Numerous people have had first hand contact with Codex Sinaiticus in the past 10 years. The Codex Sinaiticus Project began in 2002, with images being made available online in 2009.
We have been seeking observations from those who have personally seen and even handled the parchment pages of the codex.
One such person is Elisabeth Fritsch-Hartung, photographer at the Leipzig University Library, who photographed the white CFA pages in Leipzig. Elisabeth commented that:
"The pages were in a very good state according to conservation standards."
This comment appears to agree with the statements of Nikoli Morozov regarding the state of the pages that he observed in Russia. The good condition of the pages led Morozov to believe that they manuscript could not be of 4th century origin as Tischendorf claimed.
Sara Mazzarino, a participant in the Codex Sinaiticus Project at the British Library wrote in an article on inks in the CSP website:
"The Codex Sinaiticus inks have never been chemically characterized, and the type and proportions of ingredients mixed together have never been determined. Therefore, the composition of the writing media can only be roughly guessed by observing their visible characteristics and their degradation patterns. ... After more than 1600 years, it is clear that the quality of the writing medium originally used by the scribes was truly exceptional, as is the quality of the parchment. The ingredients appear to be well balanced creating a smooth and thin fluid perfect for writing on parchment. The recipe and the manufacturing technique seem to be exquisite too, revealing high craftsmanship and skilled experience for producing good quality inks. No significant degradation process seems to affect the writing media."
Sara describes the inks and parchment as "truly exceptional" based on the presupposition of the codex being more than 1600 years old with heavy use and handling over the centuries in multiple locations. Perhaps the exceptional condition of the inks and parchment indicate a need for re-examination of the presupposition.
Gavin Moorhead, also a participant in the Codex Sinaiticus Project, writes on the CSP website:
"Apart from a small percentage of folios with heavy ink corrosion, most of the folios appeared to have survived the rigours of 16 centuries with an unexpected lack of damage, suffering in the main only from small tears and losses along the head, tail, fore-edge and spine folds. Much of this damage is more likely attributable to mechanical damage than physical deterioration."
Once again, the "unexpected lack of damage" should trigger further investigation by the researchers into the actual age of the codex. The physical evidence of the exceptional, unexpected, good state of the manuscript reminds us of the saying "If it's too good to be true, it probably isn't".
The 1938 book SCRIBES AND CORRECTORS OF THE CODEX SINAITICUS (Milne and Skeat) states on page 71:
"The vellum is generally in good condition, retaining its 'life' and toughness except where, as on some of the edges of the leaves, it has been wet. In those places it is brittle and liable to crack. On most of the edges there were numerous short slits, and the inner margins of many leaves were badly slit and damaged."
The phrase "retaining its 'life' and toughness" is in stark contrast to descriptions of Codex Alexandrinus by both H.J.M. Milne and T.C. Skeat, and F.H.A Scrivener.
In the 1955 book, THE CODEX SINAITICUS AND CODEX ALEXANDRINUS: WITH SEVEN ILLUSTRATIONS, Milne and Skeat state that the vellum of Codex Alexandrinus has a:
"limp, dead appearance in marked contrast to the vellum of the Codex Sinaiticus"
In his 1875 book, Six Lectures on the Text of the New Testament and the Ancient Manuscripts, Scrivener states regarding Codex Alexandrinus:
"The vellum has fallen into holes in many places, and since the ink peels off for very age whensoever a leaf is touched a little roughly, no one is allowed to handle the manuscript except for good reasons."
These descriptions of a codex proported to be 100 years younger than Codex Sinaiticus make it sound much older. The condition of the 5th century Codex Alexandrinus begs for a re-examination of the 4th century date ascribed to Codex Sinaiticus!