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[textualcriticism] retracings of Codex Sinaiticus - corrected ending of John's gospel

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  • Steven Avery
    Hi, The Codex Sinaiticus Project site has some interesting information about the retracing of Codex Sinaiticus. ================================= 1.4.2
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 4
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      The Codex Sinaiticus Project site has some interesting information about the retracing of Codex Sinaiticus.


      1.4.2 Re-tracing
      The retracing of the characters (main text, corrections, some quire numbers and some of the squiggles) was repeated several times throughout the history of the Codex Sinaiticus, always using different types of inks.


      The ink used for the second retracing of the main text, for example, appears to be more friable than the one used to write the original text, suffering from major ink loss.

      ... There have been two, possibly three, re-tracings of the brown ink text


      It would be very helpful if we know how much is purported to be retraced, the centuries conjectured, and any scribal information.  Is 5% of the text involved, or 95%?   Information on these types of questions (including others like the rebinding) is not always consistent from the different sources. And as to specifics of the degree of retracing, and how it is identified (heavy ink?) there simply seems to be a dearth of information.  e.g. The Mark cancel sheet has a number of dark lines around Mark 15:46 to 16:1, is that a retracing?

      If there were large-scale retracing, as in Vaticanus, that could also influence scribal habits. And you would want verification, e.g. by ultra-violet, that there is retracing rather than correction.  How do you know an overwrite does not make changes?


      In general with the Codex, we have limited information.

      Note that we don't have any ink analysis, because we are told, even though the bulk of the manuscript has been in London, where testing facilities are sophisticated and available:

      "The Codex Sinaiticus inks have never been chemically characterized, and the type and proportions of ingredients mixed together have never been determined."

      The CSP site actually references two or three distinct retracings of the manuscript, or parts of the manuscript, including the "main text". 


      QUESTIONS (a few of many)

      Do many other manuscripts, other than Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, have this element of retracing?

      Has there been any ultra-violet testing for undertext, other than John 21:25-25.?

      By who and when are the two, three or more retracings conjectured to have occurred?

      How much is retraced?  How do they tell?

      Is all visible dark ink considered to be part of a retracing?


      And retracing should influence any analysis of "scribal habits" at the points of retracing. And should be combined with discussions of the identity of correctors. Retracing of more than a few letters would likely not be by any of the original scribes. 



      An interesting discussion point would be the ending of John, which has a very clear and strong ink, and it also has the Tischendorf and ultraviolet analysis claim that there was a different original text that excluded John 21:25.

      John 21:25 (AV)
      And there are also many other things which Jesus did,
      the which, if they should be written every one,
      I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.

      Are any of those retracings involved in this section of John?


      David Trobisch gives one picture under ultra-violet that, we are told by Skeat and Milne, shows that the undertext ending at v. 24, plus a subscription.

      The First Edition of the New Testament (p. 98)
      by David Trobisch

      Note that additional pics are available online at:

      p. 54 - Vaganay- Amphoux
      p. 55

      This was the section where Tischendorf had a curiously exceptional x-ray type of vision.  Neither Tregelles or Burgon thought that there was a different undertext. And Tischendorf was abusive to the max on this point contra Tregelles.

      Any insights you can share on these matters will be greatly appreciated.


      Steven Avery
      Bayside, NY
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