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Bruce M. Metzger on Codex Sinaiticus

(Bart Ehrman’s Mentor)

Taken from :
Metzger, Bruce M. Manuscripts of the Greek Bible : an introduction to Greek palaeography. New York: Oxford University Press, 1981. Print.

Besides errors in spelling, here and there in the work of all three scribes one finds other faults, particularly accidental omissions. In the light of such carelessness in transcription, it is not surprising that a good many correctors (apparently as many as nine) have been at work on the manuscript, some contemporary (or identical) with the original scribes (~a), and others as late as the twelfth century. Tischendorf’s edition of the manuscript enumerates some 14,800 places where some alteration has been made to the text. By far the most extensive of the corrections are those made by a group of scholars in the seventh century...

The most important of these is M c.a, who carefully revised the entire manuscript (except the Epistle of Barnabas), bringing it into general conformity with the Byzantine texts familiar to him.

…..By the use of the ultra-violet lamp, Milne and Skeat discovered that the original reading in the manuscript was erased at a few places and another written in its place by the same scribe. In Matt. 6:28, for example, instead of ‘Consider the lilies of the field how they grow; they neither toil nor spin,’ the first hand of M seems to have read ‘ … how they neither card nor spin nor toil’

….The last verse of the Gospel according to John (21 :25) is another passage where the use of ultraviolet light has confirmed Tischendorf’s surmise as to the original reading. It is now known that the scribe for some reason finished the Gospel with ver. 24, adding the subscription …..and drawing, as usual, a coronis (tail-piece) in the left-hand margin between the text and the subscription. Later, however, the same scribe washed the vellum clean of the coronis and subscription and added the concluding verse, repeating the coronis and subscription in a correspondingly lower position.

….Sinaiticus has a considerably longer recension than that of Vaticanus and Alex:andrinus, but there is no general agreement as to which is superior. In the New Testament, particularly in the Gospels and ActS, Sinaiticus and Vaticanus very frequently agree against the overwhelming majority of later manuscripts. In the Book of Revelation, on the other hand, the character of the tellt of Sinaiticus is distinctly inferior to that of codex AIexandrinus of the following century.




  1. GomerOzDubar says:

    ALHAMDULILLAH! This corresponds to exactly the contemporary environment which ALLAH concerns the Prophet to testify how People of the Scriptures were “Altering and manipulating texts, writings and traditions”. As i mentioned in my Trinity in Quran summation… “The Quran offers the response and predictive warning to both ‘homiletic reciters’ and ‘people of the literature’ in what one can coin as an extensive practice of ‘poetical and scribal innovations.’

    Liked by 1 person

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