Friday, August 30, 2013

How We Got the Bible: Manuscripts of the New Testament

In chapter three of the book, we read that New Testament Greek manuscripts are of two major types:  uncials, which are written in capital letters, and the cursives or minuscules which are written in smaller cursive-like letters.

Lightfoot goes on to list the three important uncials which are the oldest vellum (smooth thin writing surface of animal skin) manuscripts. These uncials are complete or almost complete copies of the New Testament and contain most of the Old Testament as well. They are as follows:

  1. The Vatican Manuscript:  From the fourth-century and located at the Vatican Library in Rome, it is widely acknowledged as being the most important witness on the text of the New Testament.
  2. The Sinaitic Manuscript:  Of almost equal importance to the Vatican Manuscript and has quite a story to it. Lightfoot devotes all of chapter 4 to this manuscript.
  3. The Alexandrian Manuscript:  From the fourth-century and so named because it is known to have resided in Alexandria for several centuries. It is the only Greek manuscript that includes 1 Clement. This is discussed more in chapter 14.  
Stand firm in Christ,

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