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The trouble is that the numbers and dates that apologists use for other ancient documents to compare them to the NT are woefully out of date.
Christian apologists must be careful to be accurate. 404 BC), History of the Peloponnesian War Thucydides chronicled the Athenian war against the Peloponnesians.
) beginning from the ninth century (the majority belong to the fifteenth century).
Pliny the Elder (AD 23/24–79), Natural History Pliny the Elder (Gaius Plinius Secundus) authored Natural History, which was regarded as a scientific authority up to the Middle Ages.
University of Indiana Slavic professor Henry Cooper writes: “The most thorough description of the manuscript holdings of a Slavic country to date, conducted in 1965 on the territory of the then Soviet Union, yielded in all about 1,500 entries dating before the fifteenth century.
More than ninety-nine percent of these manuscripts were translations (usually from Greek), and the vast majority of those were of biblical books, especially portions of the gospels and the Psalms.” On the higher end, St.
University of Michigan Greek and Latin professor David Potter wrote: “Tacitus’s historical works descend in two manuscripts, one for books 1-6, another for 11-16 and the surviving portions of the history.”In contrast with these figures [of other ancient works], the textual critic of the New Testament is embarrassed by a wealth of material.
Instead of 10 there are 251 manuscripts (nearly a 2,500-percent increase!CLASSIC WORKS OF ANTIQUITY Christians argue that if historians will consider an ancient document to have been accurately transmitted whose manuscripts are few and far between the date the autograph was penned and its earliest extant copy, then they should accept documents as accurately transmitted whose manuscripts are comparatively many and comparatively near their autographs.For many years Christian apologists have employed the bibliographical test to argue that the NT has, indeed, been accurately transmitted: the NT surpasses all other ancient documents in sheer number of manuscripts and the nearness of the date between the autographs and extant manuscripts.On the contrary, the time between the composition of the books of the New Testament and the earliest extant copies is relatively brief.Instead of a lapse of a millennium or more, as is the case of not a few classical authors, several papyrus manuscripts of portions of the New Testament are extant that were copied within a century or so after the composition of the original documents.
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Although many are as late as the nineteenth century, others datefrom “the late third century.” Gothic—6 Metzger and Ehrman comment that “the most nearly complete of the half-dozen extant Gothic manuscripts (all of which are fragmentary) is a deluxe copy dating from the fifth or sixth century….