By Dr. Elisha Weismann and Dr. James Ach
A recent article by the Pope adoring Fred Butler slandering Chris Pinto follows the logic of James White-among many others-contending that the Codex Sinaiticus was not actually discovered in a trash can as affirmed by “KJVOnlyists”. What is their evidence? From the donut- glaze- saturated keyboard of Butler is written:
Tischendorf’s second return in 1853 to the monastery was unfruitful, but on his third visit in 1859, he took a walk with a young Athenian steward who invited him back to his room for some refreshment. The steward told Tischendorf that he had read the OT in Greek and then revealed to him a bulky parcel wrapped in a red cloth. When he unwrapped it, it contained not only the sheets Tischendorf saw in 1844 that were being used to light fires, it contained some 346 parchments from the same volume.
Quip and Lie (Fred Butler, the author of the Hip and Thigh blog) as most others, conveniently leave out the events that lead up to this red-wrapped bundle of apostate joy. First, they lay emphasis that the Codex was “neatly wrapped” in red cloth, and then secondly, they note that a basket is not the same thing as a garbage can, and wallah, no evidence exists that any part of the Codex was found in a garbage can. Thus essentially, the argument for whether or not the Codex was found in a garbage can comes down to semantics and a little history revision (by deliberately omitting Tischendorf’s own statements regarding how the Codex was found).
Butler has a bad habit of quoting bias sources as well. In one article again slandering Chris Pinto, Butler sites Frederick Kenyon who claimed that Constantine SImonides, who laid claim to the actual authorship of Codex Sinaiticus, was only 15 years old when he claimed to have compiled manuscripts for the transcription of the Codex, and that therefore Simonides could not have possibly had the scholarship necessary at such a young age to perform such a rigorous and pedantic task (although, as a Calvinist, Butler would have no problem with the scholarship of Jonathon Edwards who went to Yale at age 13). However, Kendrick admitted, as does history, that Simonides was born in 1820, and his first claim to the Codex occurred in 1840. That would have made Simonides 20 years old, not 15. After confronting Fred Butler with this glaring inconsistency, Butler removed the date of Simonides birth year from his article, and indicated no correction, although he still maintains that Simonides was only “a teenager”. Butler defends his usage of “teenager” by claiming Simonides could have been 19, but Butler makes this assertion in support of Kenyon who claimed that Simonides was only 15. Butler cited Kenyon as an authority on the veracity of Simonides claims, but then capitulates and obfuscates on the reliability of Kenyon’s facts.
From Tischendorf’s own testimony he writes the following:
It was in April, 1844, that I embarked at Leghorn for Egypt. The desire which I felt to discover some precious remains of any manuscripts, more especially Biblical, of a date which would carry us back to the early times of Christianity, was realized beyond my expectations. It was at the foot of Mount Sinai, in the convent of St. Catherine, that I discovered the pearl of all my researches. In visiting the library of the monastery, in the month of May, 1844, I perceived in the middle of the great hall a large and wide basket full of old parchments; and the librarian, who was a man of information, told me that two heaps of papers like this, mouldered by time, had been already committed to the flames. What was my surprise to find amid this heap of papers a considerable number of sheets of a copy of the Old Testament in Greek, which seemed to me to be one of the most ancient that I had ever seen. The authorities of the convent allowed me to possess myself of a third of these parchments, or about forty-five sheets, all the more readily as they were destined for the fire
First of all, how could Tischendorf claim that these were the oldest manuscripts he’d seen without any examination of them first?*. Secondly, the story shows clearly that the manuscripts that were in the basket were there for the purpose of awaiting incineration. If that’s not a “trash can” excuse the puppies for drinking out of the kitten’s milk bowl.
Dean Burgon, who thoroughly debunked the work of Westcott & Hort (whom Butler considers “good godly evangelical scholars”-more on that later) writes,
“We suspect that these two manuscripts are indebted for their preservation, “solely to their ascertained evil character”; which has occasioned that the one eventually found its way, four centuries ago, to a forgotten shelf in the Vatican Library;
“while the other, after exercising the ingenuity of several generations of critical Correctors, eventually got deposited in the wastepaper basket of the Convent at the foot of Mount Sinai.
“Had B and ALEPH been copies of average purity, they must long ago since have shared the inevitable fate of books which are freely used and highly prized; namely, they would have fallen into decadence and disappeared from sight.” The Revision Revised , pg 319.
Even Norman Geisler, who is not only NOT KJVO, but wrote an endorsement for James White’s “The King James Only Controversy” shown on the cover of White’s book writes,
“It was found in the monastery of St. Catherine at Mount Sinai by the German Count Tischendorf, who was living in Prussia by permission of the czar…”On his first visit (1844), he discovered forty-three leaves of vellum, containing portions of the LXX (I Chronicles, Jeremiah, Nehemiah and Esther), in a basket of scraps which the monks were using to light their fires. He secured it and took it to the University Library at Leipzig, Germany. It remains there, known as the Codex Frederico-Augustanus…Geisler & Nix, General Introduction to the Bible, 1968.
Popular KJVO critic, James White, although adamantly denying that the Codex was found in a waste basket, says of the finding of Tischendorf,
Constantin von Tischendorf embarked on a journey to the Middle East in 1844 searching for biblical manuscripts. While visiting the monastery of St. Catherine on Mount Sinai, he noted some scraps of parchment in a basket that was due to be used to stoke the fires in the oven of the monastery. Upon looking at the scraps he discovered that they contained part of the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament.
This was exactly what he was looking for, and so he asked if he could take the scraps to his room for examination, warning the monks that they should not be burning such items. His obvious excitement worried the monks, who became less than cooperative in providing further information about manuscripts at the monastery. King James Only Controversy, pp 32-33
Thus we have clear and convincing evidence that the Codex was FIRST discovered in a basket, and that basket was used to reserve fodder for kindling. Now perhaps White and Butler call fodder for fire from materials one wishes to discard by burning as non-trash, but common sense modern vernacular would have no issues with the term “waste basket”. To offer such criticism merely because the manuscripts were not placed in Glad bags and the “basket” did not have a Flip Wilson lid on it is shear semantic nonsense.
Furthermore, White and Butler, et al, lay emphasis on Tischendorf’s receipt of the REMAINDER of the Codex wrapped in red cloth as evidence that the Codex was not found in a dumpster. However, Tischendorf’s own writings show that he obtained his initial manuscripts directly from the waste basket, and it was only LATER that he gained REMAINING manuscripts that were wrapped in cloth. BUT! where did THOSE manuscripts “wrapped in red cloth” come from?? Again, from Tischendorf’s own testimony relaying what the monk had given him he writes,
Scarcely had he entered the room when, resuming our former subject of conversation, he said, “And I too have read a Septuagint, i. e., a copy of the Greek translation made by the Seventy;” and so saying, he took down from the corner of the room a bulky kind of volume wrapped up in a red cloth, and laid it before me. I unrolled the cover, and discovered, to my great surprise, not only those very fragments which, fifteen years before, I had taken out of the basket, but also other parts of the Old Testament, the New Testament complete, and in addition, the Epistle of Barnabas and a part of the Pastor of Hermas.
Notice what Tischendorf says about the manuscripts in the red wrapped cloth, “ which, fifteen years before, I had taken out of the basket”. So whatever manuscripts Tischendorf did not obtain 15 years ago from the waste basket, he collected the remainder on this particular visit, and the manuscripts that White and Butler, et al, so vivaciously remind us were “wrapped neatly in red cloth” were themselves TAKEN FROM THE SAME BASKET WHERE TISCHENDORF OBTAINED HIS FIRST MANUSCRIPTS 15 YEARS AGO.
Oh the lengths that Bible agnostics will go to in defending their beloved Pope and his Jesuit minions.
Butler’s Veneration of Westcott & Hort
In response to a blogger named “Sandy” who asks “So do you really believe there is no counter reformation being led by Jesuits?”, Butler replies,
No, not today, nor in the manner that Chris Pinto describes. You have to consider the fact that a number of men committed to the importance of Sinaiticus are Bible-believing, God-fearing, evangelical Christians who are squarely anti-Catholics. Pinto’s thesis implicates them as either being duped by the Jesuits, which would throw their spiritual discernment into being seriously questioned, or unbelieving Catholic sympathizers who are secretly aiding the Jesuits. Both of those scenarios are patently absurd.
First of all, what a naive imbecile to believe that the Jesuits have no CURRENT plans involving a “counter-reformation”. Let’s not forget that Rome’s current “vicar” is a Jesuit. Sure, Butler and White will tell you that Rome has a few bad doctrines, all short of naming the Pope as an antichrist and the Catholic Church as a CULT. But nevertheless, any casual perusal of the Jesuit Oath reveals that a Jesuit will “to a Jew become a Jew, to a Calvinist a Calvinist, to a Protestant a Protestant”.
The first men “committed to the importance of the Sinaiticus” were Westcott & Hort, who comprised a committee for the “revision” of the King James Version in 1881. The following are the “good godly evangelical” beliefs of Westcott & Hort of which almost all modern Bible translations owe their lineage,
“I reject the word infallibility of Holy Scriptures overwhelmingly.” (Westcott, The Life and Letters of Brook Foss Westcott, Vol. I, p.207).
“Evangelicals seem to me perverted. . .There are, I fear, still more serious differences between us on the subject of authority, especially the authority of the Bible.” (Hort, The Life and Letters of Fenton John Anthony Hort, Vol. I, p.400)
“He [Jesus Christ] never speaks of Himself directly as God, but the aim of His revelation was to lead men to see God in Him.” (Westcott, The Gospel According to St. John, p. 297).
“(John) does not expressly affirm the identification of the Word with Jesus Christ.”…(Rev. 3:15) might no doubt bear the Arian meaning, the first thing created.”
“”…Have you read Darwin? How I should like to talk with you about it! In spite of difficulties, I am inclined to think it unanswerable. In any case it is a treat to read such a book.”
“But the book which has most engaged me is Darwin. Whatever may be thought of it, it is a book that one is proud to be contemporary with … My feeling is strong that the theory is unanswerable. If so, it opens up a new period.”
I am inclined to think that no such state as Eden (I mean the popular notion) ever existed, and that Adams fall in no degree differed from the fall of each of his descendants, as Coleridge justly argues.
“Further I agree with them [Authors of Essays and Reviews] in condemning many leading specific doctrines of the popular theology … Evangelicals seem to me perverted rather than untrue. There are, I fear, still more serious differences between us on the subject of authority, and especially the authority of the Bible.”
“I confess I have no repugnance to the primitive doctrine of a ransom paid to Satan. I can see no other possible form in which the doctrine of a ransom is at all tenable; anything is better than the doctrine of a ransom to the father.” (Hort, The First Epistle of St. Peter 1:1-2:17, p. 77)
The pure Romanish view seems to be nearer, and more likely to lead to the truth than the Evangelical.” (Hort, Life and Letters, Vol. I, p. 77)
There is OVERWHELMING evidence from the writings of Westcott and Hort themselves as well as their children they had great veneration for Mary and the church of Rome, had heretical views of the deity of Christ, salvation, the inspiration of Scripture, and yet these men are whom White and Butler consider “good godly evangelical” scholars? Even Butler’s favorite Calvinist, Charles Spurgeon wrote of Westcott & Hort,
“With those who treat the Bible as waste paper, and regard the death of Christ as no substitution, we have no desire for fellowship. After the gospel has been found effectual in the eternal salvation of untold multitudes, it seems rather late in the day to alter it; and , since it is the revelation of the all-wise and unchanging God, it appears somewhat audacious to attempt its improvement. When we call up before our mind’s eye the gentlemen who have set themselves this presumptuous task….. Their gigantic intellects are to hatch out the meanings of the Infinite. Hitherto they have not hatched out much worth reading. Their chickens are so much of the Roman breed, that we sometimes seriously suspect that, after all, Jesuitical craft may be at the bottom of this “modern thought”.
But what about Tischendorf’s own beliefs? Tischendorf admittedly claimed to follow in the footsteps of Karl Lachmann**- who was known to reject the inspiration of the Scriptures and was a German philosophical rationalist- and that Tischendorf was a professor within the German universities of whom applied rationalism to the texts of the Bible. Between Tischendorf’s 7th and 8th editions of the Codex were over 8,000 changes to his own manuscripts. Tischendorf did not believe that any English version extant in his time (let alone the KJV) was based on earlier manuscripts, but were all 15th century productions, and thus he did not believe that any inspired or infallible copies of the Bible existed in any language in any version. Butler himself even admits this stating that,
Tischendorf believed the TR, from which the KJV had been translated, was an inadequate text because it was not based upon the “best” manuscripts of the NT. He believed better manuscripts were waiting to be discovered and their discovery would only serve to refute the skeptics and critics who wrote those trashy novels about the life of Jesus.
So in other words, God was not capable of preserving His word throughout history, and we must all wait for “better” manuscripts which have not yet been discovered to see if we still have the word of God. This is no different from evolutionary thinking, that somehow new evidence will surface to discredit creation, and therefore Christian scientists must stay apprised of all of the archaeological finds of atheists because God forbid they find something that proves there really is no God. Most logical Christians do not need that kind of “evidence”, they believe by faith that there is an Intelligent Designer behind the creation of the universe. It’s too bad this logic doesn’t apply to most Christians when it comes to the preservation of the word of God that we are told to “preach in season and out of season”. We are expected to “reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” from a plethora of manuscripts that wicked scholars can’t even agree on to verify that we actually have the word of God.
And as Pinto pointed out, and as history attests, Tischendorf was granted quite a liberal audience and attention from not only the Pope of Rome, but many of the Pope’s minions. It doesn’t seem to bother Butler that the Pope would permit such welcome to a supposed Protestant “scholar” all the while burning Protestant “heretics” in the dungeons of Roman monasteries. Why were such exceptions extended to Tischendorf from the Roman Papacy that were CLEARLY not extended to any other Protestant minister?
Ironically, Butler attempts to prove Tischendorf was not “in league” with Rome by citing Rome’s oft attempts to erect a “wall” against Tischendorf’s efforts to peruse the manuscripts more thoroughly. Well then doesn’t that beg the question that if Tischendorf was never able to gain a full examination of the texts that the reliability of his own translations of the Codex should be questionable? The very fact that Codex Sinaiticus has Rome written all over it (in some MSSmss, quite LITERALLY with the Roman Imprimatur stamped on the pages) does not seem to make Butler or any other KJVO critic blink, but then neither does Butler’s own version of events claiming that Tischendorf’s manuscript translation is reliable while at the same time admitting that Tischendorf was not permitted a proper perusal of the underlying texts.
Butler proposes that a few scant quotes cited by James Bentley quoting Tischendorf prove his “orthodoxy”. Tischendorf has never published any clear indication that he was a born again Christian, and there are no clear writings extant of just exactly what his beliefs were which is quite odd for anyone claiming to be Protestant. As prolific a writer as Tischendorf was regarding the Codex, one would think he would have produced a clear treatise on his beliefs. Yet Butler relies on Bentley attempts to use a mere scintilla of quotes from Tischendorf which are no different from the professions of any modern Roman priest to prove Tischendorf was a believer. Butler in defending the “orthodoxy” of Tischendorf, offers only the following quote,
He was passionately determined to refute those who were destroying the faith of the Christian world. Many Christians desperately longed for such a refutation. In a pamphlet published in March 1864 Tischendorf wrote, ‘May my writing serve this end: to make you mistrust those novel theories upon the Gospels — or rather, againstthem — which would persuade you that the wonderful details which the Gospels give of our gracious Saviour are founded upon ignorance and deceit.’ [Bentley, 37]
What Catholic priest or even a Jehovah’s Witness would not claim that the Bible contains the “wonderful details which the Gospels give of our gracious Saviour”? Is this a full-proof evidence of fundamental Christian belief? Hardly. Note that Bentley asserts that “Many Christians desperately longed for such a refutation”. A refutation of what? If Tischendorf was a Protestant, then the only refutation “many Christians” were seeking for would be a refutation AGAINST ROME. Butler claims that Tischendorf was an “evangelical apologist” with absolutely ZERO evidence for such an absurd claim. Tischendorf has absolutely no recorded documentation of refuting any of the heresies extant in his day and thus accordingly, none of these apologetic works are cited by Butler. The only “refutations” that were extant regarding textual evidences were Rome’s disdain over the Textus Receptus and King James Bible. Somehow, Tischendorf supposing to be a Protestant minister, questions the validity of the Protestant Bible from he would naturally have derived any of his Protestant beliefs, begins his search for the “better manuscripts” coincidentally at a CATHOLIC monestary? Also, something that Pinto nor any of his critics have observed, is that not only is it clear that Tischendorf altered the manuscripts, but that monks themselves could have done so in the 15 years between Tischendorf’s initial discoveries, and his return to the monastery on which he obtained the remaining manuscripts wrapped in red cloth. There is clear evidence that that which was wrapped in the red cloth was obtained from the pile of scraps that Tischendorf did not make off with. It begs the question as to why the monks burned any manuscripts at all, and had others wrapped in a red cloth only to remain stagnant and unutilized in a monastery. It is likely that the monks did not know what they were burning, but then once Tischendorf published his first discoveries, and knowing the reception and adulation it was given by the Pope, took the remaining copies, altered them, and then placed them in the red cloth expecting Tischendorf’s return.
Butler’s defense of Tischendorf is inadequate, defies logic and common sense, is often contradictory and often cites as evidence facts not only missing from his own articles but wholly absent from history. The real question is why skeptics such as Butler and White are so quick to vilify Chris Pinto and any other person defending the Textus Receptus or King James Bible over a video that was created that is not specifically in defense of the King James Bible (although Butler MUST paint this label on Pinto in order to classify him as a KJVO so that he can by proxy attach all of his other ridiculous anti- KJVO arguments against anyone that dares lift a hint of criticism against the venerable Tishcendorf, Westcott or Hort). Why go to such extreme lengths to defend such a shady history that follows Tischendorf, Westcott and Hort? Butler dances with sparklers that Pinto can not give absolute proof of a conspiracy, but neither can Butler nor those he cites offer any logical explanation as to why the Roman Catholic Church was so receptive to Tischendorf. Considering that the preponderance of evidence is in favor of the involvement of Rome than against it, it certainly casts great doubt upon the credibility of Butler and his ilk in proffering such a vigorous defense of a “church” they claim to oppose.
I’ll offer my own “conspiracy theory”. Jesuits are known for joining the ranks of their enemies even to the tune of slandering their own religion (Catholics) if it means a greater victory in the long run. Critics like White and Butler will gladly quip “We debate Catholics so we couldn’t possibly be pro-Catholic” as evidence that they would not be likely candidates for Jesuit infiltrators. Their positions on the Catholic church while appearing to cast some of their doctrines in a negative light, are a far cry from labeling the Catholic church for what it really is: a beast from the horns of the dragon straight out of the pits of hell (Revelation 17), that has made every effort to destroy belief in the word of God as the inerrant and preserved revelation of God’s instructions to His church. Just as the Catholic church adopted the “if you can’t kill them [Christians] join them” and made Christianity the state religion of Rome, so too, has the Catholic church maintained that if they can’t destroy the Bible by burning it along with those who translated any anti-Vatican texts, they may as well “join” the legitimate copies of the Bible with amalgamations of corrupted texts, and encourage critics like Butler, White, Nestle, Aland, Norris, Kutilek, Carson, Bryce, Wallace, et al, to help promote their validity. If they are not somehow directly involved with the RCC, they are certainly guilty as co-conspirators in her treachery.
Perhaps Butler’s motivation is the promise of the latest Darth Vader action figure in a package signed by the Pope that he can add to his collection of Star Wars paraphernalia. How any supposed God-fearing Christian could have such adoration for blatantly occultic Hollywood trash is bewildering.
Edited and Updated by Dr James A, PhD
* From The Forged Origins of the New Testament, Tony Bushby writes,
The revelations of ultraviolet light testing
In 1933, the British Museum in London purchased the Sinai Bible from the Soviet government for £100,000, of which £65,000 was gifted by public subscription. Prior to the acquisition, this Bible was displayed in the Imperial Library in St Petersburg, Russia, and “few scholars had set eyes on it” (The Daily Telegraph and Morning Post, 11 January 1938, p. 3). When it went on display in 1933 as “the oldest Bible in the world” (ibid.), it became the centre of a pilgrimage unequalled in the history of the British Museum.
Before I summarize its conflictions, it should be noted that this old codex is by no means a reliable guide to New Testament study as it contains superabundant errors and serious re-editing. These anomalies were exposed as a result of the months of ultraviolet-light tests carried out at the British Museum in the mid-1930s. The findings revealed replacements of numerous passages by at least nine different editors.
Photographs taken during testing revealed that ink pigments had been retained deep in the pores of the skin. The original words were readable under ultraviolet light. Anybody wishing to read the results of the tests should refer to the book written by the researchers who did the analysis: the Keepers of the Department of Manuscripts at the British Museum (Scribes and Correctors of the Codex Sinaiticus, H. J. M. Milne and T. C. Skeat, British Museum, London, 1938).
Tischendorf’s first find contained 43 leaflets which he dubbed the Codex Frederico-Augustanus, in dedication to Frederick Augustus of Saxony, a Roman Catholic, married to a Roman Catholic, and buried at Katholische Hofkirche, a Roman Catholic cemetary.
Tischendorf also notes in his first chapter of “When Were Our Gospels Written” (1874) that,
At the same time, the committee of the Religious Tract Society of
Zwickau expressed a desire to circulate this pamphlet, provided it were
recast and adapted for popular use. Although I had many other
occupations, I could not but comply with their request, and without
delay applied myself to the task of revising the pamphlet. I was glad
of the opportunity of addressing in this way a class of readers whom my
former writings had not reached; for, as the real results of my
researches are destined to benefit the church at large, it is right
that the whole community should participate in those benefits.
This popular tract, in the shape in which I now publish it, lacks, I
admit, the simple and familiar style of the usual publications of the
Zwickau Society; but, in spite of this fault, which the very nature of
the subject renders inevitable, I venture to hope that it will be
generally understood. Its chief aim is to show that our inspired
gospels most certainly take their rise from apostolic times, and so to
enable the reader to take a short but clear view of one of the most
instructive and important epochs of the Christian church.
In sitting down to write a popular version of my pamphlet, the Zwickau
Society also expressed a wish that I should preface it with a short
account of my researches, and especially of the discovery of the
Sinaitic Codex, which naturally takes an important place
The “Zwickau prophets,” i.e., Nicholas Storch, Thomas Drechsel, and Mark Stübner, etc., claimed to be prophets of God and to have received revelations directly from God. They were leading an anti-Protestant, anti-Catholic, spiritualistic attempt at communism and anarchy based on a view of taking the millennium by force as prophets. Thomas Münzer (1490–1525) was a radical figure in the Reformation who became a leader in the Peasants’ Revolt of 1524–1525. From this man we get a clear window into all of his associates: