So, how well does the New Testament compare with other ancient writings with regard to both the number of copies and the time gap from the originals? More than 5,000 manuscripts of the New Testament exist today in the original Greek language. When counting translations into other languages, the number is a staggering 24,000—dating from the 2nd to 4th centuries.
Compare that with the second-best-documented ancient historical manuscript, Homer’s Iliad, with 643 copies.8 And remember that most ancient historical works have far fewer existing manuscripts than that one does (usually fewer than 10). New Testament scholar Bruce Metzger remarked, “In contrast with these figures [of other ancient manuscripts], the textual critic of the New Testament is embarrassed by the wealth of his material.”9 Josh McDowall, The New Evidence That Demands A Verdict (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1999), 38.
Published on Thursday, August 1, 2013 @ 4:00 AM CDT