Friday, April 24, 2020

Educating Bro. Eli Soriano and His Followers for their false claim that Codex Sinaiticus is much better than Codex Vaticanus

The purpose of this article is to answer the claims of Soriano’s group that Codex Sinaiticus is ‘much better’ than Codex Vaticanus.

As I see it, Bro. Eli needs to study the Original Text so he can teach his members before they interfere with things that they do not know. If a person really knows what he’s doing, he will not dare say Codex Sinaiticus is better than Codex Vaticanus because even textual criticism scholars do not say this. Did the group of Soriano claim this because they conduct textual Criticism? But wait, I heard several times in his program that Bro. Eli mentioned the Codex Sinaiticus as well as the Dead Sea Scrolls, but he never read them even once! 

Perhaps, the group of Bro. Eli say that the Sinaiticus is much better than the Vaticanus because they read that the Codex Sinaiticus was also called the “Sinai Bible.” Is this enough for you to declare that one manuscript is better than the other manuscript?  One can only conclude that a manuscript is much better than another manuscript if he actually read the manuscript and performed the work of individuals who studied textual criticism.

Is Codex Sinaiticus really much better than Codex Vaticanus?

The Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus are both 4th century manuscripts . Vaticanus likely slightly  older than Sinaiticus. They are both very well respected. These manuscripts were written by trained scribes. Codex Sinaiticus is one of the most important displays at the department of manuscripts in the British Library. The Codex Vaticanus is preserved at the Vatican Library along with Papyrus 75 written in the 3rd century. Vaticanus belongs to the 75,000 manuscripts preserved at Vatican library.  There are all kinds of manuscripts there - theological works from the early Church and the Middle Ages, secular documents, sermons, and of course lots of Biblical manuscripts: Hebrew, Syriac Greek, Latin - some complete, some partial. A lot of our early manuscripts are there. 

Vaticanus, Sinaiticus and Alexandrinus are late (4th & 5th century CE) codices that give forms of the Septuagint current in their day. 

In the article written by Emanuel Tov (expert in old testament textual criticism), The Septuagint in Codex Sinaiticus Compared with Other Sources he said, "In all books except Judges and Isaiah, Codex Vaticanus is usually considered the best pre-Hexaplaric text." In our analysis, we learned that the pre-hexaplaric text is often quoted by Church fathers in their commentaries. 

According to Daniel Wallace (expert in new testament textual criticism) on page 34 of Revisiting the Corruption of the New Testament: Manuscript, Patristic, and Apocryphal Evidence, Codex Vaticanus has most of the more primitive readings. According to Bruce Metzger (known as authority in the field of textual criticism) on page 67 of his book, The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration (4th Edition), “One of the most valuable of all the manuscripts of the Greek Bible is Codex Vaticanus.” 

These two codices have become the foundation of modern-critical studies of the New Testament.

In textual criticism, we will learn that there are text-types which are the Byzantine text-type, Western text-type, Caesarean text-type, and Alexandrian text-type. Vaticanus and Sinaiticus both belong to the Alexandrian text-type. 

The Textual Criticism scholar, Dr. Bruce Metzger in his book, The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration (4th Edition)  said the Alexandrian text is more superior when it comes to establishing the original text than the Byzantine text-type (p. 280) and Alexandrian text is prepared by skillful editors trained in scholarly traditions (p.312).

Through this article, we will learn that nobody can say that he does not need Codex Vaticanus since he prefers Codex Sinaiticus. We can see the importance of both manuscripts.

However, let us give  Bro. Eli and his followers a few lessons so they will learn not to repeat what they claim which they really are not aware of. 

There are parts of the two manuscripts where the text of Vaticanus represents the correct reading and Sinaiticus is wrong. However, there are times that Sinaiticus is correct compared to Vaticanus. In many cases, the two uncial manuscripts complement each other compared to other manuscripts. The good part is the two manuscripts can be used to determine which of the parts of the Masoretic Text and the Dead Sea Scrolls with textual variants are correct. 


We can show many proofs but we will just point out a few examples. 

First, we will notice in some Bible versions that Matthew 17:21 cannot be found. Matthew 17:21 cannot be read in Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus. Both manuscripts start with the Greek word, Συστρεφομένων which is the first Greek text of Matthew 17:22 after ὑμῖν, the last Greek word in Matthew 17:20. 

Here is the actual  manuscript of Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus.

I marked, and you can see the part where ancient texts of Matthew 17:20 and the subsequent Matthew 17:22. 

Second, like Matthew 17:21, there is no John 5:4 in Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus. If you will notice below, after John 5:3 the next is John 5:5. 

Both verses mentioned earlier are part of what Philip Comfort said in his book as extra verses, phrases, and words. 
"..the King James Version, based on the Textus Receptus, have all these extra verses, phrases, and words.  Those who read the King James Version (also the New King James Version) are reading a "leavened" version---that is, it is a text with thousand of extra words...In short, the additions were the result of scribal gap-filling wherein scribes added words as they read and copied a text. The sources for the additions came from their own minds, other gospels, other scriptures, and oral traditions" (A Commentary on Textual Additions to the New Testament, Philip W. Comfort, Kregel Academic (December 27, 2017), pp. 7-8)
Third, both Vaticanus and Sinaiticus do not have Mark 16:9-20 or the longer ending. We can see in actual manuscripts of Vaticanus and Sinaiticus that both end in Greek words εφοβουντο γαρ, the two last Greek words in Mark 16:8. 

Codex Sinaiticus

Codex Vaticanus

However, the longer ending is found in Codex Alexandrinus 

As we can see, we can read the  Greek word Ἀναστὰς, which is the first Greek word in Mark 16:9.  

Fourth, if there are textual variants in copies of ancient manuscripts, the copyists or scribes committed errors. There are unintentional changes committed by scribes while they copied for many reasons. 

The New Testament manuscripts  had errors due to the scribes’ incorrect hearing. For example, in English, we can understand the error as in this sentence, “I can see for miles” and “I can see four miles.” If we take a look, there is a difference in accent or intonation, but we can see how the scribe was mistaken in copying and hearing.
"In this way, as many copies could be produced simultaneously as scribes were working in the scriptorium. It is easy to understand how in such a method of reproduction errors of transcription would almost inevitably occur. Sometimes the scribe would be momentarily inattentive or, because of a cough or other noise,would not clearly hear the lector. Furthermore, when the lector read aloud a word that could be spelled in different ways (e.g., in English,the words great and grate or there and their), the scribe would have to determine which word belonged in that particular context, and sometimes he wrote down the wrong word.  (The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration (4th Edition), Bruce Metzger, p. 25)
There are intentional changes and one of the reasons is “doctrinal changes.” 

The book written by Joseph M. Holden and Norman Geisler, The Popular Handbook of Archaeology and the Bible: Discoveries That Confirm the Reliability of Scripture on page 109 mentions this.

One of the passages of the New Testament with intentional changes is John 1:18 where there are manuscripts with “Monogenes Theos” translated by NRSV as “God the only Son” while some manuscripts state “Ho Monogenes Huios” translated by KJV as “the only begotten Son.” Aside from P75 (3rd Century) and P66 (about 200 AD) that support “Monogenes Theos,” Codex Vaticanus (4th Century) and Codex Sinaiticus (4th Century) agree since both state “Monogenes Theos.” 

Codex Vaticanus

Codex Sinaiticus

In Codex Alexandrinus (5th Century), Codex Cyprius (9th Century), Codex Boreelianus (10th Century), and  Codex Regius (8th Century) the words “Ho Monogenes Huios” are written.

Codex Boreelianus (10th Century Manuscript)

According to Textual Criticism scholars, the early manuscripts are reliable.

“For these aims, in general, the earlier the manuscript, the better” (The Earliest Christian Artifacts: Manuscripts and Christian Origins, Larry W. Hurtado, p. 15).

“It is now clear that monogenes theos is the earlier reading – and the preferred reading. This was changed, as early as the beginning of the 3rd century—if not earlier, to the more ordinary reading, monogenes huos”(Encountering the Manuscripts: An Introduction to New Testament Paleography & Textual Criticism, Philip Comfort, p. 336).

“The alternate argument is that monogenes theos was original and that a scribe changed it into ho monogenes huios because it fits well with Johannine style”(Revisiting the Corruption of the New Testament: Manuscript, Patristic, and Apocryphal Evidence,  Daniel B. Wallace, p. 74).


First, in Hebrews 1:3 of Codex Vaticanus, we can read the Greek word, Phaneron meaning “making visible, making known.” However, Codex Sinaiticus represents the correct reading which is Pheron (bearing, carrying [NRSV: "sustains" in the text; "Or bears along" as a footnote]). 

Other Greek manuscripts like Papyrus 46, Codex Claromontanus, and GA 757 agree with Sinaiticus since “Pheron” is written here.

Second, in Luke 8:3, we will notice in Codex Vaticanus the Greek words, διηκονουν αυτοις meaning “provided for them.” However, the greek words we can read in Codex Sinaiticus are διηκονουν αυτω or “provided for Him.” 

Codex Bezae (5th Century) and Codex Alexandrinus (5th Century) both agree with Codex Vaticanus.

Third, Matthew 24:35 was omitted in Codex Sinaticus. Yet, in Codex Vaticanus and Codex Bezae, we can read the Greek words, ὁ οὐρανὸς καὶ ἡ γῆ παρελεύσεται οἱ δὲ λόγοι μου οὐ not παρέλθωσιν


We will give 4 examples to support the importance of Codex Vaticanus as one of the codices of LXX.  

First, the issue regarding Genesis 1:9 in Masoretic Text.

Many scholars argue that what is written in LXX, συναγωγὴν means “gathering, collection” corresponding to 4QGen, מקוה (mikveh) instead of Hebrew word, מקום (makom). 

Here is the Hebrew text from Masoretic text (Codex Leningradensis )where  the word, makom is highlighted as part of Genesis 1:9.

Here is the Greek text of Genesis 1-9 based on Codex Vaticanus and seen in the Greek word συναγωγὴν which I highlighted. It is written in The Old Testament in Greek: 

The Old Testament in Greek: According to the Text of Codex Vaticanus, Supplemented from Other Uncial Manuscripts

Here is the small clear fragment which is part  of 4QGen where we can see the word, Mikveh

Infrared Image, Shai Halevi, courtesy of the Israel Antiquates Authority (4QGen)

The basic difference between 4QGen and Masoretic Text is the end of the Hebrew word.

The difference in the meaning is slight, “gathering” versus “place.” The Greek word, συναγωγὴν of LXX in verse 9 is the accurate translation of the Hebrew word, mikveh meaning "gathering, collection." Septuagint connects to a Hebrew reading which is preserved in 4QGen. 

Codex Sinaiticus has Genesis Chapter 21 to Chapter 24 but it has no Genesis Chapter 1 and Chapter 2. 

Second, one of the famous variants of the Old Testament is written in Genesis 2:2.

One of the famous variants of the Old Testament in the creation is about the days completed by God in His work. According to Old Testament scholars like Ronald S. Hendel, the reading in Masoretic text, השביעי, meaning "the seventh" day is manifestly incorrect based on the narrative context.

In the book of Emanuel Tov, The Text-Critical Use of the Septuagint in Biblical Research in Chapter 3, it discussed and the difference can be seen between the Masoretic Text and Samaritan Pentateuch where it is written "seventh" in MT while it is written in SP as "sixth." 

According to page 88 of The Text-Critical Use of the Septuagint in Biblical Research:
The LXX agrees with the Sam. Pent. ( הששי ) and S in reading “sixth” for “seventh” of MT. This reading probably derived from contextual theological harmonization because it was found difficult to explain how God could finish his work “on the seventh day” without having worked on that day. It is impossible to determine whether the easier reading of the LXX was based on an actual variant הששי or whether the exegetical tendency developedindependently in all three sources.

In the discussions of Tov regarding issues in the Old Testament, he cited the importance of the Septuagint using critical editions, the göttingen, which is based mainly on Codex Vaticanus.

According to page 70 of Text-Critical and Hermeneutical Studies in the Septuagint (Vetus Testamentum, Supplements) Edited by Johann Cook and Hermann-Josef Stipp:
"Basically all Septuagint editions from the 17th through to the 19th centuries, and even into the first half of the 20th century, have been based on the Codex Vaticanus...Even the critical edition by Rahlfs and, to a large extent, the Göttingen edition rely heavily on Codex "B." 

Third, the problematic text of Deuteronomy 32:43 in Masoretic Text.

The commentary used by Jeffrey H. Tigay entitled The JPS Torah Commentary  for the book of Deuteronomy shows his translation on page 516 and the comparison of MT, 4QDeut-q, and LXX.

We can see the scribal error in the Masoretic Text.  

The Use of the Septuagint in New Testament Research, R. Timothy McLay, p.108

In my personal observation, due to the parablepsis, the scribe of the Masoretic text passed from the Hebrew word הַרְנִינוּ rendered by LXX, εὐφράνθητε which we can see in line 1 going to the second in line 4 and he omitted the whole clause preserved in LXX. 

Here is the actual Manuscript of the text 4QDeut-q from the website of the Dead Sea Scrolls. 

Infrared Image, Najib Anton Albina, courtesy of the Israel Antiquates Authority (4Q Deuteronomy)

The best preserved text is 4QDeut-q. It has a perfect poetic structure. It has in v. 43 three bicola (or pairs of parallel lines: 6+7,  8+9, and 10+11). It also has "Heavens."

The LXX was clearly copied from a good text like 4Q, though it translates lines 6 and 7 twice. 

Fourth, the difficult text in Hosea 1:4 of the Masoretic Text

Here is the Peshitta text of Hosea 1:2. 

Here is the Hebrew text of Hosea 1:2. 

(Aleppo Codex)

According to Dr. Eric J. Tully in his book The Translation and Translator of the Peshitta of Hosea on pages 54-55.

"p, along with g and t, reads the second word of this verse in his unpointed source text as a noun in construct rather than the qatal verb of mt."

The LXX text is a big help since we can see the agreement of LXX and Syriac. 

LXX and Syriac translate דבר as "word" rather than "he spoke." It may also be that the Syriac and LXX tried to simplify a difficult text. If they were reading unvocalized Hebrew, it would be natural to read the way that they did.

The text of Codex Vaticanus is a big help to the text of Hosea that is why there is a book, Hosea: A Commentary based on Hosea in Codex Vaticanus written by scholar W. Edward Glenny. Codex Sinaiticus has no book of Hosea unlike Codex Vaticanus. 

Note: Images in the manuscripts of this post are owned by Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts except for Qumran Manuscripts and Masoretic text. Whoever uses the images above must ask for permission. The Qumran manuscripts’ images are found in The manuscript of Aleppo Codex can be found in 

1 comment:

  1. Siguradong mabudlayan gid na sila repute. Indi gid na nila masabat nga article. If ever alam ko na isasagot nila "bakit pa tayo mag greak eh bikol na bikol tayo" :)


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