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What I Saw at St. Catherine’s Monastery

In my last post I began to relate an anecdote about a traveling adventure I had several years ago, when giving lectures for a UNC trip to Egypt and Jordan with a stop at the famed St. Catherine’s monastery in the southern part of the Sinai peninsula, the place where Tischendorf had discovered the biblical manuscript codex Sinaiticus in the mid 19th century, and where a fire at the monastery in the 1970s had uncovered a hidden room found to contain manuscripts, including the pages from the Old Testament of the codex Sinaiticus that Tischendorf had not come away with from the monastery when he took the bulk of the manuscript with him back to Russian.   (That is the longest sentence I’ve ever produced on the blog; it’s because I’m reading Proust right now….) For me, one of the highlights of this trip was to be a visit to the monastery, a place that I had wanted to see for years.   It is located in a completely barren location in the wilderness and is the [...]

St. Catherine’s Monastery

In my previous post I talked about Constantin von Tischendorf and his discovery of the Codex Sinaiticus in St. Catherine’s Monastery on the Sinai peninsula in 1844 and then 1859.   I have a personal anecdote to relate about the manuscript, one of the most interesting things every to happen to me on my various travels hither and yon. To make sense of the anecdote I need to provide some background information.   As I indicated in my previous post, when Tischendorf discovered the codex Sinaiticus (as it was later called), he considered it to be the most ancient biblical manuscript then known to exist.  He was right.  It was. Tischendorf claimed that the manuscript was gifted to him by the head of the monastery.   The monastery later claimed, and still claims to this day, that he stole it from them. The manuscript consists of... THE REST OF THIS POST IS FOR MEMBERS ONLY.  If you don't belong yet, JOIN!!!  It doesn't cost much at all, and every penny goes to charity!! The manuscript consists of both [...]

Tischendorf and the Discovery of Codex Sinaiticus

PLEASE NOTE: I am incommunicado for a few days on a gulet in the Aegean Sea on the west coast of Turkey. I have asked Steven, our blog support, to add some posts for me in my absence; I prepared these in advance knowing I would be out of reach. Here is one of them. I’m afraid I will not be able to respond to comments on the next few posts until I return to some form of civilization that supports Internet and all things electronic. So sorry! **************************************************** In my previous post on the discovery of biblical manuscripts, I mentioned the most intrepid of manuscript-hunters of modern times, Tischendorf. His story is very interesting. Here is what I say about him and his most famous discovery in my book Misquoting Jesus. The one nineteenth-century scholar who was most assiduous in discovering biblical manuscripts and publishing their texts had the interesting name Lobegott Friedrich Constantin von Tischendorf (1815-74). He was called “Lobegott” (German for “Praise God”) because before he was born, his mother had seen [...]

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