The minuscule script was a style of Greek writing used as a book hand during the ninth and tenth centuries in Byzantine manuscripts. The minuscule took the place of the Greek uncial, third and ninth centuries C.E. that resembles a modern capital letter but is more rounded. The minuscule differed from the uncial in that... Continue Reading →
This category can be somewhat confusing because the papyrus manuscripts were written in uncial letters. However, “uncial” is a term used to designate only the parchment manuscripts, written in uncial letters. For a very long time papyrus was used for penning literary works, while parchment was used for business papers, notebooks, and the first drafts... Continue Reading →
The earliest sources for the Greek New Testament are the papyri in codex (book-like) form. At present, there have been over 139 of these discovered, with eighty of these manuscripts dating between 100 – 300 C.E., with the number increasing 21 more papyri from 290-390 C.E., with a total of 139, dating between 100-500 C.E. If you see the papyri siglum (e.g. P66, P75, P108) is linked, this means that there is an article for that papyrus manuscript. If you see a superscripted + next to the papyrus and it is linked that is another article on the same papyrus manuscript (e.g., P66+ and P75+). Click on the papyrus siglum for one article and the + symbol for the second article. We are always adding new papyrus articles.
We have textual traditions or families of texts, which grew up in a certain region. For example, we have the Alexandrian text-type, which Westcott and Hort called the Neutral text that came from Egypt. Then, there is the Western text-type, which came from Italy and Gaul as well as North Africa and elsewhere. There was also the Caesarean text-type, which came from Caesarea and is characterized by a mixture of Western and Alexandrian readings. The Byzantine text-type, also called the Majority Text, came from Constantinople (i.e., Byzantium).
It is by means of the art and science of paleography that we can arrive at an approximate date when the manuscript was written. Paleographers could be viewed as manuscript detectives; through their knowledge of the writing of ancient texts, the forms, and styles, we get a reasonably close idea of when a manuscript was copied.
As we have noted elsewhere in other articles, the textual scholar looks at two forms of evidence: external (manuscripts) and internal (what the author or scribe wrote). Internal evidence concerns what might have led to scribal errors. Therefore, we will discuss scribal practices and tendencies, to get an image of how the Word of God came down to us by way of the copyist.
This article may be somewhat controversial because many modern textual scholars are not certain that we can get back to the original text.
Were the Apostle Illiterate? Over the past 150-years, many scholars have said that Jesus’ early disciples could not read and write and so they did not write down the teachings and deeds of Jesus but that they passed them on by word of mouth. Moreover, these same scholars say that throughout the decades of oral transmission, the historical account of Jesus’ ministry was expanded on, adapted, or elaborated on and exaggerated. Thus, they claim, the Gospels are far from being actual events. What is the truth?
"Collecting manuscript evidence is a laborious process, but it is straightforward in comparison to the evaluation process. In the collection process, the goal is to gather as much evidence as possible concerning various readings of a specific text. In the evaluation process, the aim is to determine which reading has the best support as the original reading. The evaluation process is complicated by the fact that scholars disagree about some of the evaluation principles and their relative importance." - Dr. Don Wilkins
One of the greatest tragedies in the modern-day history of Christianity [1980 - present] is that churchgoers have not been educated about the history of the New Testament text. In fact, they are so misinformed that many do not even realize that the Hebrew text lies behind our English Old Testament, and the Greek text lies behind our English New Testament. Sadly, many seminaries that train the pastors of today’s churches have also required little or no studies in the history of the Old or New Testament texts.