Evangelical Textual Criticism

Monday, August 16, 2010

Sinaiticus Facsimile by Hendricksons

Hendrickson Publishers are now advertising the new facsimile edition of Codex Sinaiticus to be released in November.

Retail: $799.00
Size: 13.5 x 16.5 inches
Binding: cloth with slipcase
Pages: 828
Pub Date: November 2010
ISBN: 9781598565775
ISBN-13: 9781598565775

From the advertisement:
The Codex was hand-written in Greek by fourth-century scribes, only 300 years after the time of the New Testament, making it one of the earliest and most reliable witnesses to the biblical text. It contained the Old and New Testaments in Greek, the text adopted by early Greek-speaking Christians.

The Codex was preserved for centuries at the monastery of St. Catherine’s, Mount Sinai, until Constantin von Tischendorf drew worldwide attention and notoriety to it in 1844. In the years following, its pages were divided and dispersed. Now, over 160 years later, after an extraordinary and historic collaborative effort by the British Library, the National Library of Russia, St. Catherine’s Monastery, Leipzig University Library, and Hendrickson Publishers, all the extant pages of Codex Sinaiticus have been brought together in print form to a worldwide audience in this handsomely bound, one-of-a kind, facsimile edition.

Drawing on the expertise of leading scholars, conservators, and curators, and painstakingly photographed using the latest high-quality digital technology and a careful imaging process, this facsimile provides a life-like view of the original pages of the Codex. The delicate beauty of this important text—its parchment, inks, and scars, all visible in incredible detail—allows the fascinating textual history of the Christian Bible to come alive in a fresh, meaningful way. The generous trim size, protective cloth covering, and slipcase make this facsimile an attractive part of any biblical scholar’s library. Accompanied by a 32-page booklet, the Codex would be a stunning addition to a church, university, or seminary library, as well as to a museum or personal collection.

What texts can I find in the Codex Sinaiticus?
As it survives today, Codex Sinaiticus comprises just over 400 large leaves of prepared animal skin, each of which measures (13.6 inches) wide by 380mm (15 inches) high. On these parchment leaves is written around half of the Old Testament and Apocrypha (the Septuagint), the whole of the New Testament, and two early Christian texts not found in modern Bibles. Most of the first part of the manuscript (containing most of the so-called historical books, from Genesis to 1 Chronicles) is now missing and presumed to be lost. .

The Septuagint includes books which many Protestant Christian denominations place in the Apocrypha. Those present in the surviving part of the Septuagint in Codex Sinaiticus are 2 Esdras, Tobit, Judith, 1 & 4 Maccabees, Wisdom and Sirach. .

The number of the books in the New Testament in Codex Sinaiticus is the same as that in modern Bibles in the West, but the order is different. The Letter to the Hebrews is placed after Paul’s Second Letter to the Thessalonians, and the Acts of the Apostles between the Pastoral and Catholic Epistles. .

The two other early Christian texts are an Epistle by an unknown writer claiming to be the Apostle Barnabas, and ‘The Shepherd’, written by the early second-century Roman writer, Hermas.


  1. Does anybody know if it will include all the fragments or is it limited to the folios that are more readily presented in a bound codex form?

    Matthew Hamilton

  2. Does anyone want to send me a review copy?

  3. Christian, you could review the LXX part, and I the NT.

    Dirk could do a comparative study of the correctors of the facsimile and the original manuscript to see if they match each other.

  4. Also forthcoming are two facsimile prints: see


    The question is: what would you choose as "two of the most historically significant" pages of Codex Sinaiticus, and why?

    That might be an interesting blog competition.

  5. It would be interesting to know what advantages this printed edition has over the internet edition. The internet edition can be magnified, but is sometimes not easy to handle. The paper edition will certainly have a nice lay-out, but what about the details and magnification?

  6. Yes, please! The picture looks mighty handsome. Tommy, can we split the NT review--I'll do the Gospels through, say, Colossians, and you can take it from there.

  7. What exactly do you think you would review if you were asked to review this volume?
    Are the photos in focus?
    Is the accompanying information correct?
    Whatever happened to David Parker's book on Sinaiticus?

  8. Do you think they might have some at half-price for SBL? That would almost be doable.

  9. PMH: What exactly do you think you would review if you were asked to review this volume?

    As you know I was just joking as usual ... but I suppose your own two questions would be relevant.

  10. Perhaps, if the British Library were to donate a copy of the facsimile to St. Catharine's Monastery, the monks might finally be able to let go. Maybe?

  11. I am going to be in sooo much trouble. Every time the dollar gets a little stronger to the euro, I look at the facsimile of the Codex Vaticanus again. Sanity reinserts itself I save myself from spending 5-6 thousand dollars on a book (I think of explaining it to my wife). At 1/10 that price, the Sinaiticus is looking pretty attractive.

    I can see the conversation now "But look how cheap it is, it's only 1/10 the price of the Vaticanus"

  12. Dear Bob,

    Please send me your wife's email address. Before you use your 1/10th logic, I need to inform her that it is available for free online. This should make the argument even more interesting.

  13. > The question is: what would you choose > as "two of the most historically
    > significant" pages of Codex Sinaiticus,
    > and why?

    I would vote for the colophon of John as one, but it wouldn't make a very good poster unless you include UV images.

  14. > What exactly do you think you would
    > review if you were asked to review
    > this volume?

    Pretty much everything that's missing from the marketting blurb:

    1. Is it full size or reduced (The page size looks like it is 'almost' fullsize).

    2. Does it include the loose folios?

    3. What's the resolution of the pictures.

    4. How do you justify spending the money to your wife.

    > Whatever happened to David Parker's
    > book on Sinaiticus?


  15. > I need to inform her that it is available for free online.

    I guess I won't be able to lend it to you to review then, Christian:).

    Actually my wife knows that free - on-line usually means that if the copywrites allow - they get printted out an put on my bookself. Maybe I can convince her a nice color bound copy would be soo much better than the low resolution black and white version with spiral binding I have now...

    bob "need to return from his fantacy-land" relyea

  16. A big improvement over the website would be the inclusion of an actual English translation.

  17. Why would anyone want a paper copy of a book when it is free and searchable on-line? And Bob is more likely to be near a computer than the bookshelf on which this large, expensive copy of a book sits.

    Boy, is he ever pouting.

    His wife, Lynn

  18. In most parts of Asia, where I come from, on-line thing is yet to be enjoyed to the fullest. And in that case, printed format is still the best format given our circumstances. And this puts us back to previous discussions about the prohibitive prices on NT textual criticism books that are essential and inevitable if we are to critically and responsibly advance its cause in that region of the world.

  19. But don't speak with my wife about this ...

  20. "The two other early Christian texts are an Epistle by an unknown writer claiming to be the Apostle Barnabas, and ‘The Shepherd’, written by the early second-century Roman writer, Hermas."

    The author assumes too much, being able to date Hermas so precisely, and knowing so much about Barnabas as to dogmatically state that he is unknown.

  21. Thanks Lynn,

    That has to be one of the best comments we've had in quite a while! Had me laughing so much I almost had to explain it to my wife.

  22. OK, this is truly dangerous. Amazon is carrying the this facsimile for $636 and it's shown up on my "Recommendations" list!

    bob (still pouting)

  23. If this is like the Vaticanus facsimile which looks very similar to this one (Don't know the publisher?) it will have all the tears, tatters and holes of the original ms. inflicted upon the brand new pages. Very cool,but remember this is only one witness of ancient antiquity and not a very good one at that! So the internet(free) facsimile sounds much more practical.

    How about all the main Papyri(p45,66,75,etc.) put together into a volume like this??

  24. Christianbook.com has this facsimile for $499. What's up with all the price variations (Amazon, Christianbook, Hendrickson)?

  25. Here's the link: