We have six-thousand manuscripts, or portions of manuscripts, just to the New Testament alone. If we pull in the Old Testament, we’d push over the twenty-thousand mark, but let’s just talk about the New Testament, because that’s what everybody’s attacking.
Six-thousand manuscripts, or portions of manuscripts, of the New Testament alone. Six-thousand. Now, you may not be impressed by that number. But, let me share with you: Julius Caesar’s Gallic Wars. We’ve got less than a dozen copies of Julius Caesar’s Gallic Wars. How do we know what we know about Julius Caesar? Through Julius Caesar’s Gallic Wars. We’ve got less than a dozen copies.
New Testament? Six-thousand. Julius Caesar’s Gallic Wars, less than a dozen.
How about Aristotle’s poetics? Aristotle’s poetics; that’s how we know about the writings of Aristotle! We’ve got less than ten copies of Aristotle’s poetics.
New Testament? Six-thousand manuscripts or portions of manuscripts. Aristotle’s poetics, less than ten.
How about the writings of Socrates? How many manuscripts do we have of the writings of Socrates? Answer: Zero. The only thing we know about Socrates is that which was written by Plato. There are no surviving writings of Socrates. None. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada.
New Testament? Six-thousand manuscripts or portions of manuscripts. The writings of Socrates, none.
‘Yes, but I heard we don’t have any of the originals.’ You’re right, we don’t have any of the originals. You’re right. As a matter of fact, the earliest thing we can put our hands on was written down probably about A.D. 120. Which is around two and a half decades of the writings of the originals.
‘Ha! Gotcha!’ Yeah, you got me.
Julius Caesar’s Gallic Wars; earliest thing we can touch: a thousand years after the original.
Aristotle’s poetics; earliest thing we can touch: fourteen hundred years after the originals.
Socrates; got nothing!
Homer’s Iliad; the earliest thing we can put our hands on: two-thousand one hundred years after the original.
New Testament? Within two and a half decades.
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