In a few days, I hope to complete a post on the date of Codex Sinaiticus. It has been educational for me to revisit the arguments for the dating of this codex. One quotation that I found especially eye-opening was this admirably forthright comment from H.J.M. Milne and T.C. Skeat’s classic, Scribes and Correctors of the Codex Sinaiticus (1938):
“…the dangers of judging age on grounds of style are nowhere better illustrated than in the Sinaiticus itself, where the hands of scribes A and B present a markedly more archaic appearance than that of scribe D; did we not know that all three were contemporary, D might well have been judged half a century later than A and B.”
Let that sink in for a minute. The quite subtle differences between the writing of copyists A and B and the writing of copyist D would, in other circumstances, have led Milne and Skeat to assign copyist D to a period a full 50 years later than A/B, even though they are in fact contemporary.
This example is a good reminder that minute differences in the appearances of samples of Greek writing of the Roman era are not necessarily indicative of differences in the ages of the writing samples. Other factors, such as the personal tastes or skills of the copyist, could very well account for such differences.