Stanley E. Porter summarizes James Keith Elliott to have 10 authenticity reasons

Steven Avery

Neither James Keith Elliott's Codex Simonides and the Simonides Affair (1982) nor Stanley E. Porter's Constantine Tischendorf: The Life and Work of a 19th Century Bible Hunter (2014) really show understanding of the basic evidences for Sinaiticus being an 1800s creation. Fair enough, that can use its own summary exposition, both books have their own unique problems.

However, after giving the normal impossible reasons for the assertion of Simonides involvement -- Porter does help us out with a conclusion that gives 10 reasons for accepting the Tischendorf story and authenticity of the ms.

Nevertheless, when the facts were all presented, Simonides was readily dismissed. On the one hand, there was the evidence of the manuscript itself, which a number of credible textual scholars besides Tischendorf endorsed as being early, such as Samuel Tregelles.

Tregelles had a brief hands-on time with the ms., apparently only the Russian portion, when he was in Leipzig in 1862, carefully given under the guidance of Tischendorf. (Tregelles ended up doing some collation of the Catholic Epistles and was involved in various controversies with Tischendorf.)

In fact, Tregelles was so unscientific (or so much a Tischendorf dupe), that he accepted the 4th century claim in 1860, without having seen either the yellow or white portions of the ms.

Tregelles and Sinaiticus

Meanwhile, note the short list of authorities who had seen the ms, and endorsed its antiquity and the Tischendorf 4th century age, given by Stanley E. Porter.

Samuel Prideaux Tregelles.

In fact, only a handful of scholars, or laymen, have seen both major sections of the ms., even today. However, since 2009, we have an ability to examine the ms. online.

On the other hand, there was the total implausibility of Simonides' story. The reaction against him included (according to J.K. Elliott) drawing attention to the fact that:

(1) he had waited so long to come forward;
(2) he had, according to the chronology he presented, copied the entire manuscript in one year;
(3) he would have been only 15 when he had done this;
(4) Simonides had not visited St Catherine's when he said he had;
(5) he claims to have seen the pages found in Codex Friderico-Augustanus at St Catherine's after Tischendorf had already taken them away;
(6) the manuscript had more mutilation than its recent vintage would warrant;
(7) the examplars Simonides would have needed to copy from have never been identified;
(8) the styles of writing and hands used in the manuscript would have been very difficult for one person to create;
(9) some of the textual markers such as the Ammonian sections were adopted but not others; and
(10) it is implausible that Simonides was not trying to deceive in creating the manuscript.

p. 49-50

An important list.
We will go down over each point, and explain some of the basic mistakes in this list

(1) A bogus argument for multiple reasons. e.g. Tischendorf fretted about the Simonides stories even before he supposedly discovered the bulk of the ms. His friends in England also supported the Simonides early notice of the bogus claim of the ms. coming forth as ancient from Tischendorf. This bogus claim was at the center of the opposition to the Simonides assertion of involvement, and was expressly disassembled by John Eliot Hodgkin in the times of the public debate. Also Simonides showed strong and clear knowledge of the monastery - Tischendorf - Sinaiticus activities in the 1840s and 1850s, a simple fact that is totally incompatible with the petty vindictive response theory.

(2) His chronology was more complex that that, overall there is no difficulty in the ms. being created in the time period where the bulk of the work was done.

(3) According to one age he gave. Another age was about five years older. (Evidence is that he may well have been even older.) Given that he was taught the replica and forgery arts while young, and had solid calligraphy skills, there is no difficulty here, especially once you reject the 15 years old history.

(4) is from the unreliable source that apparently was working with the Tiscendorf allies, and who falsely claimed that ancient catalogues supported the ms. provenance. Even if true, it would have been a minor embellishment by Simonides, since he clearly had solid monastery sources. However, there is no authority to the claim that he was not there in 1852, and he answered that well at the time.

The single biggest blunder is:
(5) Simonides only said that he saw the ms. in a disfigured state in a visit in 1852, that it had been subject to tampering. He said nothing at all about the specific 43 leaves that went to Germany in 1844.

(6) is circular to accepting Tischendorf fabrications. The mutilation was expressly discussed by Simonides and Kallinikos. Including the darkening of the bulk of the ms, that we can see today.

(7) is true. We do not know the full history of the source texts. This is not unusual in ms. compilations.

(8) is true, but Simonides did indicate that other hands did contribute. Since one scribe wrote 70% of the extant ms., if that one scribe was Simonides, he would have had the major contribution.

(9) is complex. Especially since the placement of some of the auxiliary materials is not the original major scribes. The argument as given by Porter is weak, since there would be no reason for impelling any particular section materials in a forgery or replica edition. There is a more interesting argument that relates to Vaticanus affinity.

(10) Possibly true, although unclear. At any rate, not an argument against Simonides involvement, just an accusation that he coloured the historical tale about why the ms was originally created.
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Steven Avery

Scrivener list of reasons for authenticity - Euthalian sections in Acts

Scrivener in 1864, never having seen the ms. gave his list of authenticity reasons contra the Simonides claims. One or two of them are especially worthy of note, most are weak and/or circular. We plan to go over the list on this post.

The one considered the most important is the

Euthalian sections in Acts

There is a similarity with that in Vaticanus that calls for possible explanations. (Not exactly the same, they become offset by one, also the Sinaiticus section ends in the middle, in the 15th chapter.)

One of the difficulties is that we know very little about the history of the Vaticanus sections, when they are first noted in writing, and how they are written about? Also whether they are subject to retracing (which is given various dates in Vaticanus science). All of this should be researched, in order to properly develop the theories of similarity in answer to the basic question. Vaticanus, it should be noted, has its own provenance and dating issues, however the ms. as a whole at least was likely recognized in 1481 in a Vatican catalog, and in correspondence by Erasmus with Sepulveda and Bombasius in the early 1500s. There were many collations of Vaticanus from the 1500s to the 1800s, before Tischendorf. Do they mention the Euthanlian Acts section? And, if so, in what level of detail? What is the palaeographic and historical evidence for their terminus ante quem? In earlier years, fine scholars like Michaelis questioned the assignment of ultra-early dates.

If these Euthalian sections were not known at all, that would point to the possibility that Tischendorf may have been directly or indirectly contributed to their placement on Sinaiticus.

This could have a couple of iterations.

1) Their could have been a level of involvement in the early days between Tischendorf and the ms developers, including Simonides.

2) However, Uspensky did not mention those sections in his writing on the ms, after seeing it in 1845 and 1850. Tischendorf had virtual control of the ms. especially until the facsimile of 1862, starting no later than 1859, plus various mangling and colouring and tampering in the 1850s. So there was plenty of means, motive and opportunity to enhance the ms in those years, as was done by darkening the 90% of the ms. that went to St. Petersburg and then to England.

Any features that are not in the handwriting of A, B or D (allowing the argument accuracy of the original writers) could easily have been added in the monastery or in the Tischendorf fiefdom of control of the ms up to 1862.

For some elements there may be a reason to assign the writing to the original authors, e.g. how they relate to the cancel-sheets. I'll plan on bringing that evidence over here. It could be a counterpoint to the Uspensky non-observance.


See Coislinianus 25
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Steven Avery

Stanley Porter Tischendorf "scholarship' on the anti-Avery forum

The Anti-Avery Pro-Sinaiticus Anti-Heavenly-Witnesses censored forum - BVDB

(Surprisingly, they have yet to take a pro-Yahweh position, perhaps they can sense that it is a devil entity.)
If there wasn't the silly vulgarity, I could recommend browsing the contra forum, called Bible Version Discussion Board.

Let's look at one recent Sinaiticus thread that is, at least the first two posts, readable. Then I can keep this thread open for discussion.


BVDB - Stanley Porter's Evidence Ignored

Brandpluckt makes the absurd claim that the ultra-weak attempts of Porter to defend Tischendorf have been "ignored". (This type of stupidity is what happens when you post on a censored forum.)

This is followed by the posting sickness of Bill Brown.

However, we have been well aware of Porter's book. Here it was discussed in Dec, 2015:


white parchment - A Tale of Two Manuscripts - (continues)
Scholars in 2015 still do not know the basics

"Even in 2015, the scholars are getting this all wrong. Many are far worse than the situation in 1900. Here is a recent example. Stanley E. Porter gives the story from Tischendorf of the basket, mouldered by time, committed to the flames. The 1860 Tischendorf saved from burning account of what happenned in 1844. And Porter writes:"


See also on the purebibleforum:

Stanley E. Porter summarizes James Keith Elliott to have 10 authenticity reasons

The search for any substance on their Sinaiticus posts can justify a bit of slumming.


Three Elliott threads now placed on BVDB
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