( Zosima --> Sinaiticus ) project information

Steven Avery


There is a project I want to mention that involves a Greek manuscript and a book edition of the Bible.

We are looking for at least one person skilled in reading Greek from two sources, and then comparing the sources textually to help determine if there is a source-target relationship. If you read Greek easily, and have a smidgen of textual understanding, you can learn by doing.

We also have simpler Greek project elements, such as simply comparing letters between Zosima and Sinaiticus to see if the particular book (or chapter) is a likely spot where Zosima was used as a Sinaiticus source.

There is a special element of probability analysis involved in evaluating what is found, if you appreciate that fine art, excellent, however statistical estimations are an auxiliary part of the project.

One text is the good old Codex Sinaiticus, often given a very curious date of the 4th century, sometimes 6th or 7th. Yet with powerful evidence that the manuscript was produced in the 1800s.

The other text is the Zosima Moscow Greek Bible, produced in 1821 as an offshoot of the John Ernest Grabe (1666-1711) line of Codex Alexandrinus editions.

Constantine Simonides repeatedly asserted in the 1860s that this Zosima Bible was one of the sources used for the production of "Codex Simoneidos". As far as we know, not one person checked out the claim. There was a little curt dismissal because the New Testament of Zosimas is a Received Text edition. Fair enough, however what about the OT and Apocrypha? Might not Zosimas have been a source in some of those books?

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.

"One word more, 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.
I remain, Sir, your obedient servant,
Frederick Field.
Reepham Rectory, Dec. 23, 1862.”

"I for my part carefully considered the questions connected with the best possible performance of the penmanship. And the learned Benedict taking in his hands a copy of the Moscow edition of the Old and New Testament (published at the expense of the illustrious brothers Zosimas, and by them presented to the Greeks), collated it, with my assistance, with three only of the ancient copies, which he had long before annotated and corrected for another purpose and cleared their text by this collation from remarkable clerical errors, and again collated them with the edition of the Codex Alexandrinus, printed with uncial letters, and still further with another very old Syriac Codex; and gave me, in the first instance, Genesis to copy." - James Keith Elliott, 1982 p. 56

There are a number of elements that can show textual relationship between source-target, such as:


matching sections where the texts are far closer than expected

shared scribal errors where Zosima was copied into Sinaitcius

sectioning, caps, formatting - anything special in Zosima brought into Sinaiticus

Especially since in normal textual theory these are highly distinct texts, in terms of time and locale and the conjectured provenance of Sinaiticus. In some cases we will confirm the unusualness, e.g. by checking with Codex Vaticanus. It can also be interesting to check Codex Alexandrinus, since Zosima is Alexandrinus through a circuitous route.

Anyone working on this project should put aside personal preferences as to Sinaiticus history, and simply look at it as a fascinating academic research project.

Clearly, there is a possibility of a ground-breaking paper resulting from these studies.

Anyone interested can simply contact me here, publicly or privately.

We plan to use DriveHQ for file sharing, this forum for notes, Skype for conferencing and other tools.


Steven Avery

purebible@gmail.com or sinaiticus.net@gmail.com
(347) 218-3306 cell, voice
(520) 442-3322 Talkatone, great for text
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/steven.avery.7568/
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