the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet) stands for the famous Codex
Sinaiticus (sometimes designated by the letter S), one of
the two oldest copies, apart from the papyri just described, of the
The story of the romantic discovery of this manuscript
in the last century, when part of it was in the very act of being consumed
as fuel, must be reserved for Chapter VIII.
For the present it must
suffice to say that it was first seen by the great German Biblical
scholar, Constantine Tischendorf, in 1844, in the monastery of St.
Catherine, at Mount Sinai.
At his first visit he secured forty-three
leaves belonging to the Old Testament, and presented them to his patron,
King Frederick Augustus of Saxony, who placed them in the Court Library
at Leipzig, where they still remain, with the name of the Codex Friderico-Augustanus.
A subsequent visit brought to light 199 more leaves of the Old Testament
and the whole of the New Testament;
and these ultimately found a home
in the Imperial Library at St. Petersburg, until in 1933 the whole
MS. was sold by the Soviet Government to the British Museum, where
it is now Add.MS.43725.
Parts of three more leaves were subsequently
discovered in the bindings of other manuscripts in the library of Mount
Sinai; these were also acquired for St. Petersburg, where they still
The manuscript was written in the fourth century, in a beautiful
and it is extremely unfortunate that so much of the OLD
TESTAMENT has been lost.
The parts which survive include fragments
of Gen.xi., xxiv., and of Num.v., vi., vii.;
2 Esdras [i.e., canonical Ezra-Nehemiah] ix.9 to end;
Tobit, Judith, 1 Macc., 4 Macc., Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lament.i.1-ii.20,
Joel, Obadiah, Jonah, Nahum to Malachi, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes,
Song of Solomon, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Job.
Three different scribes
were employed on the writing of it, besides several correctors, the
most important of whom were some scholars (indicated by the symbol אCA or אc, b)
who seem to have worked on the MS. at Caesarea at the end of the sixth
or beginning of the seventh century.
In notes in this hand at the end
of Esdras and Esther it is stated that the MS. was collated with an
exceedingly ancient MS. which itself had been corrected by the martyr
Pamphilus and had an autograph note by him, saying that he had corrected
it in prison from Origen's own copy of the Hexapla.
Description & picture
from 'Our Bible & the Ancient Manuscripts'
by Sir Frederick Kenyon (1895 - 4th Ed. 1939) Pg 128
& Plate XV. (Page selection illustrated: 26 x 23cm. - page-size:
37 x 34cm. )