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April 14, 2005

Corrupt Manuscript returns to Sinai

From the UPI via the Washington Times:

An international inquiry into the history of the oldest copy of the Bible could result in its return to a monastery in the Sinai Peninsula.

The 4th century Codex Sinaiticus was taken from St. Catherine's Monastery in the 19th century by a German scholar, Constantine Tischendorf, who took 43 pages of the book to Germany and gave 347 pages to Russia's czar. In 1933 Russia sold its 347 pages to the British, who put them in the British Library.

St. Catherines has long sought the return of the book, which it is believed to have owned since at least the 6th century. The monastery has long argued Tischendorf lied about his motives for wanting access to the manuscript.

What's not mention, which I find interesting since it is certainly pertinent to the story, is that Tischendorf found the manuscript in the trash, about to be burned. The manuscript was heavily edited, and its reliability is heavily disputed. The manuscript isn't the entire Bible but the New Testament and the Septuagint, which is a Greek version of the New Testament, as well as some non-biblical writings. Of written more about it here.

The uselessness of such a corrupt manuscript aside, it seems rather petty of the monastery to demand the return of a document they were about to burn. But then given its worthlessness as anything other than a monument to the selective gullibility of Liberal Theologians, why not give it back to them. They can mount it under a plaque labeling it “Tischendorf's Folly”

Posted by Danny Carlton at April 14, 2005 11:17 AM

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