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Chris Pinto vs. James White – Debate Summarized

The Chris Pinto vs. James White debate on whether Codex Sinaiticus is a modern forgery can be boiled down to a few considerations.

1) Constantine Simonides claimed that he wrote the document based on collating pre-existing manuscripts, and that his uncle corrected the document.

Both sides agree that he so claimed. Dr. White demonstrated that these claims are essentially impossible, as explained below.

2) The most sympathetic source for Simonides says that Simonides was not a truthful person.

Dr. White raised this point, and Pinto did not dispute it except to say that this source was not the only supportive source and that the source himself says Simonides did not always lie.

3) There are no known examplars that could have been the source for Codex Sinaiticus.

Dr. White raised this point, Pinto’s response was to point out that the source(s) could be as-yet-unknown manuscripts on Mt. Athos.

4) Codex Sinaiticus was written by several different, distinguishable scribes (as evidenced by different handwriting, different style of abbreviations, and different accuracy of work).

Dr. White raised this point, Pinto did not respond to it.

5) Codex Sinaiticus has corrections by multiple different correctors.

Dr. White raised this point, Pinto did not respond to it except to say that two other men (a monk and a scribe) may have been involved in the corrections.

6) The amount of time necessary for collating multiple manuscripts of the entire Bible (plus some apocrypha) would have been prohibitive in the timeline proposed by Simonides.

Dr. White raised this point, and Pinto responded that possibly his uncle started on the project years before Simonides began.

Additional notes:

1. Regarding the Mt. Athos manuscripts, there is an on-going digitization project (link). At one point, Mr. Pinto alleges that the one way to resolve the mystery was to explore the Mt. Athos library for manuscripts corresponding to Simonides’ claims. He won’t be able to stand behind that argument from ignorance forever.

2. Simonides himself states that the collation began after Simonides himself joined the project, as demonstrated by Dr. White. So, although the uncle allegedly had corrected the other manuscripts in advance, the collation project had not been done in advance, according to the primary source for Mr. Pinto’s theory.

Conclusion

The fact that the manuscript was written by several different scribes and was corrected by numerous additional hands makes it impossible for Simonides’ story to be true. The necessary hypothesis would be that Simonides deliberately altered his handwriting several different times during the writing of the manuscript to give the impression of different scribes. Such a hypothesis is simply implausible – there is no reason for Simonides to do this for the purpose of creating a text for the Czar (as he claimed).

The fact that collation of documents takes an enormous amount of time, especially when one of the documents is not in the base language (allegedly one of the manuscripts was a Syriac manuscript), also weighs against Simonides claim. While it might be conceivable that such a collation could take place, the necessary time and training for such a collation to be undertaken are simply not there.

The fact that the supposed exemplars of Sinaiticus do not produce the unique readings of Sinaiticus and the fact that some of these unique readings are found in later discovered papyri also weighs against Simonides’ claim.

In view of these facts, it’s hard to see how anyone could come to any other conclusion than that Simonides was not the scribe of Sinaiticus, whether or not Simonides actually did create a manuscript intended for the Czar.

-TurretinFan

P.S. I hesitated to post this, because I felt like the debate was unusually one-sided – it did not seem that Mr. Pinto had really any reasonable response for any of the questions posed to him or that he made any notable points that were difficult for Dr. White to address. Thus, I was afraid that my comments would look like “piling on” or kicking Mr. Pinto when he is down. However, since Mr. Pinto has apparently been misunderstanding silence from Dr. White’s friends as a lack of support, I thought it prudent to briefly summarize why the debate was so clearly a victory for my friend.

New World Order Bible Versions!

Tomorrow on the Dividing Line I am going to address the new trailer for “New World Order Bible Versions.” Take a look at it:

Now, I will be providing the context for part of the video, where they have, obviously, attempted to make it look like I walked out of the interview. Of course, I made sure we recorded the entire thing because we, sadly, had to suspect this kind of misrepresentation. That actually came after hours of discussion (in fact, I’d challenge Anderson and his people to release the entirety of the interview—let the viewers decide!) and the context was Anderson’s wild belief that the inconsistencies of the King James Version are actually grounds for doctrinal belief, specifically, in this case, the idea that Jesus went to hell for three days as a “burnt offering”! It became so ridiculous, and was so far removed from serious theology or exegesis, that I called an end to it (after nearly 3 hours—I will get the specific times tomorrow when I look at the sound file), especially in light of how agitated Anderson was becoming.

But, more importantly, take a look at the comments on this video. They are utterly amazing. Not only the vitriol and venom, but the utter incoherence of many of the writers is very telling.

Butler Explains Chris Pinto and Brannon Howse’s Bias

http://hipandthigh.wordpress.com/2013/09/20/chris-pintos-disingenuous-response-to-his-critics/

There is so much in Fred Butler’s article worthy to excerpt here (read it all), but here is a good point:

“Chris Pinto is going into David Barton territory with his Thomas Jefferson stuff. If I recall correctly, Brannon Howse has taken David Barton to task on that subject as well as posted articles by others. Well, here we have another guy who is spinning history to promote a particular agenda. His errors in misrepresenting the historical facts have been documented, and yet, both men dismiss it out of hand.”