Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Codex Sinaiticus Produced Near Jerusalem

Recently we reported about the discovery of a fourth-sixth century monastery which has been partially (and badly) excavated 'in the hills near Jerusalem' (here). An interesting mosiac was unearthed: "O Lord God of Saint Theodorus, protect Antonius and Theodosia the illustres, Theophylactus and John the priest."

Now Theophylactus is named as a scribe of Codex Sinaiticus (ff. 42, 160b, 199b), and Antoninus is named within Codex Sinaiticus as providing the source text for some parts of the Greek Bible (see the notes from the Pamphilian corrector in 2 Esdras and Esther - in the Codex Friderico-Augustanus). This can hardly be coincidence, since both names are extraordinarily rare in the patristic period. It follows that Codex Sinaiticus must have been produced in this monastery.

The excavators of this monastery have also found some documents, one of which seems to be the copy of a loan arrangement which states that the monks of St Catherine's monastery have borrowed some manuscripts which they promise to return safely.


  1. Hello Peter,
    Is the name 'Antonius' (as in the quoted text), or 'Antoninus' (as in your comment)?

  2. Wow. That's an amazing link to find . . . wait . . .

  3. What exciting news! Amazingly, this happened at the same time that researchers at Vienna, in the process of tidying up the library archives, have discovered a few pages of what was once a Latin tetraevangelium, previously undocumented! Only the closing chapters of John have survived. The text ends at the end of 20:31, followed by a stichometric note and a colophon which states that the MS was copied from a very ancient Gospels-MS that had been treasured by the Albigensians. A detailed report on the MS will be published in an upcoming Festschrift.

    Yours in Christ,

    James Snapp, Jr.


  4. First Christian, now you. Why is the best news always reported on April 1?

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  6. Right. What's next? That Coptic was the language used in Rome?

  7. How do they know about the "loan arranger" who prepared the lend-lease agreement? Did he leave a silver bullet?

  8. Pete, at the upcoming conference on Codex Sinaiticus in London, I suggest that you propose a "Next Year in Jerusalem" follow-up to cover this subject and visit the archaeological site! (That is, if you don't get excluded because of these claims...)