Competition no. 206: results

Norman Collins asks for entries to do with the Codex Sinaiticus, the best-preserved Greek manuscript (about 400AD) of the New Testament, half the Old Testament and one or two non-canonical additions. It was discovered in 1844 in a monastery near Sinai. In 1933, partly as a result of public subscription, it was sold by the Soviet Union to the British Museum, and in 1934, ‘an enterprising publisher’ decided to publish it. (You can see a quarter of it here.) The Book Society immediately made it their ‘choice’.

However the competition is a little weird. Collins wants copy for advertisements for the Codex written by any of the following: Lady Houston, Ramsay MacDonald, Dean Inge, “a Well-Known West End Bookseller”, Dr. Buchman, and the Greek Archimandrite.

Collins has set a similar type of competition that included Inge and Macdonald (146 – see here), and both Inge and MacDonald were regular targets. The phrase “the Greek Archimandrite” foxes me. An Archimandrite is one below a bishop in the Greek Orthodox Church, and usually in charge of a monastery. It may be that he is referring to ‘Father Michael’ – then the leader of the the Greek Orthodox community in London, and much later a leading Greek Orthodox figure.

GreekLady Houston – Lucy, Lady Houston, although always known as ‘Poppy’ – is part of the competition story, however. There is a good blog about her here. After the debacle at ‘The Saturday Review’, Lady Houston bought the paper, and used it to attack the Labour government in particular, but any aspect of society she liked. Considered one of the wealthiest, if not the wealthiest woman in the world, and given to carrying fivers in her handbag to dispense to ‘tramps’, she had run through a lucrative relationship and three lucrative marriages (although she claimed that Churchill was in love with her). At one point threatened with being taken to an asylum, she left blank cheques on the desks of the Harley Street specialists to prevent it. She donated colossal sums to the save an air race trophy (it has been argued that she thereby ‘saved the Spitfire’). She was regular and entertaining newspaper copy.

Houston Dr. Buchman was Frank Buchman (1878-1961), an evangelist who inspired The Oxford Group in 1932, the movement that later became Moral Rearmament – a group that sought to be a bulwark against the ‘communist threat’. Not surprisingly, it was very much admired by the Express. Buchman had an uneasy relationship with Nazi Germany. Himmler invited him to the Nuremberg Rally, and Buchman was interested in Nazism, but was reasonably quick to recant any interest in Hitler, and he is credited with inspiring some European churches to stand up against Hitler. The German and UK establishment were both suspicious of him.


There are three competitors commended – E.V. Warne, Allan M. Laing and W. Leslie Nicholls, but the prizes go to Southron and Redling (who curiously often win at the same time, making me just slightly suspicious that they may be one and the same):



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