Note: This is just a short post to keep things moving along: more coming shortly. Join us shortly on this site and Judah's Glory for "In a KJV Minute": 60 second 'facts of the day' on the KJV Controversy, &the preservation of the Masoretic text for Hebrew translation and the TR for Greek.
When Count von Tischendorf brought back 43 leaves of the Codex Sinaiticus, most who are already familiar with the modern translation controversy, are aware that after purchase by Frederick, the manuscripts found their way to the Westminister Library in the UK. Many are also aware that the leaves, still archived at Westminister, both then and now came under controversy, as the Count claimed he was given the leaves for a fee with a promise to return for more, and the abbey posited some questions about the transaction. Tischendorf himself though describes his initial 'discovery' of the texts while visiting St. Catherines at Sinai:
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 these, 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-three sheets, all the more readily as they were destined for the fire. But I could not get them to yield up possession of the remainder. The too lively satisfaction which I had displayed had aroused their suspicions as to the value of this manuscript. I transcribed a page of the text of Isaiah and Jeremiah, and enjoined on the monks to take religious care of all such remains which might fall in their way.1
What was the text which Tischendorf saw, that we refer to as the Sinaiticus? Simply, by the admission of the steward of the Abbey, it was not a previously undiscovered text of the standard bible, but it was called by the steward of the Abbey, the SEPTUAGINT.
"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.
The 'Septuagint' was a Greek Bible, Old and New Testament (the new as always in Greek or Aramaic), and by many was considered the 'find of the century' because many scholars posited that the Septuagint was the Tenach used by Jesus in quoting scripture, though the evidence for this is faulty and flimsy since Jesus would never have used a Greek copy of the Scriptures, and since at the time of Jesus and ever since, the implied 'Septuagint' was a fabled work supposedly composed all at once by 70 rabbinical scholars in a miracle reported by 'Aristeas' a shadowy character referred to in ancient literature at various times over several hundred years. (2) The Septuagint modern scholars referred to was the greek translation of the Old Testament or Tenach in the fifth colum of the Hexepla, a work by Origin which could best be described as an ancient 'Amplified bible'. Origin's work though was not an original Greek text, but the hebrew translated into Greek AFTER the time of Jesus. Most likely, the great 'find' of Tischendorf was one of the known copies, or the emulated copy which was referred to by Constantine Simonides.
Tischendorf and his 'Codex Fred' (amusingly referred to by scholars) was less of a discovery, and may have been far more of a useful tool in administering a plan to undercut the traditional texts, both hebrew and Greek of the Bible in order to bring about a furthering of the 'Enlightenment', removing the voracious loyalty of believers to the scriptures, for motives which are many and still not all exposed. That Tischendorf was of the group of scholars wishing to overthrow the Erasmus Greek and the Masoretic Hebrew, the 'Received Texts' of history, is made clear in the following passage---it is no secret that his dismissal of most of the manuscript evidence up to his time was due to his and others clear intent to overthrow what was then over 4800 years of preserved Bible text transmission:
Learned men have again and again attempted to clear the sacred text from these extraneous elements. But we have at last hit upon a better plan even than this, which is to set aside this altogether, and to construct a fresh text, derived immediately from the most ancient and authoritative sources. This is undoubtedly the right course to take, for in this way only can we secure a text approximating as closely as possible to that which came from the Apostles.1