The reliability of these earliest complete copies of books is indicated by the fact that they closely correspond to earlier portions of books. We do not have the original manuscripts, but the earlier manuscripts from which our complete texts are descended have not perished without a trace. They correspond closely to our texts listed above, and it is a fair inference that the missing portions would show the same correspondence. From the 3rd century: two leaves of a codex with some of the text of chapters 1, 16 and 20 of John. In essence, he demonstrates that the Synoptic Gospels can only have taken shape in the Jewish culture of the first half of the 1st century A. Riesner, Jesus als Lehrer, Mohr, Tübingen 1988 The Birth of the Synoptic Gospels, Franciscan Herald Press, Chicago 1987, p.61 The Hebrew Christ. Blizzard, Understanding the Difficult Words of Jesus: New Insights from a Hebraic Perspective, Rev.
We now have 76 manuscripts of portions of the New Testament going back to the 4th century or earlier. It is now regarded as practically established that the four Gospels as we know them were circulating in Egypt as separate books within the first half of the second century. Looking at the table below, we can see that the oldest manuscripts of certain major works of Plato, Caesar, Cicero and Horace date from the 9th century; of Thucydides, Herodotus, Sophocles and Aristotle from the 10th; of Tacitus from the 11th—yet no one doubts that these manuscripts, though ever so many centuries later than their authors’ day, are, substantially, the uncorrupted descendants of the originals. D., and thus they evince the authenticity of their content and origin. Language in the Age of the Gospels, Franciscan Herald Press, Chicago 1989, p.324 A Hebrew Translation of the Gospel of Mark, 2nd. ed., Center for Judaic-Christian Studies, Dayton, Ohio 1994 De Vir.
Ignatius is among the earliest witnesses to an interest in biographical details of Jesus with his specifications of Mary’s pregnancy and Pilate’s role in the crucifixion.
Though Ignatius’s martyrdom (and letter writing date) is said by Eusebius to be in the tenth year of Trajan (108 CE), we have reasons to think that the letters may really have been composed considerably later.
Codex Vaticanus of the same period contains all the Gospels and most of the rest of the New Testament. French scholar Marcel Jousse in his own studies demonstrated the Semitic characteristics and rhythm of the sayings of Jesus as recorded in the Gospels. Codex Alexandrinus of the early 5th century contains almost all the New Testament. Other scholars point also to the wide use of shorthand and the carrying of notebooks in the Graeco-Roman world, the practice in schools of circulating lecture notes, and the common practice among the disciples of rabbis to make notes of their sayings. French scholar Jean Carmignac was struck by the Semitisms (Hebrew or Semitic way of writing and speaking) of the Greek text of St Mark’s Gospel when in 1963 he began to translate it into Hebrew. Evang., 1911; The Date of Acts and the Synoptic Gospels, Williams & Norgate, London, and Putnam, N. Theologische Quartalsch., Tübingen 1929, IV, pp.443-4 See a list of fifteen scholars in J. Codex Bezae of the 5th century contains, inter alia, the four Gospels. His work The Birth of the Synoptic Gospels summarises twenty years of research on the Hebrew language background to the Gospels. Wenham, Redating Matthew, Mark and Luke, Hodder and Stoughton, London 1991, p.299. Supporters of early dating also need to make sufficient room between Mark and the writing of Matthew and Luke, both of which they also date early — as early as 80 or 85 CE.Conservative scholars who favor an early date often rely heavily upon a fragment of papyrus from Qumran.Now that’s less subtle than an argument based on Paul’s influence on the Gospel of Mark.