Dating greek manuscripts
The debate really comes down to the question: When was the New Testament written?And this question leads to another important question: Even if it was written at an early date, how do we know the New Testament that exists today is the same as the original?
So if copies of John were in circulation by 125, the others must have been written considerably earlier.These fragments are named with a "P" followed by a number.The vast majority of them were found in Egypt in the twentieth century, and are now kept in various museums and libraries throughout the world, including at Dublin, Ann Arbor, Cologny (Switzerland), the Vatican and Vienna.### Paleography: Dating Ancient Manuscripts Of course, the reliability of a given manuscript is based in large part on its age: earlier manuscripts are more likely to be accurate reflections of the original, so they are given more weight than later copies.It is therefore important for textual critics to know the dates of the manuscripts they are analyzing.Other important manuscripts date to the fourth and fifth centuries.
The manuscripts dating from 100 to 300 AD are almost entirely papyrus fragments.
In fact, "there is not a single copy wholly free from mistakes." That said, the variances are theologically inconsequential and the vast majority don't affect translation.
It is the task of textual criticism, therefore, to study and compare the available manuscripts in order to discern which of the variations conforms the closest to the original.
The earliest manuscript of the New Testament was discovered about 50 years ago.
P52 is a small papyrus fragment of the Gospel of John (-33 on the front; -38 on the back), and it has been dated to about 125 AD.
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