Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Was Tischendorf a goodie or a baddie?

BIBLE HISTORY DAILY: Tischendorf on Trial for Removing Codex Sinaiticus, the Oldest New Testament. Is Constantine Tischendorf a hero or thief? (Ellen White). The BAR article by Stanley Porter is summarized in this post, but its full text is behind a subscription wall.
Stanley Porter, the Dean of McMaster Divinity College, argues that many salient details are omitted from this all too common telling of the events. At the time of Tischendorf, there was nothing uncommon about removing, buying or gifting ancient manuscripts in this manner. He also demonstrates that from the beginning, there were discussions about donating the manuscript to the Russian Czar, as would be appropriate for an Eastern Orthodox monastery, but that the succession problems within the church leadership lead to a more complicated than normal process, which allowed allegations against Tischendorf to linger. Stanley Porter explains how newly revealed documents from the Russian archives exonerate Tischendorf and provide the rest of the story of Codex Sinaiticus’s long journey west.
More on Tischendorf is here and link. More on Codex Sinaiticus is here and links.

Regarding Codex Siniaticus, I can only repeat my view that antiquities are the heritage of humanity, not just treasures of particular nations or institutions, and they should be kept where they are safest. I realize that raises many moral and practical issues and, yes, let's talk about them. Meanwhile, I can't say I'm sorry that this manuscript is not at Saint Catherine's Monastery at present.