Thursday, December 1, 2022

Debate: Is Sinaiticus A Fake? Absolutely Not.

             Yesterday, I had the opportunity to debate Steven Avery on the subject of the genuineness of Codex Sinaiticus.  He alleged that it was produced in the 1800s; I maintained that it was produced in the 300s.  Our host was L. J. Thriepland, on the YouTube channel FollowInTruth LJ.  The debate lasted almost two hours.  (Those pressed for time may want to set the playback speed to x2.)

        Proverbs 27:2 says, "Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth."  So I welcome viewers/readers to watch the video, and ask themselves if there is any basis whatsoever for the claims about Sinaiticus that have been spread by Steven Avery, David Daniels, Chris Pinto, Bill Cooper, and David Sorenson.   I think that the evidence I have presented make it absolutely clear that the only motive for their support of Simonides' demonstrably false claims is linked to their KJV-Onlyism.

Constantine Simonides

     Simonides' claims are proven to be false by the same evidence, and more, that Constantine Tischendorf pointed out in a one-page note on page 478 of the 1863 Journal of Sacred Literature:  

       the NT text in Sinaiticus "differs essentially (principiell) in several thousand places from all the Moscow editions [the primary source Simonides said was used], and all the manuscripts which have been written for the past thousand years; occasionally it stands quite alone in its readings; sometimes it agrees only with the Vatican or the Cambridge manuscripts, and contains many readings which must appear gross heresies in a copy destined as a present to the orthodox emperor."  

       Sinaiticus "in the Old Testament, the text of Judith and Tobit "are of quite a different recension - a recension still preserved principally in old Latin and old Syriac documents."

       In addition to such proofs of Sinaiticus' antiquity, readers/viewers may consider the features of the manuscript that I pointed out in the debate:

       l Multiple scribes worked in the manuscript's production, shown by their different spelling, use of space-fillers, and replacement-pages.  This collides with Simonides' claim to have written the entire manuscript himself.

       l The manuscript was used for centuries, as shown by layers of correction and annotations (some in Arabic).

       l Reinforced lettering on multiple pages (in a manuscript that Simonides said was new in 1841).

       l Extensive damage to the manuscript in the books on the Pentateuch (in a manuscript that Simonides said was new in 1841).

       But I think the plainest evidence the Simonides lied habitually about the manuscript is his claim that after writing the Greek text of the Old and New Testaments, and the book of Barnabas, and the first part of Hermas, "the supply of parchment ran short."  He stated this in print in the 1863 For the 1975 New Finds included pages from Hermas from near the end of the book.  Simonides obviously did not know any more about the manuscript in 1863 than what he had read in Tischendorf's descriptions of it.

       People might ask, "Why would Simonides make such a claim?"  The answer is simple:  his motive was simple revenge; he hoped to besmirch Tischendorf because earlier, in 1856, Tischendorf had exposed his attempt to con German scholars into buying one of his forgeries.  

       It is no wonder that Tischendorf called Simonides' claims an "insane fancy."  He concluded his brief note in 1863 by saying, "Sound eyes and ordinary common sense are quite sufficient for the purpose of seeing the absurdity of the Simonides tale" - but, "mundus vulti decepi," and "volent[i] non fit injuria."

       (These two Latin phrase may be paraphrased as "The world wants to be fooled"  and "to a willing person, injury is not done" - a way of saying that those who listen to Simonides, knowing he was a seller of forgeries, have only themselves to blame for being deceived.  - A principle similar to, "You knew there was a risk of getting hit by a baseball when you went to the baseball game.")  

       Here are links to four earlier blog-posts in which I go into more detail on this subject:  One, Two, Three, Four.




1 comment:

Joel Metzger said...

Very interesting, thanks for your detailed analysis of this subject.