Zosima 1821 Moscow Bible used as an OT Sinaiticus source

Steven Avery

Also see the Private Research section (restricted access)
Zosimas Studies


With the help and study of Rohan Meyer, we tracked down Claromontanus (or its sister manuscript) as one source for Sinaiticus.

Now let us look for the Zosima (Zosimas) Moscow Bible:

Dionysius, the professed calligrapher of the monastery, was afraid to undertake the task, Simonides commenced it at the request of his uncle, who provided him with that edition of the Greek Bible which the brothers Zosimas, wealthy Russian merchants, had defrayed the cost of publishing at Moscow. This Moscow Bible, after having been collated with three ancient manuscripts and the printed edition of the Codex Alexandrinus, so as to be cleared from many errors (the old spelling however remaining unaltered), was given to Simonides to transcribe.

A Full Collation of the Codex Sinaiticus with the Received Text of the New Testament (1864)


Simonides ... His statement is that the Moscow Greek Bible, published at the cost of the brothers Zosimas, in 1821, and collated with three ancient manuscripts and the printed edition of Cod. Alex., was what he had to transcribe ... Certainly it could not be the Cod. Sin. that he wrote for his uncle. The Moscow Bible is simply a copy of the Textus Receptus.

The Sinaiticus Manuscript: Brief Account of Its Discovery and of Its Character
Bible Treasury: Volume 8 - (likely John Nelson Darby - Dec 1, 1870)

Darby, who uses Tischendorf and Scrivener as main sources, misses the point that the Moscow Bible would be used as a major source for the OT, but not necessarily the NT. The simple textual facts, and the discovery of the Claromontanus homoeoteleutons, shows that the NT likely received special, and different, attention.

Here is the main primary source, from Simonides:

Having then examined the principal copies of the Holy Scriptures preserved at Mount Athos, I began to practice the principles of calligraphy; and the learned Benedict, taking a copy of the Moscow edition of both Testaments (published and presented to the Greeks by the illustrious brothers Zosimas), collated it with the ancient ones, and by this means cleared it of many errors, after which he gave it into my hands to transcribe. - Simonides, published in the Guardian, Sept 3 1862, p. 211

Journal of Sacred Literature (1863)


This is mentioned a few more times in that JSL publication.

... Simonides speaks of
'a copy of the Moscow edition of both Testaments, published and presented to the Greeks by the illustrious brothers Zosimas.'
Upon which you asked —

'Is it impossible to ascertain so simple a point as whether the Moscow booksellers, Zosimas, sent a copy of the Moscow Bible to the Greeks for their use ?’

This is a misunderstanding of Simonides’ words. The brothers Zosimas were not booksellers, but wealthy Russian merchants, who, having obtained leave from the Holy Synod, at their own cost published an edition of the Greek Bible at Moscow, thus presenting it to the Greek Church. p. 221Frederick Field - December 23, 1862

Bible Treasury
John Nelson Darby

Enough has been said to expose the falseness of Dr. C. Simonides' claim to have written the Sinai MS. thirty years ago, and this not with a view to impose on any one, but simply as an honest present from his uncle Benedict to the late Emperor Nicholas! It is true that he was already notorious for his efforts to palm off certain MSS. as of the highest antiquity, which can scarcely be imputed to any other source than his own admirable skill in calligraphy. His statement is that the Moscow Greek Bible, published at the cost of the brothers Zosimas, in 1821, and collated with three ancient manuscripts and the printed edition of God. Alex., was what he had to transcribe; and that, his uncle being meanwhile dead, he gave the work, in 1841, to Constantius, that very Archbishop of Sinai whose death early in 1859 or before it caused a delay, when Tischendorf saw the MS. as a whole and sought to have it presented to the Emperor of Russia.
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Steven Avery

from Alexandrinus to Grabe to Zosima

Looking for the exact printed edition:

d) The edition worked out by the German J. Grabe, based mainly on the Origenis Hexapiorum and on A, published in Oxford (1703-1720). This LXX edition was the basis for the Moscow edition (1821), approved by the Holy Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate and published at the expense of the Greek Zosimas Brothers.

A reprint of the Moscow edition was the one approved by the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece and published in four volumes under the supervision of a special committee at the expense of the Society Promoting Christian Knowledge (1843-1850) "to be distributed gratis to the clergy of Greece.” p. 310

... the edition of the Codex Alexandrinus published by the Moscow branch of the Russian Bible Society in 1821 ... the editors of the 1821 Moscow edition, prepared under the supervision of Protopresbyter Yakov Dmitriyev of the Dormition Cathedral in the Kremlin, had based it upon Breitinger’s reprint of Grabe’s editio princeps of the Codex Alexandrinus, they had ignored Grabe’s critical marks with the result that some of his corrections of and additions to the text in the Codex Alexandrinus, which had been printed in smaller type, were included in the Moscow edition as if they had formed part of that codex’s text, while its actual readings are to be found in the four lists of variants printed at the end of the edition. Hence some of the allegedly Alexandrinus readings noted by Gorsky and Nevostruyev are not in fact found in that codex, as was pointed out by the celebrated Russian bibliographer Vukol Undol’sky (1815-1864). Despite this the appearance of this first part of their description of the Synodal collection has rightly been hailed as marking the beginning of Russian scholarship with regard to the Slavonic Bible. p. 618-619

61 ... for the 1821 Moscow edition see ibid. II, 2, no. 4801. In the lengthy title of this latter edition it is misleadingly claimed that the New Testament is a reprint of the edition published by the authority of Patriarch Cyril, viz. Cyril VI of Constantinople (1813-1818), at Constantinople in 1810. In fact it was taken from the diglot (Koine and Modern Greek) published by the British and Foreign Bible Society at Chelsea in 1810, for which see ibid. II, 2, no. 4787. The New Testament in that edition is in turn a reprint of the 7th and last Elzevir edition published at Amsterdam in 1678. for which see ibid. II, 2, no. 4712.

The Interpretation of the Bible: The International Symposium in Slovenia (1998)
Interpretacija Svetega Pisma
edited by Joze Krasovec
The Slavonic Translation of the Old Testament
Francis J. Thomson
Francis J. Thomson is in the linguistics department of the University of Antwerp.

For the Thomas Darlow Catalogue, that has the long name of the 1821 Bible, we can start with this catalogue source:

Historical catalogue of the printed editions of Holy Scripture in the library of the British and Foreign Bible Society compiled by T.H. Darlow and H.F. Moule.
4796 (correction to above)


BIBLE. Ta Biblia, toutestin e theia graphe tes Palaias te (The Holy Bible in the Greek language and character.) morocco.
kai Kaines Diathekes. Moscow, 1821. 4to,


Zosimas Moscow Bible.jpg

Where the earlier Grabe edition is:

Septuaginta interpretum tomus I. continens Octateuchum: tomus secundus, continens Veteris Testamenti libros historicos omnes, sive canonicos sive apocryphos ; tomus tertius, continens


... the text is based on Codex A. Any departures from that MS.—in the way of correction or addition—are distinguished by smaller type. All words for which the editor found no equivalent in the Massoretic Hebrew aro marked with an obelus; and snob as he believed to have been derived from a non-Septuagiut source, with an asterisk. Each volume contains full prolegomena.

'Septuaginta interpretum : tomus I. Continens Octateuchum; quem ex antiquissimo MS. codice Alexandrino accurate descriptum ... summa cura edidit Joannes Ernestus Grabe S.T.P'

Hē palaia diathēkē kata tous Hebdomēkonta = Vetus testamentum juxta Septuaginta interpretes. Greek, Ancient [to 1453]

Jacques Le Long - longer description:

Bibliotheca sacra post cl. cl. vv. Jacobi Le Long et C.F. Boerneri iteratas cvras ordine disposita, emendata, svppleta, continvata ab Andrea Gottlieb Masch ..., Volume 2 (1781)
Jacques Le Long

Grabe 1707 online, Vol 1

Septuaginta interpretum tomus I [-ultimus].: Continens Octateuchum [-Psalmorum, Jobi, ac tres Salomonis libros, cum Apocrypha ejusdem, nec non Siracidæ Sapientia]; quem ex antiquissimo MS. Codice Alexandrino accuratè descriptum, et ope aliorum exemplarium, ac priscorum scriptorum, præsertim vero hexaplaris editionis Origenianæ emendatum atque suppletum, additis sæpe asteriscorum & obelorum signis,
Joannes Ernestus Grabe

[[Hē palaia diathēkē kata tous Hebdomēkonta] = Vetus testamentum juxta Septuaginta interpretes.].
Vol 1-2-3-4

Title Page - Vol 1


Vetus Testamentum ex versione Septuaginta interpretum olim ad fidem codicis ms. alexandrini summo studio & incredibili diligentia expressum, emendatum ac suppletum a Joanne Ernesto Grabe ... nunc vero exemplaris vaticani aliorumque mss. codd. lectionibus var. nec non criticis dissertationibus illustratum, insigniterque locupletatum. Svmma cvra edidit Joannes Jacobus Breitingerus.

Vol 1-2-3-4

It would be interesting to see a page of the Zosimas and compare.

Background information:


Prepared for katapi by Paul Ingram, 2005.

An Introduction to the Old Testament in Greek. Additional Notes — Henry Barclay Swete


Here is a hint of a later date that has needed a placement on the forum. This has to refer to someone early, who knows the Greek Orthodox liturgy, like Porfiry Uspensky:

If, as has been stated by one very competent critic, the arrangement of Lessons for daily reading in the Greek Church in the present day is the same as that occurring in the Sinaitic Codex, this will bring the MS. down to the seventh century.

The British Quarterly Review (1863)
The Sinaitic Codex
Character of the Text - Age of the Manuscript

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Steven Avery

various features can show the source-->target connection ( Zosimas to Sinaiticus )

"the old spelling, however, remained unaltered" - JSR, p. 248

This would explain the old spelling of the Old Testament, especially if it is generally a match for the Zosimas edition, which should be a match for the Grabe editions. The Zosimas edition, which is still largely Alexandrinus-based, had corrections made by the editor in the notes, and Benedict is said to have done his own extra collation. However, there could easily be good remnants of text, spelling quirks, and general matches, and perhaps even homoeoteluetons as from Claromontanus, that show the 1821 edition as a primary source for the Sinaiticus text.

It would also be good to check to see if this edition, or the earlier Grabe-based editions, maintain a Greek letter style from Alexandrinus, and, if so, how close this is to Sinaiticus.

Note that we do have a criticism of the Sinaiticus itacisms, how could they source back to the Zosimas edition:

Cod. Sinaiticus is full of itacisms, as Simonides might easily have seen from the specimen pages previously given in Tischendorfs Notitia. He would have us believe, therefore, that Benedict deliberately and systematically altered the true spelling of the Moscow Bible into the blundering itacisms of the old MSS. However unlikely this may seem, no supposition short of it will suit the necessity of his case.

The Christian remembrancer (1864)
Constantine Simonides and his Biblical Studies

However, since Sinaiticus went through more hands, and some of it might have been dictation, these various itacisms could easily have arisen even if the printed Moscow Bible was a primary source.
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Steven Avery

BFBS copy

[lxx] Darlow & Moule's Historical Catalogue
Harold Scanlin - Jan 16, 2004 (condense for PBF)

Used copies of Darlow and Moule are usually in the $200+ range. Thats a lot of money for anyone but the specialist or research library. Are you aware of the fact that D&M is actually the printed catalogue of the British and Foreign Bible Society (holdings to about 1904), plus important editions that BFBS Library did not hold at the time? The BFBS Library is now housed in the Cambridge University Library. The special Bible Society's Library holdings can be searched at the University Library website. In fact, for many entries the entire D&M description is available online. I'm not sure if the online catalog is completely up to date, although BFBS was hoping to have this project completed in time for their Bicentennial Celebration this year.

The entry for Moscow 1821 is:


Bible. Greek. 1821.
Ta Biblia : toutestin, h¯e theia graph¯e t¯es Palaias te kai Kain¯es Diath¯ek¯es, kai h¯e men Palaia kata tous Hebdom¯ekonta, ek tou h¯os hoion te akrib¯os ekdothentos archaiou Alexandrinou cheirographou, h¯e de Kain¯e ek t¯es kat' epikyr¯osin tou t¯es K¯onstantinoupole¯os Patriarchou Kyrillou ekdose¯os etei a¯oi. genomen¯es.
Other Entries: Grabe, Joannes Ernestus, 1666-1711.

Russkoe bibleiskoe obshchestvo (Saint Petersburg, Russia)
En Moscha : En t¯o t¯es Hagi¯otat¯es Synodou Typographei¯o, 1821.
Description: [4],248,334,225,173,231,ii,xii,xxviii,xviii,xiv p ; 31cm.
'The text of the LXX. is printed from Grabe's edition [Oxonii, 1707-1720]; but no attention is paid to the critical marks in that work. The result is an eclectic text, which cannot correctly be called a faithful transcript of Codex A [i.e. the Alexandrinus]. The N.T. is stated in the title to be printed 'from the edition published under the sanction of Cyril the Patriarch of Constantinople in the year 1810,' i.e. apparently from the text given in the B.F.B.S. diglot (Ancient and Modern Greek) edition of 1810, which enjoyed Cyril's patronage; that text was a reprint of the Elzevir of 1678' (D. & M.). "Exetyp¯oth¯e di' eulogias t¯es Hagi¯otat¯es Dioikous¯es Synodou Pas¯on t¯on R¯ossi¯on, para t¯es kata t¯en Moschan Hierobibliak¯es Koinot¯etos" (i.e. published under the auspices of the Holy Synod by the Russian Bible Society in Moscow. Published mainly at the expense of a Greek merchant named Zosima, cf. D. & M.). In Greek type throughout (except for the signature series). 3rd copy has the errata and list of variant readings bound before the text.

Contents: p. [1]-248, Genesis - Ruth; p. [1]-334, 1 Kings - 4 Maccabees; p. [1]-225, Hosea - Daniel; p. [1]-173, Psalms - Ecclesiasticus; p. [1]-231, New Testament; p. i-ii, errata; remainder = list of variant readings in the O.T. - With an engraved vignette at the beginning of Genesis.
References: Darlow & Moule 4796
UL: Order in Anderson Room (Not borrowable) Classmark: BSS.130.E21
Location: UL: Order in Anderson Room (Not borrowable) Classmark: BSS.130.E21.2
Location: UL: Order in Rare Books Room (Not borrowable) Classmark: 1.30.8


The web address for the online catalog is http://www.lib.cam.ac.uk/

Harold P. Scanlin
address - voice 610-111-1111 fax emeil
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Steven Avery


LXX plus New Testament, Alexandrian, printed in Moscow, in 1821 - an 1810 (? maybe 1801) text under the oversight of Cyril (Kyrillos), the Patriarch of Constantinople.

Title Page:

The Bible, that is, the godly scripture of the Old and New Covenants,Even both the Old according to the Seventy, from on the one hand, one of the most recently published ancient Alexandrian handwriting, and on the other the New, according to the ratification of Kyrillos, Patriarch of Constantinople, published in 1810 (1801), Engraved For the benefit (blessing) of the holiness (sanctity)of the administration of the benefit of all Russians according to the Muscovite Community of the Holy Bible In Moscow,in the Holy Synod Press, Year 1821

Order of the Old Testament:

Genesis of the Universe
Exodus from Egypt
Joshua son of Nun

1 Kings (1 Samuel)
2 Kings (2 Samuel)
3 Kings (1 Kings)
4 Kings (2 Kings)
1 Chronicles of the Kings of Judah
2 Chronicles of the Kings of Judah Esther
1 Priest
2 Priest
Word of Nehemiah Son of Achalia
1 Maccabees
2 Maccabees
3 Maccabees word
4 Maccabees

Michaias (Micah)
Abdeiou (Obadiah)
Ambakoum (Habakkuk) Sofonias (Zephaniah)
Zacharias (Zechariah)
Malachias (Malachi)
Isaias (the) Prophet
Threnoi (Lamentations)
Epistle of Jeremiah

Paroimiai (Proverbs)
Asma asmaton (Song of Songs)
Wisdom of Solomon
Wisdom of Jesus son of Sirach -
the catalogue considers Sirach the end.

Iereus B (priest) == Ezra-Nehemiah, 2 Esdra; ?

FYI (not in 1821 book)
Ecumenical Patriarchs of Constantinople named Cyril (Kyrillos)

Cyril VI (1813-1818)
Cyril VII (1855-1860)

Steven Avery

Emanuel Tov writes about Alexandrinus and Sinaiticus:

The Septuagint
Section 2
The Septuagint in Codex Sinaitieus Compared with Other Sources
Emanuel Tov

The three main uncial manuscripts Codex Alexandrinus (A), Codex Vaticanus (B), and Codex Sinaiticus (x) are relatively similar in their content, enabling Rahlfs to combine them into one common text with relative ease.'7 ... three codices that do exist are in their contents and sequence. Codex Sinaiticus differs in various ways from the other sources. These differences probably do not reflect the views of the scribes of Sinaiticus, but those of the person(s) who commissioned it. ... the three-section division of Codices Alexandrinus, Sinaiticus, and other sources reflects that of Hebrew Scripture. The sequence of the majority Greek tradition is usually presented ...

However, what does the minority tradition of Codices Alexandrinus, Sinaiticus, and others represent? It could reflect either a late approximation to the Hebrew tradition or the original Greek arrangement, since Codex Sinaiticus is the oldest extant form of the complete Greek Scripture. Fraenkel raised a third possibility, that the sequence of Codex Vaticanus and the others reflects the original Greek sequence, while the books were rearranged in Alexandrinus and Sinaiticus in order to create two continuous layout systems.11 In Codex Sinaiticus, the prose books were written with four columns to the page, while the next block of poetically arranged books, from Psalms onwards, was written in two columns to the page.

(There is a lot in there about book order, if we have the book order of Zosimas it would be helpful.)

p. 25.
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Steven Avery

Henry Harvey Baber facsimile editions of Alexandrinus

The Facsimile editions of Alexandrinus done by Baber is another good source that may well have been used by Benedict.

First a Psalm edition of 1812
Full Bible editions from 1816-1828


Alexandrinus .. a superb facsimile in 4 volumes having been produced by Baber over the period 1816-28. This means that if St Panteleimon were to have a facsimile of a Great Uncial OT to consult (as per Simonides' story) there was a choice of one only ... Alexandrinus. - Kevin McGrane.
Henry Hervey Baber (1775–28 March 1869) was an English philologist.
1819 facsimile (1812-1828)
"In 1811 Baber issued a proposal for the publication of the whole of the Old Testament from the Codex Alexandrinus,"* in which he referred to the great risk of destruction to which all such manuscripts were liable, and the fact that Lucar had given it to Charles I to preserve it 'against the barbarous fury and jealous spirit of Mahometan superstition" - Bowman
J. H. Bowman
baber’s editions
For some years after the completion of the New Testament the types lay idle, so much so that they were lost sight of entirely. Eventually they were discovered by H. H. Baber, who joined the British Museum in 1807 and in 1812 became Keeper of Printed Books.23 - DNB
Nick Balmer
This proposal must have met with Lord Liverpool’s approval as in 1814 and 1815 Parliament granted £4,000 towards the printing of the Codex, which appeared between 1816 and 1828.

When the full Alexandrinus Codex was eventually published in 1828, it was written that:-

"This extremely beautiful facsimile reprint of what was once believed to be the most ancient manuscript of the Scriptures, is probably one of the finest specimens of modern typography in the National Library."

For :-

"in addition to the copies on paper , no less than ten were printed on the finest vellum, and were disposed of for the large sum of one hundred and eighty four guineas the set. Two of these magnificent copies, sumptuously bound in red morocco, are now in the library of the museum; one formed part of the collection of George III; the other came with the Grenville Library."

In 1821 an edition of his chief work, an edition of the Old Testament portion of the Codex Alexandrinus, ' Vetus Testamentum Graecum e Codice MS. Alexandrino . . . typis ad similitudinem ipsius codicis Scripturae fideliter descriptum cura et labore H.H. Baber,' in 3 volumes. was published in London, 1816-21, later versions appeared in 1828.

Worldcat - Paris and Manchester
more here
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Steven Avery

David W. Daniels
Who Faked the "World’s Oldest Bible"? (2021)

111) Four lists of variant readings from Codex Alexandrinus appeared at the end of the “Moscow Bible.” See The Interpretation of the Bible: The International Symposium in Slovenia, edited by Joze Krasovec (Sheffield, England: Sheffield Academic Press Ltd., 1998), pp. 618-619. (Also found under Interpretacija Svetega Pi'smu.)

(Thanks to Steven Avery for the reference. For more information, see


The Interpretation of the Bible: The International Symposium in Slovenia (1998)
Joze Krasovec
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