Tischendorf and the Discovery of the Codex Sinaiticus - Daniel Wallace

Steven Avery


Not a bad talk, from the limited perspective of the modern scholars, who know little. I placed some comments in the comment area, they were deleted, so I include them here.


Daniel Wallace - Tischendorf and the Discovery of the Codex Sinaiticus

An interesting tape. Some notes.

5:25 - "venerated by Christians since the 3rd century" hmmmm.. not likely. A better summary of the early history is here by Walter D. Ward.

Mirage of the Saracen: Christians and Nomads in the Sinai Peninsula in Late Antiquity

20:20 - Tischendorf section begins. Includes the bogus "mouldered by time" claim of Tischendorf.

25:15 - Wallace properly mentions that nothing of any of the Tischendorf claims claims have ever been corroborated by anyone.

25:45 - Wallace is skeptical of what happenned in the 1859 months in Cairo, when Tischendorf claimed to transcribe 100,000 lines of text (with two unamed German helpers)

26:20- "Something in this story just doesn't seem to add up"

- "all this sounded too good to be true" (read the Secret Mark forgery expose by Stephen Carlson where "too good to be true" is one mark to consider in evaluating forgery)

29:25-32:21 - Simonides section (weak) Tregelles and Bradshaw are used,

- anachronistic fallacy - "365 animal skins. According to one estimate, the cost of production would be roughly equivalent of a lifetime of work". This is a fallacy because the estimate was dependent on the 4th century economy, not would would be available to a monk on Mt. Athos in the 19th century

31:49 - the vague 1761 Vitaliano Donati reference of a ms. is wrongly said to "match Sinaiticus to a T"

- New Finds - Wallace does not understand the connection between New Finds materials and ms. efforts of Tischendorf and Uspensky. e.g. Hermas was a special delicate point of Tischendorf and the ending was found in the New Finds. Lots about New Finds

41:35 - Reassessment of the Codex Sinaiticus

46:15 - Accepts Tischendorf fabrication about how he found the ms. in 1859 (monk in cell, the red cloth fabric-ation) even though at:

48:15 - Wallace considers that a Tischendorf story about saving from burning might just be a fabrication

- "Tischendorf .. his modern Greek was abysmal.. I know the feeling .. no one understood me"

In a longer ending section, Wallace theorizes that the document at Sinai about the 1859 loan may be a forgery. And discusses an evaluation of the signature in a hand-writing comparison. (Tischendorf messed up the 1853 Greek note.) His conclusion seems for authenticity of the document, in an equivocal manner.


For research on Sinaiticus authenticity, the elephant in the Sinaiticus living room:

Codex Sinaiticus authenticity Research

Sinaiticus - authentic antiquity or modern


Steven Avery

Daniel Wallace on Tischendorf fabrications - New Finds c. 1850

In 2005, Daniel Wallace made a couple of important notes that we can consider today in light of what we have learned these last years.

[textualcriticism] Tischendorf's promise to Sinai
Daniel Wallace - April 14, 2005

Actually, Tischendorf did apparently promise to return the codex to the monastery whenever they asked for it. This is on a note he left with the monastery, still there today. When I was at St. Catherine's in 2002, I got a photograph of the note. When I got the photograph, I asked if the monastery had any other notes from Tischendorf in Greek. The librarian, Father Symeon, thought for a moment. Then, he said, "Yes! He signed his Greek New Testament when he came back on his second visit." I was allowed to photograph Tischendorf's note in the Greek New Testament. Clearly the same hand, showing that the memo was not a forgery. As far as I know, no one else has photographed this note....

.....Since Tischendorf has always been a hero of mine, to delve into this matter with open eyes has not been easy. But the hard facts may be quite different from what he reported. Besides the handwritten note (which, by the way, was mentioned in an article in 1950, if I recall), there is the substantial evidence of the New Finds. 26 leaves from Sinaiticus were found in 1975. The question that seems not to be asked is, Why would the monks preserve these leaves in the mid-1800s (when the geniza where they were found apparently was utilized) and destroy the rest of the manuscript? ....The evidence of the New Finds has opened up the question of Tischendorf's integrity as well as St. Catherine's care of manuscripts.
Thus, at least in a forum email, Daniel Wallace joins the smaller contingent of writers who are willing to at least imply that Tischendorf was simply lying about how the find occurred.

Wallace also recognizes that the New Finds was an active zone in the mid 1800s. And that the actual historical possibilties with the New Finds and Tischendorf is normally not considered.

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