What about Sinaiticus? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
We’re returning to this one today. The second great codex to discuss is Sinaiticus. As always, the source material can be found here.
“The Sinaiticus is a manuscript that was found in 1844 in a trash pile in St. Catherine’s Monastery near Mt. Sinai, by a man named Mr. Tichendorf” [S5P61].
“Mr. Tischendorf.” No mention from Johnson that Tischendorf was a great scholar in his day. From this writing, you’d think someone just wandering through found it. Tischendorf was on a search for manuscripts.
“The date of its writing is placed at around 340 A.D. …” [S4P20].
“The Sinaiticus is extremely unreliable, proven by examining the manuscript itself. John Burgon spent years examining every available manuscript of the New Testament” [S5P61]. He writes about Sinaiticus:
“On many occasions 10, 20, 30, 40 words are dropped through very carelessness. Letters, words or even whole sentences are frequently written twice over, or begun and immediately cancelled; while … a clause is omitted because it happens to end in the same words as the clause proceeding, [this] occurs no less than 115 times in the New Testament” [S5P61].
Even if this is granted, it does not prove it is unreliable. This happens with many copies we have of various parts of the New Testament. This was in an age when copyists could be done by non-professionals as well and there were no erasers to erase mistakes.
“On nearly every page of the manuscript there are corrections and revisions done by TEN different people” [S5P61].
Dr. Scrivener agrees with John Burgon. Dr. Scrivener says (of Codex Sinaiticus):
“… it is clear that this document was corrected by ten different scribes at different periods”. He tells of “the occurrence of so many different styles of handwriting, apparently due to penmen removed from each other by centuries, which deform by their corrections every page of this venerable looking document” [S2P307-308].
Yet somehow the rest of the scholarly world still considers it valuable. Of course, Johnson never gives us their side of the case. Johnson is the less informed counterpart to Bart Ehrman sadly.
And Dr. M. Reynolds tells us:
“Tischendorf, the discoverer of the Sinaiticus manuscript noted at least 12,000 changes which had been made … by OTHERS than the original copyist” [S17P3].
It would be good to know where Tischendorf said on this himself, but under no circumstances will Johnson cite primary sources.
G.A. Riplinger cites some ‘advanced’ analysis of Sinaiticus:
“[With] more recent detailed scrutiny of the manuscript … by the use of [the] ultra-violet lamp, Milne and Skeat discovered that the original reading in the manuscript was erased … [in places]” [S3P552].
In Sinaiticus: “There are about 9,000 changes from … the Majority … Text, amounting to one difference in every verse. It omits some 4,000 words from the Gospels, adds 1,000, repositions 2,000 and alters another 1,000. It has approximately 1,500 readings that DO NOT APPEAR IN ANY OTHER MANUSCRIPT …” [S3P552-553].
I still have no reason to take Riplinger seriously in anything she says and it is a shame that Johnson does.
“Philip Mauro was a brilliant lawyer who was admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court in April 1892. He wrote a book called ‘Which Version’ in the early 1900’s” [S5P61]. He writes concerning Sinaiticus …
“From these facts, therefore, we deduce: … the impurity of the Codex Sinaiticus, in every part of it, was fully recognized by those who were best acquainted with it, and … it was finally cast aside as WORTHLESS for any practical purpose” [S5P61].
Except it wasn’t. It was used by scholars then. It is used by them now. All of this still assumes that there is a perfect manuscript also. Thus, any differences from the KJV manuscripts show the other manuscripts are in error.
We’ll continue next time.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)