Memebuster: “The Sinai Bible”
I was sent this meme/picture by an atheist I was conversing with on Twitter today, and it gave me the idea of adding a section to the blog for unpacking this kind of image and running them through a fact check. Images like this are often rhetorically powerful, packing a 5 second punch that takes more than 5 seconds to respond to.
This is one of the strategies used online by some atheists when discussing Christianity. Rather than reply to a communication by typing a response, they will simply plonk in a picture like this one and let it do the talking. It’s actually hard to respond to these in a timely, effective manner, even when they are as bad as this one. Maybe I need to have some canned answers I could lob into discussions too!
Like many of these memes, even a quick inspection is enough to discover that the claims it makes are either factually wrong or completely pointless. Maybe it’s unfair to start with one so bad, but this is the one that was sent to me like it was some kind of a trump card, so here is where I will start. Let’s walk through the claims one-by-one:
1. The Oldest Version of the Bible is the Sinai Bible
A minor, nitpicky point, but the “Sinai Bible” is more accurately called the Codex Sinaiticus, and is really a codex, not a bible. A codex is a collection of writings collated into a book, and accordingly Codex Sinaiticus contains both canonical scriptures and other non-canonical Christian writings.
While Codex Sinaiticus (330-360 AD) is often referred to as the “Oldest Bible in the World” in media articles, another ancient book, Codex Vaticanus, is from the same time-period and often estimated to be slightly older (300-325 AD).
2. Housed in the British Museum
Another unimportant factual error, but Codex Sinaiticus generally resides in the British Library, not the British Museum. On two occasions the Library has allowed the Museum to borrow the codex for its displays (once in 1990, and in August this year).
3. 14,800 Differences Between Codex Sinaiticus and the King James Version
This is where the claims start to get really wild…
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