Codex Sinaiticus

by Earnest 2 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Earnest

    This is just a little bit of trivia for those who are interested. Yesterday I visited the British Library and revisited the area where they have the biblical manuscripts (and many others). They have both the codex Sinaiticus and Alexandrinus which for a long time were the oldest manuscripts available and are still the oldest (almost) complete mss of the bible. Anyway, in light of the recent Sinaiticus Project they had both volumes (Old & New Testament) on display and there were interesting observations on both.

    The New Testament was open at the end of the gospel of John and it had this commentary:

    When first written, the Gospel concluded without the final verse (John 21:25). However, even before the ink had dried on the concluding title, the scribe washed it out, wrote out the final verse and added a new title. Traces of the earlier text have been observed under strong ultra violet light.

    The Old Testament was open at psalms 9-13 and it had this to say:

    Unlike the prose books of the Old and New Testament, which are presented in four narrow columns on each page, these verse texts are written in two wide columns. This arrangement allows the scribe to articulate clearly the long lines of verse [in the poetical books of Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach and Job]. The exhibited opening shows Psalms 9-13. The text that appears in most modern Bibles as Psalms 9 and 10 is here conflated into one psalm. This early Greek tradition may reflect the original concept of the psalm as a single acrostic poem, each verse of which began with consecutive letters of the Hebrew alphabet.

  • wobble

    So, we have evidence that even these copies of copies were being altered, tampered with.

    As Terry has ably pointed out on here, we have no way of knowing what the original writer put down on vellum or parchment.

    It makes me laugh when Dubs and others vehemently contend that "The Bible" says thus and so, yes your translation of a copy of many previous copies may say something like your weird interpretation, but so what ?

  • Earnest

    Of course if you endorse plenary verbal inspiration, that every word of the Bible is inspired by God (and in some cases only those words in the KJV), it is based more on faith (or credulity if you wish) than on the evidence of transmission. On the other hand there is no other ancient document as well attested as what today we refer to as the new testament and a brief study of textual criticism will show there is no doubt about the substance of what was written. Even though there are differences in each manuscript and that remained so until the onset of printing, the differences that remain after the application of textual criticism are minimal and irrelevant to the meaning of the text.

    It is a bit like establishing the tree of life based on the genes common to certain species. So it is held that man and chimpanzees had a common ancestor so many thousands or millions of years ago. Even though we might not have fossil evidence of that common ancestor yet people believe it existed because of the genetic evidence. The same is true of textual evidence. You do not need to have the original in order to know it existed and what it consisted of. And this is quite regardless of whether it is inspired of God or not. The benefit we have that people did believe it was inspired is that there is now so much textual evidence on which to draw.

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