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5.0 out of 5 stars A book for us all
A well researched book with plenty to make one wish for more. It is an on going story, and one that will have some more turns and twists.
Published 12 months ago by william callan

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sensationalist & repeatedly inaccurate
This book includes some interesting information, copied from other sources, but it is spoilt by the author's sensationalist style and his clear antagonism to his subject matter, Tischendorf, Scripture and Christianity. Although the author was ordained as an Anglican priest in 1962, a number of years later he apparently left the church, becoming a full-time journalist,...
Published 19 months ago by TRA


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sensationalist & repeatedly inaccurate, 18 Feb 2013
This book includes some interesting information, copied from other sources, but it is spoilt by the author's sensationalist style and his clear antagonism to his subject matter, Tischendorf, Scripture and Christianity. Although the author was ordained as an Anglican priest in 1962, a number of years later he apparently left the church, becoming a full-time journalist, according to the biographical paragraph about him in the dust jacket, which was most probably written by him.

The author's extremely critical attitude to Tischendorf (exemplified in pp. 86-88 and also in many other places) seems to be inspired by his lack of sympathy for the simple form of Christianity that Tischendorf followed, that of an evangelical protestant who revered the authority of the Bible above all other authority.

The author constantly quotes from writers, but never gives page numbers or even the names of the works from which he is quoting, and his "Selected Bibliography" lists just three articles, eight books and some unpublished letters. This greatly reduces the value of the book for the purpose of serious research.

The book contains many factual errors that one would not have expected from the pen of a former Church of England vicar - such as "Barnabas introduced St Paul into Christianity" (pp. 171-2), Paul attacked idols in Ephesus (p. 69), Deuteronomy is "the fourth book in the Old Testament" (p. 159 - it is the fifth).

The author mistakenly claims that the Codex Sinaiticus "dramatically force[s] us to reconsider one crucial element in Christianity: the resurrection of Jesus Christ himself" (p. 23). This claim is not supported by the actual text of Codex Sinaiticus, which records the accounts in the gospels of Matthew, Luke and John of the resurrection appearances of Christ, as well as the angel reporting his resurrection in Mark's gospel. Codex Sinaiticus also includes the accounts of Christ's resurrection appearances in Acts chapter 1, the sermon of Peter on the Day of Pentecost in Acts chapter 2, which has as its central point the resurrection of Christ: "This Jesus God raised up, and of that all of us are witnesses" (vs. 32). It includes the preaching and teaching about the resurrection of Christ throughout the New Testament, including, naturally, the famous chapter on the resurrection, 1 Corinthians 15.

Bentley's book thus becomes a vehicle for the expression of his own loss of faith or lack of faith, and this detracts from the information it contains. He speaks (p. 148) of the "supposed appearances" of the resurrected Christ and turns (on p. 143) for scholarly support to a book published in 1924 (although, as usual, he does not provide the name of the book). By 1985, when Bentley's book was published, the theories from which he quoted had long since been shown to be based on inaccurate premises and mistaken understandings.

I note that James Charlesworth, who wrote the Foreword writes of the monks of St Catherine's monastery as being "abused by western imperialism". It is therefore with surprise that I read a few pages later (on p. 14) that in the late 1970s or early 1980s Bentley - for all his protests of respect for the monks - paid local people for a days' work with two cigarettes.

The book contains a helpful index and an appendix that reproduces extracts from a translation of "The Epistle of Barnabas" and "The Shepherd of Hermas".

Those desirous of knowing more would probably do better to read "Codex Sinaiticus" by Tischendorf himself, published in an English translation by the Lutterworth Press, apparently in 1934 (it is undated) and "Codex Sinaiticus: The Story of the World's Oldest Bible" by D. C. Parker, which is published by The British Library Publishing Division and is available from Amazon.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A book for us all, 4 Oct 2013
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A well researched book with plenty to make one wish for more. It is an on going story, and one that will have some more turns and twists.
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Secrets of Mount Sinai: Story of the Codex Sinaiticus
Secrets of Mount Sinai: Story of the Codex Sinaiticus by James Bentley (Hardcover - 23 Sep 1985)
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