Monday, 14 January 2013

5700 NT Manuscripts

  Finally, conspicuous by its absence in Misquoting Jesus is any comparison between the copies of the New Testament and other ancient Greek or Latin literature. Whatever doubts we cast on the text of the New Testament must be cast a hundredfold on virtually any other ancient book. The New Testament manuscripts stand closer to the original and are more plentiful than probably any other literature of that era. The New Testament is far and away the best-attested work of Greek or Latin literature from the ancient world.
  Approximately five thousand seven hundred Greek New Testament manuscripts are known to exist. The number of sources is growing. Every decade and virtually every year, new manuscripts are discovered. Meanwhile, the average classical author's writings are found in about twenty manuscripts. The New Testament - in the Greek manuscripts alone - exceeds this figure by almost three hundred times. Besides the Greek manuscripts, there are Latin, Coptic, Syriac, Armenian, Gothic, Georgian, Arabic, and many other versions of the New Testament. The Latin manuscripts number more than ten thousand. All told, the New Testament is represented by approximately one thousand times as many manuscripts as the average classical author's writings. Even the well-known authors - such as Homer and Herodotus - simply can't compare to the quantity of copies enjoyed by the New Testament. Homer, in fact, is a distant second in terms of manuscripts, yet there are fewer than two thousand five hundred copies of Homer remaining today. What this means is that New Testament textual critics don't lack for materials!
  [...] We have between ten and fifteen manuscripts within one hundred years of the completion of the New Testament, and more than four dozen within two centuries. Of manuscripts produced before AD 400, an astounding ninety-nine still exist - including the oldest complete New Testament, Codex Sinaiticus. [...] Meanwhile, the earliest copies of the average classical Greek or Latin author come from more than five hundred years after the date of composition.
  -- p. 48-50, Dethroning Jesus: Exposing Popular Culture's Quest To Unseat The Biblical Christ by Darrell L. Bock & Daniel B. Wallace (bold mine)

I hope this helps you.

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