Sinaiticus through the centuries in the 4th century paradigm

Steven Avery

The goal here is to show all the various handling of Sinaiticus through the centuries involving quire numbers, Arabic numbers, corrections, bindings, mini-ink, super-ink, Eusebian apparatus, and other elements under the modern theory.

In this context of massive handling over centuries (theorized) we can counterpoint the pristine CFA and the amazing preservation of the New Testament.


As we come across these, from now on, we will place them in here, the most important resources will likely be:

Skeat and Milne (1938)

Jongkind (2007)
CSP site, including various papers (2009)
New Perspectives On the Ancient Biblical Manuscript (2015)

The green corrector information is taken from the summary given by Robert Waltz


a is contemporary with the scribe, or nearly (i.e. fourth century).

5th or 7th centuries - C correctors - Skeat p. 65

b dates probably from the fifth/sixth century.

638 AD - "plausible guess" brought from Caesarea to Sinai - Lake, 1922

c actually refers to a large group of scribes (perhaps five) who worked in the seventh century

600-700 AD - 2 Esther and Ezra notes have wording not consistent with 4th century

unknown - 1st retouching
8th century - 2nd retouching

8th century - 2nd quire numeration (Skeat)
"The first folios of both of the Hermas quires contain two sets of numbering in the upper margin: in the top right there is the usual eighth-century writing and ornaments, and in the top-left the less visible old numbering." - Dan Batovici

See Peter Head on 8th century quire notation top-right


scribe of the eighth or ninth century has retouched with fresh ink many pages of the Sinaitic MS

Medieval correctors - D and E - Skeat p. 65
D is known for accents.

"medieval corrections.. There are three corrections in the NT: at Matt 19:3; 1Tim 3:16; and Acts 3:13 (and there is one in Proverbs). There are a few pious notes, and some Arabic glosses, notably one that may be dated between 1453 and 1492. " - David Parker -

"We may ignore
d; this symbol is not generally used." (however, this includes Hermas quire 93, with dark retracing ink and accents, so it would have to be Byzantine period at the earliest.)

e refers to the last known corrector, who made a few alterations (Tischendorf reportedly lists only three) in the twelfth century.

Dionysius - Milne and Skeat hedged their bets by writing that 'the latest desultory scribblings to which any approximate date can be assigned seem to belong to the twelfth century'. - Parker p. 117

1200 - Theophylact note' A date around 1200 seems a safe proposal. - Parker, p. 117

1453-1492 - Arabic note on Revelation 7:4 - Parker p. 119

1800s - Arabic is very recent (Tregelles)

1844 - rebinding


Both the form of the letters, which appear to be no later than the text, and their regular placing against the left bounding line of the first column of writing2 (see Fig. 3) strongly suggest that this numeration is contemporary, although the writer cannot be identified with any of the scribes of the text. This is also the opinion of Lake (N.T., p. xvi; O.T., p. xix). In the New Testament these quire-numbers are all one in advance of what would be expected from the numeration of the Old Testament, whereas the later numeration, in the right-hand top corner, which is ascribed to the eighth century, runs on continuously throughout the Bible. - Skeat and Milne p. 7

In review, we may also touch on puzzling anomalies, like the Revelation of Sinaiticus being seen as a pre-Andreas commentary, the x-ray vision of Tischendorf on John 21 and the Mark ending cancel sheet. And the linguistic perspective of James Donaldson.

Some notations are made of events without much indication of the theorized dates:


1.4.2 Re-tracing

The retracing of the characters (main text, corrections, some quire numbers and some of the squiggles) was repeated several times throughout the history of the Codex Sinaiticus, always using different types of inks.


The ink used for the second retracing of the main text, for example, appears to be more friable than the one used to write the original text, suffering from major ink loss.

... There have been two, possibly three, re-tracings of the brown ink text

More discussion here:

[textualcriticism] retracings of Codex Sinaiticus - corrected ending of John's gospel
Steven Avery - Jan 4, 2014

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Steven Avery

Vaticanus through the centuries in the 4th century paradigm


This is given in one spot, Wieland Willker:

Codex Vaticanus Graece 1209, B/03


  • First half of the 4th CE: the codex is written.
  • 4th to 6th CE: small Greek chapter numbers added
  • 5th to 7th CE: Symbols in Acts/Catholics added.
  • 7th - 8th CE: Large Greek chapter numbers added
  • 10th or 11th CE: Complete text reinforced, Skeat: "before the ninth". It is quite a mystery why the text has been so carefully enhanced in this period.
  • 10th to 15th CE: Addition of coloured book headings.
    (Although the dates for these things are rather uncertain, the succession is clear.)
  • 15th CE: The restoration took place. The missing pages at the beginning, the end and within the Psalms have been replaced by a minuscule hand. Also the codex was probably newly bound.

Wieland also mentions that the text was "washed". And this was before the reinforcement decision. In point of fact the overwriting may well have been the 15th century.

By Tischendorf placing the overwriting much earlier (without any known reasons) this worked to eliminate concerns that the Vaticanus ms. had been subject to 15th century production or tampering.

As P. C. Sense and others have discussed, no matter what the 4th century date should be questioned. The style of production of any ms. can always be copied at a later time.

In the scenario above you have lots of post 4th century items, but with what evidence? Let us take one example.

4th to 6th CE: small Greek chapter numbers added

On what basis is the small Greek chapter numbers added" given a terminus ante quem of the 6th century? What inherent nature of the script or the chronology or something impels this declaration?
Where are the palaeography pages that show all the various handwritings above and explain why the flourishes or style impel such and such a conclusion? Do they exist?

More information here:

the Vaticanus retracing

Steven Avery

Steven Avery

Sinaiticus retouched

"We may add that a scribe of the eighth or ninth century has retouched with fresh ink many pages of the Sinaitic MS. ; and this had already been done to a considerable extent by a still earlier scribe (Tischcndorf, N. T. cx Sin. Cod. p. xxxviii. f.). "

The Authorship of the Fourth Gospel: And Other Critical Essays (1888)
On the Comparative Antiquity of the Sinaitic and Vatican Manuscripts of the Greek Bible
(1872, Journal of the American Oriental Society)
Ezra Abbot
This is an interesting add-on.
We will work on finding the passage in Tischendorf, and it can be added above.

Possibly here:

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