Tommy Wasserman - Sinaiticus gate-keeper - Twitter - notes

Steven Avery

Facebook - The Lying Pen of the Scribes
Roberta Mazza post

Steven Avery
When will the Lying Pen group actually make an effort to look at the provenance and authenticity issues that swirl around the Codex Sinaticius?

Granted, there is "deeply entrenched scholarship" but the 2009 Codex Sinaiticus Project, and other newly available information, shows us that the anomalies are glaring

Tommy Wasserman
Steven, there are no serious scholars who doubt the authenticity of Codex Sinaiticus. It does not help that a KJV-only group attempts to prove that Sinaiticus is a forgery or copy from the hand of Simonides. This is regarded as a curious conspiracy theory.

Steven Avery
Tommy Wasserman -There are no serious scholars that have related to the new evidence available since 2009. So the appeal to authority is totally irrelevant.

If I am wrong, name one that has commented on:

a) the 1844 white parchment in Leipzig vs. the 1859 stained yellow in the British Library

b) the 1843 Barnabas from Simonides now available

c) the Uspensky translation that shows the established Tlschendorf history to be totally false

There are more, but that is a start.

(1) is critical since it matches to a "T" what was stated in 1862, the ms. was coloured in the 1850s to give it an appearance of age. And we have an amazing BEFORE and AFTER visible today, since 2009.

(The 2011 publication was tampered to hide the colour disparity, the one from the British Library and Hendrickson.)

As for the genetic fallacy approach that you try to use, really I would think you could do better. It is funny when you get upset over who does the work that you should be researching.

Tommy Wasserman
I will not debate with you in this forum.

Steven Avery
Another venue would be fine.

And it could even be a cordial discussion, the issues are glaring and really need to be addressed.
However your efforts have been to quash any discussion at all, like at the Evangelical Textual Criticism blog.

Tommy Wasserman
I am one of few who have replied to your postings on the textual criticism discussion list, and other members have asked me why I bother. The issues are not glaring in my opinion.

Steven Avery
You never even tried to explain why the 1844 Leipzig is a pristine white parchment when the 1859 British Library is stained and yellow, exactly as described as having occurred during the 1850s, published in 1862.

You do not get more obvious and glaring evidence than that on any authenticity inquiry.. BEFORE and AFTER.


Beyond that the "phenomenally good condition' can be seen in the superb 2-minute BBC video:

The Beauty of Books

1650 years of heavy use? Aged parchment?
Take a look.

Quite glaring, my friend.
Please, take off your tin foil hat and actually interact with the evidences.


Pic of Wasserman Mazza post.jpg

Tommy Wasserman tin foil hat.jpg

Roberta Mazza apparently got intimidated by the gate-keeper into not allowing the last post. I sent her a note, I will report back if there is a reply.

The closed-eyes approach of the "scholars" is quite clear :). Unable to discuss the substance of Sinaiticus, where the actual evidence for non-authenticity is enormous, they look for various diversions, genetic fallacies, hand-waves.

In a sense, the evidences are too clear and powerful and easy to understand. This is uncomfortable for the "scholars". Anybody can see for themselves what happened to Sinaiticus by just looking at the Codex Sinaiticus Project photos. (And the helpful information at including the contiguous points, and the superb composite photo by David Daniels.)
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Steven Avery

Sinaiticus Gate-keeping 101

One major add to the points above that have not been addressed by the textual scholars, to be added to the ones above, that has radically changed in the period since 2009:

a) the 1844 white parchment in Leipzig vs. the 1859 stained yellow in the British Library
b) the 1843 Barnabas from Simonides now available
c) the Uspensky translation that shows the established Tlschendorf history to be totally false

is the discovery of the sense-line homoeoteleutons that work with Claromontanus as a source for Sinaiticus.

An extremely unusual phenomenon on extant mss, that you can see an exact match where a line that was omitted is the extant line in another extant ms. If the target ms. wasn't the supposed ultra-early Sinaiticus, this would lead to lots of fascinating discussion and theorizing and even amazement from the textual scholars. Since the target is Sinaiticus, it must be simply ignored. (Afawk, nobody had even theorized sense-line manuscripts earlier than Sinaiticus, much less ones that would match up so precisely again and again.)

Also on the Barnabas 1843 of Simonides, we would include the discovery of the Star of the East review of the publication, and the Preface and Intro to the Barnabas. And the research into the connection to Sinaiticus Barnabas.


As the main Sinaiticus gate-keeper, Tommy Wasserman would give an "answer" to posts on the textual criticism forum. He would do it in such a way that he says absolutely nothing about the substantive evidences. I'll post some examples below.


In general, his modus operandi is to pressure the forum administrators to quash discussion. As in the Evangelical Textual Criticism blog, which would be a natural discussion point, where he has the moderator status.

  • Tommy Wasserman 6/30/2017 1:55 pm
    I have deleted a comment by "Steven Avery" who claims that Sinaiticus is not an ancient manuscript. We will avoid the spread of such propaganda on this blog.
Tommy Wasserman tries to make sure that any post that could touch on Sinaiticus authenticity is deleted, or not allowed through moderation. Is this next one, he makes a nothing dismissal comment and skedaddles.

Youtube - Sinaiticus Coincidences? (a superb video)

Tommy Wasserman - 2017
"WARNING: pseudo-scholarship alert!"

Steven Avery
Warning, Tommy Wasserman has danced around, and avoided dealing with any of the salient issues, including:
1) the colouring of the manuscript,
2) the pheonmenal condition
3) the historical studies supporting Simonides involvement 4) the deceptions of Tischendorf and keeping the ms. away from view
5) the homoeoteleutons from Claromontanus
6) the linguistic analysis of James Donaldson
7) the 1843 Barnabas And much more. So which side of this issue is pseudo-scholarship? Easy enough to see.


the key textual criticism argument contra evidences of Sinaiticus being 1800s is the argument from fallacy



SBL - August, 2017

Steven Avery Great stuff from our scholars. "Too good to be true" is one major element that can help determine non-authenticity. And I wonder when one or three of our scholars will take a long, careful look at the mountain of evidence that is now swirling around Codex Sinaiticus. Time for the deeply entrenched scholarship logjam to break.

Tommy Wasserman Who are "our scholars" "Steven Avery"? Do you mean scholars in general? They have examined and written articles and monographs on Codex Sinaiticus since the 19th century.

Steven Avery Sure, Tommy Wasserman, dozens of papers have been written about elements of Sinaiticus, simply and incorrectly assuming authenticity.

However, from 1900 to recent days only two English writers made any type of significant attempt to address the authenticity issues. James Anson Farrer in Literary Forgeries in 1907 was one. He revealed to the English readers one major evidence corroborating the Simonides account and involvement, from the Lambrou catalogs of 1895 and 1900, and raised important thinking points.

And the James Keith Elliott book of 1982 was another, with major deficiencies (e.g. he did not even mention Farrer, which was a type of scholarship gross negligence. I wrote to him and asked about the omission and received no reply.)

Now, many of the major evidences that challenge the deeply entrenched scholarship all arose after the Codex Sinaiticus Project of 2009 made the manuscript available to study. Some of that study actually began collaboratively on a Facebook group.

This new evidence includes the clear evidence of colour tampering, matching to a "T" (for Tischendorf) the historical accusation of tampering made c. 1860. We can even see the Before and After from the Codex Sinaiticus Project. And the homoeoteleuton evidence that Claromontanus was used as an exemplar for Sinaiticus. Also the timeline research that makes the commonly accepted scenario virtually impossible and supports Simonides involvement. David W. Daniels has been studying this closely. Then we have the crafty and blatant lying of Tischendorf (one example, the saved from fire in 1844 canard that he put forth in 1859 for expediency). This worked to hide the lack of provenance. And Tischendorf would point people to his facsimiles rather than examining the actual manuscript. Holding the pristine white parchment portion in Leipzig and the awkwardly coloured part in St. Petersburg, with minimal access (the facsimile edition ignored physical anomalies and the obvious colour distinction, remember Leipzig leaves left Sinai at a much earlier date). Study of the facsimile rather than the manuscript section was a classic case of misdirection. We now have the acknowledgement of the "phenomenally good condition" (Helen Shenton) of the manuscript. And we have the translation of the Uspensky and Morozov observations, Nikolai Alexandrovich Morozov (1854-1946) having noted that the condition simply could not be that of a heavily-handled antiquity manuscript. Dirk Jongkind thanked us for making the Uspensky material available in English. This material makes the Tischendorf fabrication history 100% clear. And much more.

We also have the lack of any scientific testing of parchment and ink and materials. The planned 2015 study of the Leipzig pages, by the group in Berlin, Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung Und Prüfung under Dr. Ira Rabin, that worked on the DSS, having been quietly cancelled.

Plus we have additional helps arising from the fascinating Vienna 2014 conference on Simonides. (Although they were not really aware of the new Sinaiticus material, which was still in the beginning stages of research and study.)

So the fact that much of the scholarship train keeps rolling along in the gear of oblivious is really not very relevant. The authenticity issues cry out for examination. Especially now that we know so much more about the authenticity and forgery problems.

Who will step up to the plate?


Your thoughts, counterpoint and consideration welcome!

Steven Avery
Asheville, NC (writing in Casa Grande, AZ)


Steven Avery The above omits one of the most important areas of historical manuscript evidences, the Epistle of Barnabas and the Shepherd of Hermas.

In 1855, Simonides made public a Greek Hermas edition before the Sinaiticus manuscript Hermas was published. Even earlier, Simonides published an 1843 Barnabas Greek edition. The very two books that were non-canonical in Sinaiticus.

Rather amazing coincidences. Amazing coincidences and seemingly impossible insights (if you accept some iteration of the Tischendorf and authenticity positions) abound everywhere in the field of Sinaiticus.

Tischendorf actually accused the Hermas of Simonides of being too Latinized, then he retracted the accusation around the time of the publication of Sinaiticus, for fear of the boomerang effect.

The world-class Scottish scholar James Donaldson (1831-1915) analyzed both the Hermas and Barnabas books of Sinaiticus, and he wrote articles that showed that linguistically they could not be the antiquity claimed by Tischendorf (in essence, the Tisch original accusation was right.)

Even without knowing of the Barnabas edition, and without going into the Tischendorf accusation and retraction, and the Donaldson linguistics:

James Anson Farrer said about the Simonides Hermas edition:

"The coincidence seems almost more singular than can be accounted for by chance"

Literary Forgeries p. 60
Greek Forgery: Constantine Simonides


And what do Elliott and Wasserman and Snapp tell us about this history?

A thunderous silence, a harumph and a hand-wave.



Steven Avery So, while a number of individuals, and one team, have been researching, finding and studying these evidences, and making them more publicly available, the position taken by the more official forgery scholarship realms has so far been akin to that of government bureaucrats that say:

"nothing-burger, nothing to see, we don't need to even examine this evidence, fake news, kooks"

At times on Facebook or blogs they even delete posts (or block the posters) that even reference the evidence that indicates that Sinaitcus is non-authentic. (I am not talking about rant or off-topic or self-promotion posts, which on any topic can properly deserve moderator action.)

The possibility of Sinaiticus being non-authentic is discomfiting to the paradigms of our current deeply entrenched scholarship. Thus, the issue is supposed to be invisible, dismissed with a hand-wave. Or a very mild limited possible counter-evidence is emphasized. (e.g. The Mayer papyri controversy of Simonides in the 1860s, while interesting, is barely relevant to the 1839-1844 Simonides work and the Sinaiticus provenance history.)


My appreciation that the Lying Pen group has taken a more open position.


Whatever your position, studying Sinaiticus should help appreciate the many different competing elements that have to be compared in examination of authenticity issues. (It should be recognized that not all non-authentic manuscripts are forgeries, replicas can morph into supposed antiquity documents.) Here are some of the major components, and each one has sub-components.



Historical Analysis
veracity and consistency
timeline and chronology
means, motive and opportunity
too good to be true

Physical Condition
materials and ink
consistency with purported history

Textual Analysis

Linguistic Elements



Which elements are really the critical piece of the puzzle to show authenticity, or not, can vary greatly on each manuscript study.

This is why you can find people talking past each other, looking at only one evidence, rather than working together for the full picture.

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Steven Avery

Thomas Wasserman can not even accept a factual correction

Added Intro Oct 5, 2018
A Facebook posting glitch led to the subject line that was put here (and nowhere else) above. And all this led to the far more interesting discussions below on the thread.

Tommy’s words about Dindorf’s desire to buy the Uranios ms. for the Bodleian has general support in the German press (I will add more to that later). While the specific house anecdote is given by Stewart. Generally, Stewart’s details from Simonides should be taken as a very limited authority. Since the issue is a minor detail, and footnotes are not part of Marginalia, Wasserman’s account is decently supported.

So I will my sincere apologies to Tommy Wasserman for the heading here, which came forth due to the Facebook hassles (posts vanished) and thank him for digging up a few references.

Here I will put some of the newer info on this topic:

Facebook - Tommy Waserman

Extract from the Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, statement by Alexander Lykurgos (Leipzig, 5. Februar 1856).
"Der Herr Professor Dindorf sprach sogleich aus: ´Man kann nicht zweifeln, daß die Sache ächt sei. Aber man muß damit nicht an hiesige Buchhändler gehen, die von der Sache gar nichts verstehen und darum nicht viel geben würden" — in Rücksicht auf die geringe für die Druckabschrift des Hermas von T. O. Weigel bezahlte Summe. Er sagte: „Ich stehe mit vielen Akademien in Correspondenz und ich kann den Vermittler machen, damit die Sache an die Akademie von Oxford verkauft wird. Da bekommt Herr Simonides 200—300 Pfund.' Von da an kam Professor Dindorf jede Woche wiederholt zu uns, um den Uranios näher zu untersuchen. Im Anfang Oktober hat er sogar einige Stücke des Uranios mit Bemerkungen darüber nach Oxford zum Druck gesandt, wie sein eigenhändiger Brief an mich vom 24. Oktober mit den Worten bezeugt: 'Die Proben des Uranios mit meiner Vorrede unv andern Bemerkungen werden nächstens aus England eintreffen.' Als ich zugleich vernahm, daß Simonides die Vorlegung des Palimipsest des Hermas vorbereitete, so habe ich sogleich, obschon ich Klarheit in der Sache noch nicht haben konnte, Herrn Professor Dindorf und Herrn Professor Anger in Betreff des Uranios zur Vorsicht gemahnt. Etwa Mitte November erklärte Dindorf sich bereit, 1000 Thaler für den Uranios zu geben; Simonides willigte nicht ein, er verlangte 2000 Thaler. Professor Dindorf entgegnete: 'Es ist mir recht, wenn die Herren in Oxford so viel geben. Ans diese Weise kann dann Simonides eine Reise nach Alerandrien machen, um die übrigen Manuskripte hierher zu holen.' Ende November (den 28.) überbrachte mir Herr Professor Dindorf in der That einen Vertrag, der dahin lautete, daß innerhalb drei Monate Professor Dindorf das Recht habe, für 2000 Thaler das Palimpsest des Uranios zu übernehmen."

Extract from Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, statement by Wilhelm Dindorf (Leipzig, 9. Februar 1856):
"In Bezug auf den Kaufpreis von 5000 Thalern bemerkt Herr Lepsius beiläufig, daß für einen ächten Uranios nicht unwahrscheinlich in England ein weit höherer Preis zu erlangen gewesen sein würde. Dies giebt mir Veranlassung zu erwähnen, daß ich anfangs selbst dem Simonides einen Verkauf in England als vortheilhast bezeichnet hatte; von dem Gedanken jedoch, meine eigene Mitwirkung dabei eintreten zu lassen, kam ich später zurück, und habe weder in England noch anderswo, ausgenommen in Berlin, die Handschrift für irgend eine Summe Geldes angeboten."

There are some typos in the text (e.g., for ”vorteilhast” read ”vorteilhaft”). However, it is clear that Dindorf first suggested S to sell to Oxford.
These additional references may be quoted later, see below for the Stewart bio reference.

Die getäuschte Wissenschaft: Ein Genie betrügt Europa – Konstantinos Simonides
Konstantinos Simonides in Leipzig: Der Hirte des Hermas
Fredericke Berger (bibliography on p. 142)

Gentleman's Magazine (1856)
Breaking up of a Literary Workshop
Literary Forgeries

Now let’s see if Tommy Wasserman will respond on other issues, major points, noted here and on the Facebook discussion spot of Roberta Mazza.

One element is in response to Wasserman’s stating as fact the ultra-dubious ‘vendetta’ motive for Simonides. A mind-reading psychobabble approach that simply ignores the “Case Sinaiticus” evidences and history. Surely the ‘retribution’ idea, which has huge difficulties, can be given as a conjecture. To state it as a fact is unsupportable.

On “Case Sinaiticus”, there is an 11-point answer. Tommy only responded to one of the 11 points, and that was simply a rehash. He is very selective, and will simply refuse to discuss the main issues.


This is about the article here:

Simonides' New Testament Papyri: Their Production and Purported Provenance
July 6,2018
Tommy Wasserman on the most notorious New Testament forger

First post ..

Added October 5,2018- note the correction above

Facebook - Tommy Wasserman
Steven Avery
Thanks, Tommy. A few points need correction, but there seems to be one real factual faux pas.

"Uranius ... When Dindorf had inspected it, he came to Simonides in the company of Anger, full of excitement and offered to buy the manuscript for the Bodleian library."

Nahh. The Bodleian was not involved with Uranius. And while Dindorf in Germany had Oxford contacts, afaik he was never procuring their manuscripts. The Bodleian librarian was Henry Octavius Coxe.

In 1856, the Gentleman's Magazine in England reviewed the Uranius history.

Very interesting article, Tommy. Overall a good job.
2nd post

Thanks, Tommy. A few points need correction, but there seems to be one real factual faux pas.


"Uranius ... When Dindorf had inspected it, he came to Simonides in the company of Anger, full of excitement and offered to buy the manuscript for the Bodleian library."


Nahh. The Bodleian was not involved with Uranius/Uranios. And while Karl Wilhelm Dindorf (1802-1883) in Germany had Oxford contacts, afaik he was never procuring manuscripts for Oxford. The Bodleian librarian was Henry Octavius Coxe. (1811-1881), who later was lauded for his ability to peg some manuscripts from Simonides as not authentic.

In 1856, the Gentleman's Magazine in England reviewed the Uranius history:

Gentleman's Magazine (1856)
Literary Forgeries

Very interesting article, Tommy. Overall a good job.


And I tried to post this correction on Tommy's photo page, which is here:

It vanished quickly, I hope it was just a Facebook glitch, and not an integrity glitch of Tommy Wasserman avoiding scholarship correction. I'll repost it later.


Tommy and I discussed it privately.
He denied any deletion of posts, so let's allow it to be a Facebook glitch.

Ironically, it turned out that his source for the dubious claim was ... Simonides!
In the Charles Stewart 1859 biography, p. 17:

To proceed, however, a little while before the publication of the Hermas, Professor Dindorf being informed of another palimpsest manuscript, very important, and entitled “ Three Books of Records of the Egyptian Kings, by Uranius of Alexandria, son of Anaximenes,” and having seen it with his own eyes and handled it with his own hands, came to Simonides together with Anger, and was almost beside himself with joy and offered him a large price for it, adding that he would purchase it for the Bodleian library, of which he stated himself to be the representative. But Simonides paid no attention to what he said and gave him no answer at the time.
The irony is that normally Tommy Wasserman would consider this a totally unreliable source, for such personal details. He said that Marginalia does not allow references, but such an unusual reference could be put in the text.

We also discussed another reference that shows Bodleian interest, but did not really match his claim.

Simonides gathered up his scrolls—and quitted Oxford by an early train. Prof. Dindorf, we believe, wished the University of Oxford to buy the Palimpsest of Uranius, offering to edit the work in case they made the purchase. But Oxford declined the 'Pure Simonides' and now that other learned pundits are grieving over their losses and their credulity, the Oxonians have some little right to be proud of their scholarship and sagacity.”

Principia Typographica, the Block-books, Or Xylographic Delineations of Scripture History (1858)
And one reference is in the Oxford University Press.
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Steven Avery

Tommy Wasserman tries to score points with a selective post of our private chat

Tommy has a new post, on his Facebook wall, a bit cheezy at first.

Tommy Wasserman Facebook wall
Eventually I was able to respond:{"tn":"R"}

This is the response that he should (added: did) allow, we are in chat about the fact that the post was there for awhile, and vanished. So I put in a friend request, to make sure that is not the problem.

Steven Avery
Thanks, Tommy, the issue is interesting. (And yes, it is minor, and I complimented Tommy on the paper overall on the article n the post.)

The Athenaeum source did not really match the quote from Tommy, it was a couple of steps removed. However the 1859 Charles Stewart biography of Simonides quote was a good match, and appreciated. This is Tommy's article and the quote we discussed.


Simonides’ New Testament Papyri: Their Production and Purported Provenance - July 6, 2018 - Tommy Wasserman

"Before the publication of Hermas, Dindorf was informed by Simonides of another very important palimpsest manuscript entitled “Three Books of Records of the Egyptian Kings, by Uranius of Alexandria, son of Anaximenes.” When Dindorf had inspected it, he came to Simonides in the company of Anger, full of excitement and offered to buy the manuscript for the Bodleian library."


Normally, any quote in that Stewart biography is sourced from Simonides sharing with Stewart, and has to be considered quite loosey-goosey, since Simonides was giving his own spin on the Uranios back and forth.

For that reason, as the only real source for his quote, and stuck by the fact that Marginalia did not have footnotes, (which Tommy explained in our conversation) it would have been more helpful by far to put the source in the paper. Since it was the unusual and semi-reliable Simonides biography.

The glitch occurred because two posts I made on Facebook vanished quickly, and I wrongly considered that it may have been a deliberate removal by Tommy. As there is a history of the Brit scholars seeking to censor Sinaiticus authenticity conversations on spots like the Evangelical Textual Criticism forum and Facebook groups. While I was also mentioning a possible Facebook glitch, which appears to be what occurred.

My private notes to Tommy above were in the context of thinking the posts had been removed, and I would say he errs badly in putting them on a public forum post. Private conversations are meant to be private, especially if the further conversation hashes out the issues. Unless both conversants agree.

On Sinaiticus, I have had tons of interesting private email and chat that I only keep in private areas, resisting temptations to use them publicly. Although it does get complicated if solid new substantive analysis is in the chat (as has occurred in one instance discussing palaeographic theories involving the handwritings of Sinaiticus and early manuscripts.)


Overall, I appreciated the back-and-forth and the sharing from Tommy Wasserman on the issue.

And the fact that this post does not seem to have any retention problems.


Name note:

While my full name is Steven Avery Spencer, (there is a business entry on LinkedIn, the business involves precious metals bullion sales over the net) my nom de plume in Bible textual matters has been Steven Avery for about 10-15 years (after earlier monikers like Schmuel and Praxeas, in the days when pretty much everyone used pseudonyms.). Spencer is actually an Anglicization of a more Yiddish-style name by my dad (or maybe grandfather.) The original reason for using Steven Avery is not important today, but it did involve keeping anonymity for very sensible reasons.

And thus I would appreciate Steven Avery being utilized in Facebook discussions, rather than pretend that there is some sort of issue involved. Tommy could have easily asked me before posting what he did above. e.g Steven Avery is my name on the blog-forum posts at .

My research and personal friend David W. Daniels used Steven Avery in his Sinaiticus book (there are three Sinaiticus authenticity books out, the other two are marred by errors and should only be read with caution), with my nod of approval, after a little think about it. And I plan to continue to use Steven Avery in future Bible writings.



Steven Avery

Tischendorf rushes to Sinai concerned about the "stories told by Simonides" in 1859

Followed by the second one:

Steven Avery

Interesting questions come up when Tommy Wasserman gives his view of Simonides and Sinaiticus.
Here is one interesting element, from the Simonides papyri paper:

Tommy Wasserman

"By way of retribution, the next year in 1860 Simonides claimed ... that he himself had copied Codex Sinaiticus on Mount Athos in 1839 before it was deposited at St Catherine’s, where Tischendorf discovered it."
In fact, Tischendorf expresses concern about Simonides while en route to St. Catherine's in 1859, even before the red cloth "discovery" in 1859.

(Actually the full ms. had been discovered in 1844 when Tischendorf extracted five full quires and part of a sixth. And then the full manuscript, minus the 1844 theft that went to Leipzig, had been seen by Porfiry Uspensky in 1845. Please note that this 1859 letter also gives the sense that Tischendorf was preparing to get the whole ms. Thus the whole red cloth discovery was a sheer cloth fabrication.)


The Discovery of the Codex Sinaiticus as reported in the personal letters of Konstantin Tischendorf (2011)
Michael Featherstone

Alexandria, 17 January 1859
p. 281
The Prussian consul and Russian consul [from Cairo] are old acquaintances of Tischendorf. The Russian vice-consul in Alexandria tells Tischendorf that during the past year the Russian consulate has done much in favour of the Sinai monastery: Good preparation! All correspondence from the Synod in Petersburg goes through the Russian vice-consulate, and there is nothing to arouse suspicion. The goal of his journey is known at least here in Alexandria, but there is no connexion here with the monastery. He has heard again of the stories told by Simonides. He is in a hurry to go to Cairo and then further on to his goal.

In this context of rushing to Sinai, the most Occam-friendly understanding of the "stories told by Simonides" is the rumors and discussions of his involvement with the St. Catherine's manuscript.

Luciano Canfora writes (twice in Il papiro di Artemidoro p.236 and p.253) that Simonides had special contacts with Alexandros Lykourgos in 1855 about the Tischendorf ms. from Sinai that was in Leipzig (the Codex Friderico-Augustanus) Although so far I have not found the publication spot. This was before their falling out over Uranius.

Plus there would be a grapevine involving Uspensky, who had published on Sinaiticus in 1856 and 1857, where he was referring to his Sinai visits in 1845 and 1850. Simonides had visits to St. Petersburg and Odessa, and contacts in the Greek and Russian Orthodox circles, so this information would likely get to Simonides.

So the evidence is that Simonides was discussing the Sinai manuscript with his friends before the public announcements by Tischendorf later in 1859. And this information was getting back to Tischendorf, causing some alarm. (Simonides was reported to write about it to friends in England in 1860, reported by John Eliot Hodgkin, but this was earlier, and "stories".) Thus Tischendorf hurried to St. Catherine's, and was concerned about the "stories told by Simonides".

In fact, in the August 1859 biography Simonides alludes to the Sinaiticus ms. as well, in an interesting and unusual section, where he essentially used the Sinaiticus information, a little skewed, to support the antiquity of his manuscripts! Since the ms. [Sinaiticus] was in such excellent condition, he asserted, his manuscripts could similarly look pretty new, but actually be very old (is the implication!) We can consider this the first case of Sinaiticus skewing palaeographic and manuscript science. :)

M. Tissendorf also lately discovered in a certain monastery in Egypt the Old Testament and part of the New, as well as the 1st Book of Hermas, all of which were written in the 2nd Century, or 1750 years ago. This MS. is represented to be in excellent condition. From this we may conclude that parchment manuscripts may be preserved for almost an unlimited period, for those that are kept in the Museums, even though they exceed 1000 years, have not lost a single letter.

Charles Stewart biography p. 61

Oh, Tommy Wasserman in his paper did give a link to our study page, in an integrity manner.

Sinaiticus Sinaiticus Authenticy Research

"There are still groups and individuals today who hold the conspiracy theory that Codex Sinaiticus is not a fourth-century manuscript (which is the scholarly consensus), but was copied entirely or in part by Simonides in the 19th century."


His next sentence attributing this research to a KJB belief and position is wrong, however. e.g. I had written on the TC-Alternate forum in favor of Sinaiticus authenticity, before we began to discover the new evidences. It would be good to avoid genetic fallacy attempts in our discussions.


You might wonder if the original letters of Tischendorf tell more. Possibly. It has been difficult to determine to what extent they have been published and whether some letters were never typewritten for publication, or simply put aside as not suitable for publication. The little bits we have from 1844 and 1859 have been especially helpful in historical analysis. And the 1844 tidbit is rather unfavorable to the vulgate story of Tischendorf discovery. It seems to have been a plan at one time to put out a publication of the Tischendorf letters, at least the ones that had been copied by typewriter, a plan that has not been implemented. More on this as we receive new information.

And, we must acknowledge the remote possibility that, with the tiny bit of information we have in this Jan 1859 letter, somehow at that very time Tischendorf was concerned about something else he heard about Simonides. Maybe Simonides was telling a story unfavorable to Tischendorf about the old days in Germany involving Uranios. However, there is nothing known in the English press in these years, or in the bio of Simonides, or any other part of the history, that supplies rumor fodder that would fit this specific situation. Remember, Tischendorf was rushing to St. Catherines. While Simonides talking about the manuscript in Sinai (and/or the connected pages in Leipzig) fits the situation perfectly.


Here is the response when I attempted to present this post on Tommy Wasserman's Facebook wall, on a thread he began about our discussion of his Simonides papyrus article. This was the same post you read here, in the box which I have since tweaked a bit, especially by changing the title.
Wasserman no debate.jpg

And I cordially invited Tommy to simply read the post here, and offer any contribution and counterpoint. (Publicly or privately.) That offer still stands. Note that this was not offered as a correction to his article, but as a spur to more complete research.

One interesting possibility would be that Simonides was already planning his retribution even as early as 1858. Yet, how would he know much about Sinaiticus?
Last edited:

Steven Avery

Tommy Wasserman does not know about the 1843 Barnabas edition of Simonides, published in Smyrna?

Here was an interesting conversation, starting with some humor from Dirk Jongkind.

Tommy Wasserman{"tn":"R"}

Dirk Jongkind Did he use the CBGM for his Barnabas?

Tommy Wasserman Hermas

Dirk Jongkind That one too?
So apparently Tommy Wasserman is not even aware of the 1843 Barnabas of Simonides, with the Star of the East, the "coincidence" which goes with his Hermas edition amazing coincidence. I made a short comment on the thread, but it vanished, I think I will try again, pointing to the thread on BCHF.

Steven Avery

1843 Sinaiticus Barnabas from Smyrna and the 'retribution' theory of the Simonides account

The goal would be to help Tommy and the others to know of the material.

Steven Avery
There is helpful information about the 1843 edition of Barnabas by Simonides (along with the Star of the East article):

Bible Criticism and History Forum
Star of the East - published in Smyrna in 1840s

The url goes to p. 3, going into the rediscovery of this material.
Some places where a fairly complete post is included, the readers can be informed and discussions are possible:

Bible Criticism and History Forum
Tischendorf rushes to Sinai concerned about the "stories told by Simonides" in 1859

Eureka! Medieval Manuscripts of the Web

The Received Text

Elijah Hixson - The Marganallia article{tn:R}
Sample post:

Simonides’ New Testament Papyri: Their Production and Purported Provenance
Tommy Wasserman - July 2018
Overall, this is a very fine article in a popular publication by Tommy Wasserman. The main topic is the Mayer papyri and Constantine Simonides. There are papyri today in Liverpool, which he examined. Interest in Simonides has skyrocketed after the:
2014 Vienna Conference and the 2017 book

Artemidorus Papyrus research of Luciano Canfora (with some emphasis on the portraits of Simonides)

2009 Codex Sinaiticus Project leading to the reopening of the Sinaiticus Case

Archaic Mark, 2427, purge from the apparatus, created c. 1860

The spot in the Tommy Wasserman paper that needs closer examination is the intersection of Simonides and Sinaiticus and Tischendorf. Here is what is shared.


Tommy Wasserman:

"By way of retribution, the next year in 1860 Simonides claimed ... that he himself had copied Codex Sinaiticus on Mount Athos in 1839 before it was deposited at St Catherine’s, where Tischendorf discovered it."

Please notice that Wasserman simply assumes that the well supported Simonides claim, with many complexities and coincidences and surprising verifications, was only a type of petty vendetta cheap shot. This is hyper-conjectural motive speculation that has no real evidential support. In addition, it holds up very poorly to examination.

Wasserman also simplifies and underplays the claims of Simonides. He explained "Sinaiticus" as a project of many years guided at the Pantelemon (Russico) monastery on Mt. Athos by his uncle Benedict (Bessarion). And he specfically noted that the project utilized the Zosimas Greek Bible of 1821 as one of the original sources (which would be in the OT and maybe the Apocrypha.).

The paragraph also bypasses the editions of the 1843 Barnabas and 1850s editions of the Shepherd of Hermas that Simonides had published, all before 1859. These "coincidences", the same basic text that was "discovered" in Simonides, obviously could not have had any vendetta motive, since they were published before there was acrimony between Tischendorf and Simonides.

And the vendetta paragraph also bypasses the huge difficulties in the traditional Tischendorf-inspired narrative, which involve some of the greates Bible text myths of our times, such as saving Sinaiticus leaves from fire, arriving just the day they were being burned, after the supposed 1500 years of transmission and protection.

And also ignored are the incredible manuscript anomalies that support the 1840 origin of Sinaiticus, and can be said to negate the 4th century, or any antiquity, theory.


Staying close to the time of the vendetta theory, some of the 1859-1860 information that was not covered by Tommy Wasserman can be read here:

Tischendorf rushes to Sinai concerned about the "stories told by Simonides" in 1859


Your feedback and counterpoint is most welcome!



Easy read version:

Simonides’ New Testament Papyri:
Their Production and Purported Provenance
Tommy Wasserman - July 2018

Overall, this is a very fine article by Tommy Wasserman on the Mayer papyri and Constantine Simonides. There are papyri today in Liverpool, which he examined.

As a research FYI, "Il papiro di Artemidoro" (Laterza, Roma-Bari 2008) has a paper by Livia Capponi and a papyri list by Vanna Maraglino.


The spot in the Tommy Wasserman paper that needs closer examination is the intersection of Simonides and Sinaiticus and Tischendorf. Especially the 'vendetta' motive claim.


Tommy Wasserman:

"By way of retribution, the next year in 1860 Simonides claimed ... that he himself had copied Codex Sinaiticus on Mount Athos in 1839 before it was deposited at St Catherine’s, where Tischendorf discovered it."

This assumes that the complex and well supported Simonides claim was only a type of quasi-random petty vendetta. This motive speculation has no real evidential support and holds up very poorly to examination.

And the quote also underplays and oversimplifies the claims of Simonides, as he explained "Sinaiticus" as a project of many years, guided at the Pantelemon (Russico) monastery on Mt. Athos by his uncle Benedict (Bessarion). And that project utilized the Zosimas Greek Bible of 1821 as one of the original sources (OT and Apocrypha). Interestingly, Simonides was a friend of Nicholas Zosimas, who passed in 1841.

And the Tommy Wasserman quote also bypasses the editions of the 1843 Epistle of Barnabas and 1850s Shepherd of Hermas that Simonides had published before 1859. These "coincidences" clearly could not have had any vendetta motive.

Nor could the confirmation by Spyridon Lamprou that Benedict, Simonides and Kallinikos had worked with mss. at the Mt. Athos library in precisely the right time (c. 1839) as published in the Mt. Athos catalogues of 1895 and 1900.

We have coincidences which, by historical forensics, would have been very difficult for Simonides to anticipate for a future vendetta!

And the Tommy Wasserman quote also bypasses the huge difficulties in the traditional Tischendorf-inspired narrative.

And also the manuscript anomalies that support the 1840 origin.


Some of the 1859-1860 information that was not covered by Tommy Wasserman can be read here:

Tischendorf rushes to Sinai concerned about the "stories told by Simonides" in 1859

I have especially asked for Tommy's conjectural explanation of what were Tischendorf's concerns about the:

"stories told by Simonides"

that were put in the context of his rushing to Sinai in Jan. 1859, clearly anticipating the final "discovery". Perhaps Simonides was preparing his retribution even before he knew, as it is supposed, any details of Sinaiticus?


Your feedback and counterpoint is most welcome!

Steven Avery
Dutchess County, NY
SART team
Add two pics

Steven Avery

Case Sinaiticus

An interesting discussion about Case Sinaiticus:{"tn":"R2"}

Steven Avery
"... the 2014 Vienna Conference, the 2017 book, the Artemidorus research of Luciano Canfora and the reopening of the Case Sinaiticus with new evidences has really heightened interest in Sinaiticus, add 2427 as well and his portraits."

Tommy Wasserman
Exactly what "reopening of the Case Sinaiticus" are you talking about?

The Sinaiticus authenticity situation changed after the 2009 Codex Sinaiticus Project, and then with studies c. 2013-2015 many new evidences have come forward that have reopened the issue of the authenticity of the ms. And are still being examined.

1) the Porfiry Uspensky text in his 1856-57 books, including the 1845 visit to Sinai, was brought to English, and largely falsifies the Tischendorf discovery narrative

2) extracts of the Tischendorf family letters have similarly falsified the vulgate Tischendorf narrative

3) discovery of the Simonides 1843 Barnabas published in Smyrna and the Star of the East journal adding to the Shepherd of Hermas as an amazing "coincidences" of Simonides production before the "discovery". And call for a linguistic and textual analysis. James Donaldson in the 1860s and 1870s opened up the question of linguistic issues.

4) research has begun on the 1821 Moscow Zosimas Bible, to examine its use in creating Sinaiticus OT and Apocrypha, This usage was specifically noted by Simonides, who was a friend with Nicholas Zosimas.

5) a number of homoeoteleutons in Sinaiticus fit perfectly with Codex Claromontanus as a source, needing sensible time-explanations for the sense-line mss that were its source.

6) the "phenomenally good condition" (Helen Shenton, BL) of parchment and ink, inexplicable considering the proposed history, can now be seen on a 2011 BBC video with wonderful easy-peasy page turning. And can also be seen in the 2009 Codex Sinaiticus Project

7) the amazing colour and stain and streaking disparity between 1844 Leipzig pages and the1859 British Library pages can now be seen via the CSP - a BEFORE and AFTER evidence of tampering to give the appearance of age. The Simonides-Kallinikos account referenced lemon-juice and herbs as the tools of choice in the 1850s

8) historical forensics (e.g. "how could he know that then?") applies to many issues, including the colouring tampering, which was specifically pointed out (1862-1864) as having occurred in Sinai, matching the 1844-1859 disparity

9) multiple collaborative confirmations of Kallinikos Hieromonachos, a key figure in the 1860s Journal debates.

10) many palaeographic puzzles and analysis has shown that much of the date setting of Sinaiticus are essentially circular quasi-random plug-ins by Tischendorf, with no scholarly support or insight

11) the earlier 1982 scholarship of James Keith Elliott, which is the resting spot for many analysts, has been noted to have huge holes even for its era. Not even mentioning the James Anson Ferrar article of 1907, and its salient reference to the Spyridon Lamprou Mt. Athos catalogs of 1895 and 1900. (Elliott says he simply did not know the information.)


And there is much more.
For many, this is clearly material for "Case Sinaiticus Open".

Some of our textual scholars, however, are a smidgen resistant. As one learned scholar pointed out in an email, there is "deeply entrenched scholarship" that could make such an examination,quite difficult.


Steven Avery

Dutchess County, NY, USA

Steven Avery

Tommy Wasserman sense something fish in the Tischendorf story.


The context is Sinai thefts.

A paper by Georgi Parpulov

Tommy Wasserman

Jul 11, 2023
I wonder how many leaves Tischendorf actually ripped off and brought with him.

Dan Batovici
Precisely! The Leipzig leaves and all.

Funny that you have to read this between the lines.