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  • Manuscripts




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      An Introduction to Biblical Manuscripts

                    


      Meet Lee Strobel

      Atheist-turned-Christian Lee Strobel, the former award-winning legal editor of The Chicago Tribune, is a New York Times best-selling author of more than twenty books and has been interviewed on numerous national TV programs, including ABC, Fox, PBS, and CNN. Described in the Washington Post as "one of the evangelical community's most popular apologists," Lee shared the Christian Book of the Year award in 2005 for a curriculum he co-authored with Garry Poole about the movie The Passion of the Christ. He also won Gold Medallions for his books The Case for Christ, The Case for Faith, and the The Case for a Creator, all of which have been made into documentaries distributed by Lionsgate. His latest books include The Case for the Real Jesus, The Unexpected Adventure (co-authored with Mark Mittelberg) and The Case for Christ Study Bible, which includes hundreds of notes and articles on why Christians believe what they believe. His first novel, a legal thriller called The Ambition, comes out in Spring, 2011. Lee was educated at the University of Missouri (Bachelor of Journalism degree, 1974) and Yale Law School (Master of Studies in Law degree, 1979). He was a professional journalist for 14 years at The Chicago Tribune and other newspapers, winning Illinois' top honors for investigative reporting (which he shared with a team he led) and public service journalism from United Press International. After a nearly two-year investigation of the evidence for Jesus, Lee became a Christian
      in 1981. 
          
      Is the Bible Reliable as a Historical Document?
       


      Top of Page




      There were several historians of the ancient world whose works are quite popular. Thucydides, who wrote History of the Peloponnesian
      War, lived from 460 BC to 400 BC. Virtually everything we know about the war comes from his history. Yet, the earliest copy of any manuscripts of Thucydides' work dates around 900 AD, a full 1,300 years later! The Roman historian Suetonius lived between AD 70 to 140 AD. Yet the earliest copy of his book The Twelve Caesars is dated around AD 950,
      a full 800 years later. The chart below reveals the time gaps of these
      and other works from the ancient world and compares them to the earliest New Testament manuscripts (taken from McDowell 1972:42,
      & Bruce 1943:16-17).


      (Total New Testament manuscripts = 5,300 Greek MSS,
      10,000 Latin Vulgates, 9,300 others = 24,000 copies)
      (Total MSS compiled prior to 600 AD = 230)
       

       

      Author

      Date Written

      Earliest Copy

      Time Span

      Copies (extent)

      Secular Manuscripts:
      Herodotus (History) 480 - 425 BC 900 AD 1,300 years

      8

      Thucydides (History) 460 - 400 BC 900 AD 1,300 years

      ?

      Aristotle (Philosopher) 384 - 322 BC 1,100 AD 1,400 years

      5

      Caesar (History) 100 - 44 BC 900 AD 1,000 years

      10

      Pliny (History) 61 - 113 AD 850 AD 750 years

      7

      Suetonius (Roman History) 70 - 140 AD 950 AD 800 years

      ?

      Tacitus (Greek History) 100 AD 1,100 AD 1,000 years

      20

      Biblical Manuscripts: (note: these are individual manuscripts)

      Magdalene Ms (Matthew 26)

      1st century

      50-60 AD

      co-existant (?)

       

      John Rylands (John)

      90 AD

      130 AD

      40 years

       

      Bodmer Papyrus II (John)

      90 AD

      150-200 AD

      60-110 years

       

      Chester Beatty Papyri (N.T.)

      1st century

      200 AD

      150 years

       

      Diatessaron by Tatian (Gospels)

      1st century

      200 AD

      150 years

       

      Codex Vaticanus (Bible)

      1st century

      325-350 AD

      275-300 years

       

      Codex Sinaiticus (Bible)

      1st century

      350 AD

      300 years

       

      Codex Alexandrinus (Bible)

      1st century

      400 AD

      350 years

      What one notices almost immediately from the table is that the New Testament manuscript copies which we possess today were compiled very early, a number of them hundreds of years before the earliest copy of a secular manuscript. This not only shows the importance the early Christians gave to preserving their scriptures, but the enormous wealth we have today for early Biblical documentation. What is even more significant however, are the differences in time spans between the original manuscripts and the copies of both the biblical and secular manuscripts. It is well known in historical circles that the closer a document can be found to the event it describes the more credible it is. The time span for the biblical manuscript copies listed above are all within 350 years of the originals, some as early as 130-250 years and one even purporting to coexist with the original (i.e. the Magdalene Manuscript fragments of Matthew 26), while the time span for the secular manuscript copies are much greater, between 750-1,400 years! This indeed gives enormous authority to the biblical manuscript copies, as no other ancient piece of literature can make such close time comparisons.


      Top of Page



      Author Date
      Written
      Earliest Copy Approximate Time Span between original & copy Number of Copies Accuracy of Copies

      Lucretius

      died 55 or 53 B.C.

       

      1100 yrs

      2

      ----

      Pliny

      61-113 A.D.

      850 A.D.

      750 yrs

      7

      ----

      Plato

      427-347 B.C.

      900 A.D.

      1200 yrs

      7

      ----

      Demosthenes

      4th Cent. B.C.

      1100 A.D.

      800 yrs

      8

      ----

      Herodotus

      480-425 B.C.

      900 A.D.

      1300 yrs

      8

      ----

      Suetonius

      75-160 A.D.

      950 A.D.

      800 yrs

      8

      ----

      Thucydides

      460-400 B.C.

      900 A.D.

      1300 yrs

      8

      ----

      Euripides

      480-406 B.C.

      1100 A.D.

      1300 yrs

      9

      ----

      Aristophanes

      450-385 B.C.

      900 A.D.

      1200

      10

      ----

      Caesar

      100-44 B.C.

      900 A.D.

      1000

      10

      ----

      Livy

      59 BC-AD 17

      ----

      ???

      20

      ----

      Tacitus

      circa 100 A.D.

      1100 A.D.

      1000 yrs

      20

      ----

      Aristotle

      384-322 B.C.

      1100 A.D.

      1400

      49

      ----

      Sophocles

      496-406 B.C.

      1000 A.D.

      1400 yrs

      193

      ----

      Homer (Iliad)

      900 B.C.

      400 B.C.

      500 yrs

      643

      95%

      New
      Testament

      1st Cent. A.D. (50-100 A.D.

      2nd Cent. A.D.
      (c. 130 A.D. f.)

      less than 100 years

      5600

      99.5%

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      JERUSALEM -- Two thousand years after they were written and decades after they were found in desert caves, some of the world-famous Dead Sea Scrolls
      went online for the first time Monday in a project launched by Israel's national museum and the Web giant Google.
      The appearance of five of the most important Dead Sea Scrolls on the Internet is part of a broader attempt by the custodians of the celebrated manuscripts -- who were once criticized for allowing them to be monopolized by small circles of scholars to make them available to anyone with a computer.
      Read more... 



      Please click on the manuscripts below to see and read them
      in a Digital Format. First time ever to read these on your own
      computer thanks to Google and the Israel Museum.


       



      Read more about the Old Testament Manuscripts that have been found.
       

      Top of Page


      Meet Dr. Ravi Zacharias

      For 36 years Ravi Zacharias has spoken all over the world and in numerous universities, notably Harvard, Princeton, and Oxford University. He has addressed writers of the peace accord in South Africa, the president's cabinet and parliament
      in Peru, and military officers at the Lenin Military Academy and the Center for Geopolitical Strategy in Moscow. At the invitation of the President of Nigeria, he addressed delegates at the First Annual Prayer Breakfast for African Leaders held
      in Mozambique.

      Dr. Zacharias has direct contact with key leaders, senators, congressmen, and governors who consult him on an ongoing basis. He has addressed the Florida Legislature and the Governor�s Prayer Breakfast in Texas, and has twice spoken
      at the Annual Prayer Breakfast at the United Nations in New York, which marks
      the beginning of the UN General Assembly each year. As the 2008 Honorary Chairman of the National Day of Prayer, he gave addresses at the White House,
      the Pentagon, and The Cannon House. He has had the privilege of addressing the National Prayer Breakfasts in the seats of government in Ottawa, Canada, and London, England, and speaking at the CIA in Washington, DC.

      Dr. Zacharias was born in India in 1946 and immigrated to Canada with his family twenty years later. While pursuing a career in business management, his interest in theology grew; subsequently, he pursued this study during his undergraduate education. He received his Masters of Divinity from Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois. Well-versed in the disciplines of comparative religions, cults, and philosophy, he held the chair of Evangelism and Contemporary Thought at Alliance Theological Seminary for three and a half years. Mr. Zacharias has been honored by the conferring of a Doctor of Divinity both from Houghton College, NY, and from Tyndale College and Seminary, Toronto, and a Doctor of Laws from Asbury College in Kentucky. He is presently Senior Research Fellow at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford University in Oxford, England.

      Dr. Zacharias has been a visiting scholar at Cambridge University, where he studied moralist philosophers and literature of the Romantic era. While at Cambridge he also authored his first book, A Shattered Visage: The Real Face of Atheism, updated and republished in 2004 by Baker as The Real Face of Atheism. His second book, Can Man Live without God (Word, 1994), was awarded the Gold Medallion for best book in the category of doctrine and theology, and Jesus Among Other Gods (Word, 2000) was nominated for a Gold Medallion. In all, Mr. Zacharias has authored or edited over twenty books, including Walking from East to West (Zondervan, 2006), The Grand Weaver (Zondervan, 2007), and Beyond Opinion (Thomas Nelson, 2008), which includes contributions from Ravi Zacharias International Ministries� global team. His latest books are The End of Reason: A Response to the New Atheists (Zondervan, 2008) and Has Christianity Failed You (Zondervan, 2010). Several of his books have been translated into Russian, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Spanish, and other languages.

      At the invitation of Billy Graham, Mr. Zacharias was a plenary speaker at the International Conference for Itinerant Evangelists in Amsterdam in 1983, 1986, and 2000. He is listed as a distinguished lecturer with the Staley Foundation and has appeared on CNN, Fox, and other international broadcasts. His weekly radio program, �Let My People Think,� is aired on more than 1700 outlets worldwide, and his weekday program, �Just Thinking,� on over 400. He is the Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, with additional offices in Canada, India, Singapore, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, and Hong Kong. Mr. Zacharias and his wife, Margie, have three grown children. They reside in Atlanta.  


      Top of Page



      Why the Bible?





      Click on the picture below to go to Archeology




      Top of Page



      Click of the Author's Pictures below to go to their Website's.


      Lee Strobel


       

      Dr. Ravi Zacharias




      Josh McDowell




      Bible Manuscripts

      Are they Reliable?

       Origin of the Bible 

          Who preserved them?

       Who trasnlated them





      Click on the picture below to learn about all the people who were involved in translating and preserving the Bible
      at the risk of their own lives.

      William Tyndale

      <
       
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