Codex Sinaiticus

The Codex Sinaiticus appeared out of obscurity around the middle of the 19th century when Tischendorf discovered it in Saint Catherine’s Monastery at Sinai in Egypt. It is commonly believed to have been created in the 4th century.

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1761 – Vitaliano Donati visits St. Catherine’s Monastery and records his experience in a journal that gets published in 1879. In this journal he possibly references the Codex Sinaiticus, but this idea is not certain.

1844 – This is the year in which Tischendorf claims he saw parchment in a waste-bin that the monks had as “rubbish which was to be destroyed by burning it in the ovens of the monastery”. He also reports that the monks allow him to take a third of the pages.

1845 – Archimandrite Porphyrius Uspensky (1804–1885), at that time head of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem, visits the monastery and the codex was shown to him, together with leaves which Tischendorf had not seen.

1846 – Captain C. K. MacDonald visits Mount Sinai, sees the codex, and buys two codices (495 and 496) from the monastery.

1846 – Tischendorf publishes their contents as the ‘Codex Friderico-Augustanus’ (in honor of Frederick Augustus and to keep secret the source of the leaves).

1853 – Tischendorf returns for the rest of the leaves but is denied them.

1859 – Tischendorf returns again but his time under the patronage of Tsar Alexander II of Russia. This time he is shown the codex.

1863 – Silvester Davies quotes “a monk of Sinai who… stated that according to the librarian of the monastery the whole of Codex Sinaiticus had been in the library for many years and was marked in the ancient catalogues… Is it likely… that a manuscript known in the library catalogue would have been jettisoned in the rubbish basket?”

1911 – Kirsopp Lake publishes the complete New Testament of the codex.

1912 – Kirsopp Lake publishes the complete Old Testament of the codex.

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