Tischendorf's x-ray vision, berating Tregelles, and the ending of the gospel of John 21:24-25

Steven Avery

A full collation of the Codex Sinaiticus with the received text of the New Testament (1864)
Frederick Henry A. Scrivener

... to be more slender than in the context The letter peculiarity is quite observable in Tischendorf's Facsimile (Tab. XIX.); but we cannot much rely on Facsimiles for a point so delicate. Tregelles, to whom the German critic showed the original passage, is convinced that the hand-writing is the same as that in the rest of the chapter, only that the scribe, when he had completed v. 24, dipped his pen afresh into the fluid, which afterwards flowed more freely.

Hermathena, Volume 8
On the External Evidence Alleged Against the Genuineness of St. John XXI. 25
John Gwynn


An Inquiry into the Ideas and Forces that Link The Thought of Our Time with our Religious Past (2010)
By Lynn Winters
SECTION III Chapter 3 - Discovery of the Fourth Century AD New Testament Bibles

... Tischendorf had such keen insight, he spotted, what has since been confirmed to be a later addition to the last verse of St John's Gospel (John 21:25). The verse reads, "There were many other things that Jesus did; and if all were written down, the world itself, I suppose, would not hold all the books that would have to be written." Tischendorf noticed that the lettering of this verse was slightly different than the rest, and that the color of the ink was slightly different there than anywhere else in the whole manuscript. Tregelles, a prominent religious scholar disagreed that this verse was an addition. He felt that it was more likely that a scribe had merely taken a fresh dip of ink. Tischendorf had a bitter feud with Tregelles over the issue, and later wrote to a friend that "it is simply impossible for me to be wrong on this matter." After his death, Tischendorf was vindicated when the codex was examined under ultraviolet light, and it was seen that there had been two additions at the end of John: The first had added the phrase, 'The Gospel according to John', but another person had erased this and written verse John 21:25 over it.

Last edited:

Steven Avery


I regret that I cannot whole-heartedly endorse "Scribes & Scripture" by John D. Meade and Peter Gurry.
Portions of the chapter "Copying the New Testament" sound more like Bruce Manning Metzger than a reasonable well-informed intelligent thinker would sound.
And Dr. Peter Gurry is INCORRECT regarding Mark 1:2 and Mark 16:9-20 and John 7:53-8:11.
He is, however, adept at counting. (And I appreciate being mentioned in the Foreword, although in future editions I would appreciate being identified as "James Edward Snapp Jr, pawn.")
From "Scribes & Scriptures" page 96: "there is no evident reason why it [Mark 16:9-20] should have been intentionally removed."
Evident *to whom,* brother Dr. Peter Gurry???
Think like a first-century scribe in Alexandria.
There is a perfectly obvious reason eliciting the removal of verses 9-20: the scribe was unsure if they were the words of Mark, or of Peter, and he (or she) desired to preserve the words of Peter (regarding Mark as a gifted amanuensis, but only an amanuensis).
(The scribe of Codex Sinaiticus exhibited the same sort of scribal tendency when he (initially) did not write John 21:25, as I explained and illustrated in 2017 at my blog --
Notice especially the portion of the post (produced initially in March of 2013) in which I wrote,
"Although Tischendorf insisted that there was something weird about the final verse of John in Codex Sinaiticus, this was doubted by subsequent researchers, since even in photographs nothing seemed amiss. When the scholars Milne and Skeat, studying the manuscript in the early 1930’s for the British Museum, applied ultraviolet light to the passage, however, Tischendorf was vindicated: the copyist at this point finished the text at the end of 21:24, and drew his coronis, and wrote the closing-title of the book – and then he erased the closing-title (gently scraping away the ink) and the coronis, and the closing title. Then he added verse 25 immediately following verse 24, and remade a new coronis and closing-title. All this is as plain as day, as long as one has an ultraviolet light handy to examine the manuscript.
A thoughtful copyist could decide to reject the final verse, regarding it as a note by someone other than John. And his supervisor could overrule his overly meticulous decision."
An OVERLY METICULOUS scribe in Egypt could persuade himself or herself that verses 9-20 should not be included.
But in Rome, where the autograph of the Gospel according to Mark was written, verses 9-20 were not in doubt in the first century. Mark told the truth.
Let us tell the whole truth also!