Dr. Lobegott Friedrich Konstantin Von Tischendorf was one of the most eminent conservative Biblical Scholars of the nineteenth century. He was also one of the staunchest, most adamant defenders of the “Trinity” that history has known. One of his greatest lifelong achievements was the discovery of the oldest known Biblical Manuscript know to mankind, the “Codex Sinaiticus,” from Saint Catherine’s Monastery in Mount Sinai. One of the most devastating discoveries made from the study of this fourth century manuscript was that the Gospel of Mark originally ended at verses 16:8 and not at verse 16:20 as it does today. In other words, the last 12 verses (Mark 16:9 through Mark 16:20) were “injected” by the church into the Bible sometime after the 4th century. Clement of Alexandria and Origen never quoted these verses. Later on, it was also discovered that the said 12 verses, wherein lies the account of “the resurrection of Jesus,” do not appear in codices Syriacus, Vaticanus and Bobiensis. Originally, the “Gospel of Mark” contained no mention of the “resurrection of Jesus” (Mark 16:9-20). At least four hundred years (if not more) after the departure of Jesus, the Church received divine “inspiration” to add the story of the resurrection to the end of this Gospel.
The author of “Codex Sinaiticus” had no doubt that the Gospel of Mark came to an end at Mark 16:8, to emphasize this point we find that immediately following this verse he brings the text to a close with a fine artistic squiggle and the words “The Gospel according to Mark.” Tischendorf was a staunch conservative Christian and as such he managed to casually brush this discrepancy aside since in his estimation the fact that Mark was not an Apostle, nor an eye witness to the Ministry of Jesus, made his account secondary to those of the Apostles such as Matthew and John. However, as seen elsewhere in this Book, the majority of Christian scholars today recognize the writings of Paul to be the oldest of the writings of the Bible. These are closely followed by the “Gospel of Mark” and the “Gospels of Matthew and Luke” are almost universally recognized to have been based upon the “Gospel of Mark.” This discovery was the result of centuries of detailed and painstaking studies by these Christian scholars and the details cannot be repeated here. Suffice it to say that most reputable Christian scholars today recognize this as a basic indisputable fact.
Today, the translators and publishers of our modern Bibles are beginning to be a little more forthright and honest with their readers. Although they may not simply openly admit that these twelve verses were forgeries of the Church and not the word of God, still, at least they are beginning to draw the reader’s attention to the fact that there are two “versions” of the “Gospel of Mark” and then leave the reader to decide what to make of these two “versions.”
Now the question becomes “if the Church has tampered with the Gospel of Mark, then did they stop there or is there more to this story?. As it happens, Tischendorf also discovered that the “Gospel of John” has been heavily reworked by the Church over the ages. For example,
1. It was found that the verses starting from John 7:53 to 8:11 (the story of the woman taken in adultery) are not to be found in the most ancient copies of the Bible available to Christianity today, specifically, codices Sinaiticus or Vaticanus.
2. It was also found that John 21:25 was a later insertion, and that a verse from the gospel of Luke (24:12) that speaks of Peter discovering an empty tomb of Jesus is not to be found in the ancient manuscripts.
(For more on this topic please read ‘Secrets of Mount Sinai’ by James Bentley, Doubleday, NY, 1985).
Much of the discoveries of Dr. Tischendorf regarding the continuous and unrelenting tampering with the text of the Bible over the ages has been verified by twentieth century science. For example, a study of the Codex Sinaiticus under ultraviolet light has revealed that the “Gospel of John” originally ended at verse 21:24 and was followed by a small tail piece and then the words “The Gospel according to John.” However, some time later, a completely different “inspired” individual took pen in hand, erased the text following verse 24, and then added in the “inspired” text of John 21:25 which we find in our Bibles today.
The evidence of tampering goes on and on. For example, in the Codex Sinaiticus the “lord’s prayer” of Luke 11:2-4 differs substantially from the version which has reached us through the agency of centuries of “inspired” correction. Luke 11:2-4 in this most ancient of all Christian manuscripts reads:
“Father, Hallowed by thy name, Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so upon earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, as we ourselves also forgive everyone that is indebted to us. And bring us not into temptation.”
Further, the “Codex Vaticanus,” is another ancient manuscript held by the scholars of Christianity in the same reverent standing as the Codex Sinaiticus. These two fourth century codices are together considered the most ancient copies of the Bible available today. In the codex Vaticanus we can find a version of Luke 11:2-4 even shorter than that of Codex Sinaiticus. In this version even the words “Thy will be done, as in heaven, so upon earth.” are not to be found.
Well, what has been the official Church position regarding these “discrepancies”? How did the Church decide to handle this situation? Did they call upon all of the foremost scholars of Christian literature to come together in a mass conference in order to jointly study the most ancient Christian manuscripts available to the Church and come to a common agreement as to what was the true original word of God? No!
Well then, did they immediately expend every effort to make mass copies of the original manuscripts and send them out to the Christian world so that they could make their own decisions as to what truly was the original unchanged word of God? Once again, No!