tischendorf, and thus would be used by Scrivener.

Novum Testamentum Graece. Ex Sinaitico codice, omnium antiquissimo, Vaticana itemque Elzeviriana lectione notata

Qui omnium ultimi quum studiorum suorum tum ipsorum memoriam in codice esse voluerunt, Dionysium, Hilarionem, Theophylactum, circa saeculum duodecimum ex numero Sinaitarum fuisse, licet horum nominum nullum inter archiepiscopos illorum temporum inveniatur,4 ex annalibus monasterii fortasse ostendi potent.

Tischendorf Theophylact section.jpg

Scrivener wrote the following from the Tischendorf facsimile, he had not seen the ms.

A full Collation of the Codex Sinaiticus with the received text of the New Textament (1864)

signature ... three by one Theophylact (vol. ii. fol. 42; vol. iii. foil. 73*; 112*). Tischendorf conjectures that these three were brethren of the Convent of St. Catherine, whither the Codex may have been brought on its foundation by the Emperor Justinian, about a.d. 530.

If we turn from the earliest of these second-hand emendations to the original manuscript, the contrast is great enough to impress the least instructed reader. ...
And Scrivener brings over a picture, from a Tischendorf facsimile, here:

Kirsopp Lake

Lake on Alpha
Kirsopp Lake, Codex Sinaiticus. introduction, (London, 1911)

E is a quite unimportant scribe who made a very few corrections in the text, perhaps in the 12th century, and it is possible that the same writer added the notes in Greek and Arabic, on folios 128V and 130R. If E be taken to mean not so much a single scribe as the latest stage of correction, it may also be used to designate the writers of a few names scribbled in the O.T., - Hilarion, Dionysius, & Theophylact. Tisch. thought that E might be regarded as representing medieval monks at St Catherines. This is a probable guess, but, as stated above, there is no evidence as to the date when it was brought to Sinai.
Amazingly, not a single word about the three with signatures in Scribes and Correcters by Skeat & Milne, 1938. The closest to a reference (noted by Parker) is the very uninformative:

Little fresh evidence for the external history of the manuscript has come to light. The latest desultory scribblings to which any approximate date can be assigned seem to belong to the twelfth century; its complete neglect after that date is not surprising, as the manuscript could be deciphered only with difficulty by a reader accustomed to minuscule script with accents, breathings, and other lectional aids. The state of the last few extant leaves of Hermas," p. 81
and this equivocal comment is in a different context


This next section was up from the British Library at one time:

43725. THE CODEX SINAITICUS. The Bible, in Greek; in two volumes (vol. I,
Old Testament, vol. II, New Testament), with continuous foliation.

including Arabic glosses and notes in several hands, mostly written circ. 12th cent. (ff. 42 b, 45 b, 47, 48 b, 54, 54 b,
58b, 64, 85b, 327b, 328), and Greek notes by 'Dionysius the monk' (ff. 16, 149, 150), Hilarion (f. 41b) and Theophylact (ff. 42, 160b, 199b), in minuscules of about the same period.

David Charles Parker
Codex Sinaiticus: The Story of the World's Oldest Bible

Another Byzantine reader left a longer note. It runs across the bottom of the opening Q68-Fiv/2r, and appropriately beneath the words ‘Wisdom’s garland is the fear of the Lord’ (Sirach i.ii): 'The bestower of all wisdom, Son of God and Word, the incarnate Wisdom of the Father who teaches knowledge to man, instruct the sinner Theophylact to the glory of your name that he may do your will.’ A date around 1200 seems a safe proposal.

Notes of this kind are not at all uncommon in Byzantine manuscripts, though Dionysius’ simple prayer is more typical than Theophylact’s florid phraseology.
p. 118
The book has a little omission, likely an editor's typo in the margin description, the words after "and one" would be our Job note:

Theophylact also
wrote a note at
the bottom of Q72-F8v, and one
Hilarion just wrote his name on Q42-F8V
And we have the interesting:
"Such jottings are often difficult to date very accurately, because they are written informally"
Yet, with absolutely no evidence supporting the date, Parker writes that 1200 AD is a "safe proposal". Very strange. An informal hand, with extemporaneous text, should actually give more evidence than a formal script. Is 1000 AD safe? How about 1500 AD? How about Athos 1840? Or Sinai 1850?



Any others? (e.g. 2015 book)

Steven Avery

first two Theophylact notes in Sinaiticus

It looks like the note above, Theophylact in quire 72, end of Job, is missed by the CSP and/or The Textual Mechanic. Note that this might relate to the editing problem on the margin note of Parker. WIP.

And it would be interesting to see the four corrections.

The third group is more complex. It consists of two notes and four corrections. The two notes (Quire 43 Folio 1r top and Quire 68 Folios 1v-2r bottom) are both by someone called Theophylact, but are unlikely to be by the same hand.

Codex Sinaiticus Project
The Transcription
Two other notes by Theophylact

Isaiah 1 - Quire 43
Theophylact #1.jpg
Sirach - Quire 68

Theophyact #2

Textual Mechanic

On the bottom right hand margin on Q68-f1v and extending over into the bottom left hand margin of Q68-f2r reads a note in Greek (transcription taken from;

"Ο πας(ης) σοφι(ας) χορηγ(ος) υ(ιο)σ θυ̅ και
λογ(ος) η ενυποστατ(ος) σοφια του π̅ρ̅ς̅
η διδασκουσα α̅ν̅ο̅ν̅ γνως(ιν) σοφισον
αμαρτωλ(ον) θεοφυλα(κτον) προς δοξαν" (Q68-f1v)
"του ονοματος σ(ου) ει το ποιης(αι) το θελημα σ(ου)" (Q68-f2r)

"The bestower of all wisdom, Son of God and Word, the incarnate Wisdom of the Father who teaches knowledge to man, instruct the sinner Theophylact to the glory of your name that he may do your will." (Parker, 118)
Theophylact 2a.jpg Theophylact 2B.jpg

or, as one note:

Theophylacts 2AB EXC.jpg


Steven Avery

Simonides references Dionysius the calligraphist

Dionysius the calligraphist

"my uncle Benedict corrected the MS in many places, and as it was intended to be re-copied, he marked in many letters which he intended to have illuminated corrections in the handwriting of my uncle I can of course point out; as also those of Dionysius, the caligraphist."
From the James Keith Elliott book:

The identity of characters named in the actual manuscript causes The Christian Remembrancer. April 1863, to ask:

Can Dr. Simonides favour us with any information about Theophylact, Dionysius, and Hilarion, whose names occur in the Codex Sinaiticus? or have the names been inscribed since the parchments passed out of his keeping? or are the triad men of straw? or noms de guerre? Who are Antonius and Pamphilus, mentioned in the note in the Codex Friderico-Augustanus? Augustanus?

Dionysius’ name is picked on by The Journal of Sacred Literature, October 1862: thing we know, that in the extracts given by Tischendorf, in the Notitia, there is at page 24 a Greek note to this effect: «Remember, Lord, the soul of the sinner Dionysius, a monk, when Thou contest in Thy kingdom».Of course, we shall be told (i.e. by Simonides) that this is (his friend) the calligrapher, but we shall hesitate to admit the explanation.

and in the issue for July 1863:

Upon one page of the fac-similes we find a copy of an inscription by one Dionysius. - no doubt the Dionysius to whom we owe the one of the same name, whom Mr. Simonides calls the «professional calligrapher» of Panteleemon, at Mount Athos. This Dionysius wrote a wretched, crabbed, cursive hand, and was undoubtedly among the living many centuries back. There is another autograph of one Hilarion, and to this we trace the «Deacon Hitarion» of Simonides. But Hilarion also has unquestionably been among the blessed for several hundred years. There are also other autographs which we pass over at present.



Staff member
use Theophylact pic as palaeography inquiry

The Theophylact note should be the best to extract as a simple Palaeographic inquiry. The big top one to start.