HOME WRITE TO ME... REFERENCES

Neil's Website | Ajit's Website

 

CHAPTER FIVE

Important Papyri Evidences for new testament scriptures

Bodmer XIV and XV: P75 (200 AD)

This early third century manuscript contains almost all of Luke, and also of John. 

Oxyrhynchus Papyrus 2: P1 (200 AD)

P1, fittingly contains Matthew 1. This is one of many parchments which have been found in the rubbish dumps of Oxyrhychus, Egypt. Their discovery began in 1898, uncovering not only early Christian text, but all sorts of ancient literature. Now there are over 50 New Testament manuscripts from this site.

There are three New Testament manuscripts that are part of the Chester Beatty Papyri.

  P. I, is labeled under the Gregory-Aland numbering system as P45 and was originally a codex of 110 leaves that contained the four canonical gospels and Acts.

30 fragmentary leaves consist of

o       Gospel of Matthew chapters 20/21 and 25/26,

o       portions of the Gospel of Mark chapters 4-9, 11-12,

o       portions of the Gospel of Luke 6-7, 9-14,

o       portions of the Gospel of John 4-5, 10-11, and

o        portion of the Acts of the Apostles 4-17.

 

The ordering of the gospels follows the Western tradition, Matthew, John, Luke, Mark, Acts. These fragments are palaeographically dated to the first half of the 3rd century.

File:P. Chester Beatty I, folio 13-14, recto.jpg

P. Chester Beatty I, (P45) folio 13-14, containing portion of the Gospel of Luke

P. II

o       P46 is the second New Testament manuscript in the Chester Beatty collection, and was a codex that contained the Pauline Epistles dating c. 200.

o       What remains today of the manuscript is roughly 85 out of 104 leaves consisting of Romans chapters 5-6, 8-15, all of Hebrews, Ephesians, Galatians, Philippians, Colossians, virtually all of 1–2 Corinthians and 1 Thessalonians 1-2, 5.

P. III

 is the last New Testament manuscript, P47, and contains 10 leaves from the Book of Revelation, chapters 9-17. This manuscript also dates to the 3rd century

A folio from P46 containing 2 Corinthians 11:33-12:9

Paul's letter to the Romans from the Chester Beatty museum:

The discovery of these Papyri collection was made in 1931

The papyri containing such large portions of the New Testaments verifying their existence in a time when Christianity was experiencing extensive persecution and destruction of its scriptures is of great importance.

 These form the earliest surviving codex of the gospels and acts, the earliest copy of Saint Paul's Letters and the earliest copy of the Book of Revelation, as well as many other early or unique versions of homilies, epistles or pseudo-canonical texts.

The Letters of St. Paul

The Permanent display of the Pauline Letters, Chester Beatty Library, Dublin.

They have been dated from 200-250 AD.

We can therefore conclude that the gospels were written prior to at least 250 AD.

 
Earlier Than 180 AD


Tatian the Assyrian was a Christian theologian who lived from 120 to 180 AD. Perhaps his most important work was a text known as the “Diatessaron”; it is a paraphrase (or “harmony”) of the four gospels. This work became the standard text for the Syriac speaking Christian churches for nearly 500 years. It was obviously written prior to Tatian’s death in 180 AD and demonstrates that the four gospels were already in circulation and well known by the time Tatian took on the task of harmonizing them.

Bodmer Papyrus II: P66 (175 AD)

Third fragment contains a nearly complete gospel of John. It is the oldest of the Bodmer papyri, a set of 22 papyri which were discovered in Egypt in 1952

Earlier Than 150 AD

Justin Martyr, in his “First Apology” (150 AD) quotes and alludes to the Gospel of John Chapter 3 (1 Apol. 61, 4-5). This is consistent with the fact that Justin was Tatian’s teacher and surely knew what Tatian knew about the existing gospels. Justin’s use of the Gospel of John pushes the dating back an additional 30 years to 150 AD.

Oxyrhynchus papyrus 2683: P77 (150 AD)

This papyrus contains Matthew 23:30-39.

Chester Beatty Papyrus I: P45 (150 AD)

 P45, contains sections of all four gospels and also Acts. including Matthew 20-21 and 25-26; Mark 4-9 and 11-12; Luke 6-7 and 9-14; John 4-5 and 10-11; and Acts 4-17. indicating the existence of all four gospels by 150 AD.

  P47 contain portions of Revelations: chapters 9-17.

Chester Beatty Papyrus II: P46 (150 AD)

P46, contains most of Paul’s letters: the majority of Romans; Hebrews; 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Ephesians, Galatians, Philippians, Colossians; and two chapters of 1 Thessalonians. Although usually dated around 150-200 AD, it is written in a handwriting which has only ever been found in first century manuscripts, and so some people suggest it could be much earlier. Since we know that Paul's letters were written early in the Church formation this is very possible.

A folio from P46 containing 2 Corinthians 11:33-12:9


Earlier Than 130 AD
According to Eusebius, Papias of Hierapolis mentioned writings by Matthew and Mark when he (Papias) wrote his five-volume “Exposition of the Oracles of the Lord” around 130 AD. This is consistent with the fact that the famous “Ryland’s Papyri” contains a fragment of John’s gospel dating to the same period of time (130 AD). The Ryland’s Papyri was discovered in Egypt and contained thousands of papyrus fragments. It is reasonable to conclude that the Gospel of John was completed long before 130 AD given the fact that it was obviously written, copied and transmitted from Greece to Egypt over some period of time before it became part of this collection.

Oxyrhynchus Papyrus 4446: P104 (125-150 AD)

P104, was another Oxyrhynchus piece salvaged from the rubbish, which contains part Matthew 21.

Earlier Than 120 AD

Polycarp was a disciple of the Apostle John (or perhaps John the Evangelist) and later became the Bishop of Smyrna in the second century. He is regarded as one of the three foremost Apostolic Fathers and the only surviving work from Polycarp is a letter he wrote to the Philippian Church in 120 AD. Polycarp quoted from the gospels and other letters of the New Testament in this document; it is therefore reasonable to conclude that the gospels were in existence and well known prior to 120 AD.

Rylands Library Papyrus I: P52 (117-138 AD)

This is the earliest fragment from the New Testament and dates back to 117-138 AD. It contains parts of John 18:31-33 and John 18:37-38 on the back, which talk about the trial of Jesus.

This is what it reads translated in English

 It is not lawful for us to put to death
No one; that the word of Jesus might be fulfilled;
Which he spoke signifying by what death
He was about to die. Entered therefore into the
Praetorium again Pilate and called
Jesus and said to him, "Are you the King of
The Jews?"
Jn 18:31-33

For this I have been born, and for this I have been born into
The world that I may bear witness to the truth.
Everyone that is of the truth hears my voice.
Says to him Pilate, "what is truth?"
And this having said again, he went out
To the Jews and says to them;
I not any fault find in him.
Jn 18:37-38

 

A few verses of Philemon: P87 (125 AD)

This fragment contains Philemon 13-15 as well as the epilogue (v24-25).

Papyrus 87, recto

As is clear from these archaeological findings of the various papyri, all of the portions of the New Testament were in full acceptance and existence soon after the first century.  What would that tell us about the validity of accuracy of the Scriptures knowing that all the texts were in place within 70 years of the resurrection of Jesus? What we have is not the original copies of the texts but copies of the copies as handed down through years. Evidently these were in circulation long before this time.

The following table lists the earliest extant manuscript witnesses for the books of the New Testament if we stop here.

Book

Earliest Extant
Manuscript

Date

Condition

Matthew

P64, P67, P104

c. 200

Fragments

Mark

P45

c. 250

Large Fragments

Luke

P4, P75

c. 200

Fragment

John

P52

c. 125-160

Fragment

Acts

P38, P45, P91, P48

early 3rd century

Fragment

Romans

P46

c. 175-225

Fragments

1 Corinthians

P46

c. 175-225

Fragments

2 Corinthians

P46

c. 175-225

Fragments

Galatians

P46

c. 175-225

Fragments

Ephesians

P46

c. 175-225

Fragments

Philippians

P46

c. 175-225

Fragments

Colossians

P46

c. 175-225

Fragments

1 Thessalonians

P46

c. 175-225

Fragments

2 Thessalonians

P92

3rd/4th century

Fragment

1 Timothy

א

c. 350

Complete

2 Timothy

א

c. 350

Complete

Titus

P32

c. 200

Fragment

Philemon

P87

3rd century

Fragment

Hebrews

P46

c. 175-225

Fragments

James

P23, P20

3rd century

Fragment

1 Peter

MS 193[28]

3rd century

Fragments

2 Peter

P72

3rd/4th century

Fragments

1 John

P9

3rd century

Fragment

2 John

0232

3rd/4th century

Fragment

3 John

א

c. 350

Complete

Jude

P72

3rd/4th century

Fragments

Revelation

P98

2nd century

Fragment

Revelation

P115

3nd century

Fragment

 

Book

Dates determined by scholars

Earliest Known Fragment

Gospel of Matthew

60-85 CE

 104 (150–200 CE)

Gospel of Mark

60-70 CE

 88 (350 CE)

Gospel of Luke

60-90 CE

4, 75 (175–250 CE)

Gospel of John

80-95 CE

52 (125–160 CE)

Acts

60-90 CE

29, 45, 48, 53, 91 (250 CE)

Romans

57–58 CE

46 (late 2nd century or 3rd century CE)

Corinthians

57 CE

46 (late 2nd century or 3rd century CE)

Galatians

45-55 CE

46 (late 2nd century or 3rd century CE)

Ephesians

65 CE

46 (late 2nd century or 3rd century CE)

Philippians

57–62 CE

46 (late 2nd century or 3rd century CE)

Colossians

60 CE +

46 (late 2nd century or 3rd century CE)

1 Thessalonians

50 CE

46 (late 2nd century or 3rd century CE)

2 Thessalonians

50 CE

92 (300 CE)

Timothy

60-100 CE

Codex Sinaiticus (350 CE)

Titus

60-100 CE

32 (200 CE)

Philemon

56 CE

87 (3rd century CE)

Hebrews

80-90 CE

46 (late 2nd century or 3rd century CE)

James

50-200 CE

20, ݔ?23 (early 3rd century CE)

First Peter

60-96 CE

72 (3rd/4th century CE)

Second Peter

60-130 CE

72 (3rd/4th century CE)

Epistles of John

90-100 CE

9, Uncial 0232, Codex Sinaiticus (3rd/4th century CE)

Jude

66-90 CE

72 (3rd/4th century CE)

Revelation

68-100 CE

98 (150–200 CE)

 

Kurt & Barbara Aland:  The Text of the New Testament 1981

Notice the amount of Gospel documents which gives us the assurance that they were carried through generations with fidelity and least amount of information corruption.

To this came the surprise finds as given below

The Jesus Papyrus - Earliest Fragments - Eyewitness documents.

The Magdalen papyrus: P4/P64/P67 (40-60 AD)

They were discovered in Luxor, Egypt. P4 was found stuffed in the binding of a codex of Philo. These together contain portions of Matthew and Luke. 

In 1901, a clergyman bought three small fragments of the Magdalen Papyrus, parts of the Gospel of Matthew, on the antiquities market in Egypt. He donated them to Magdalen College in Oxford, England, (Hence the name) where they were placed in an inconspicuous display case and forgotten.

 

But in 1994, Dr. Carsten Peter Thiede re-examined them and found that they were copies of the original Gospel of Matthew, dating to A.D. 40-70, and were in fact an eyewitness account written by one of Christ's contemporaries.

 

Papyrus 64

The hard evidence confirming that St. Matthew's Gospel is the account of an eyewitness to Jesus.

www.preteristarchive.com/Ancient_Revelations/.../P_magdalen.pdf reports:

"In 1901, Charles Huleatt sent three small scraps of a Greek manuscript to his alma mater in

England—the Oxford college of Magdalen. Huleatt was a knowledgeable papyrologist (one who

studies ancient papyri manuscripts), who had previously acquired the fragments in Egypt. He

tentatively identified these three scraps of papyrus as containing Matthew 26:7-8, 10, 14-15, 22-23, 31, and 32-33 (there is writing on both sides, giving a total of six brief passages) and dated them as coming from the third century. When the manuscripts arrived at Magdalen College, they were re-dated by a recognized papyrologist as coming from the fourth century. Because these manuscripts were small (the largest is only 1 5/8 X 1/2 in.) and presumably relatively late (dated in 1901 as coming from the fourth century), these small scraps of papyrus were relegated to an unimposing library display case. And there they remained until 1953. In 1953, a papyrologist by the name of Colin Roberts again re-dated them to the late part of the second century. Even with this earlier date, they commanded little attention.

Then, in 1994, Carsten Thiede, a well-recognized German papyrologist, publicly announced that these manuscript portions were from the mid-first century.  He dated them as having been written before 70 C.E. His work was carefully based on the best available information and technology (including a laser microscope examination of the manuscript for faint ink traces).

"I do not give a precise date, but suggest a date in the last third of the first century: The ‘starting point’ is the middle of the century; I allow for a variation of c. 20 years + / - and then opt for the later end, ‘soon after A.D. 70’" says Thiede.

That gives the date   50 +/- 20 which is between 30 - 70 AD.

If Thiede's date is accurate, these papyrus fragments are the earliest known Christian Greek

Scripture manuscript portions in possession today. (There are two additional fragments of the same manuscript in Barcelona, Spain. The Spanish fragments contain Matthew 3:15 and 5:20-22 on the recto [front], and 3:9 and 5:25-28 on the verso [back] portions respectively. If the date given to the Magdalen papyrus is ultimately confirmed, the Barcelona papyrus will be similarly dated to the mid-first century.) These combined papyri pre-date even the John Rylands fragment from the Gospel of John...... (That fragment is dated as early as 125 C.E.)"

Jesus Papyrus mentions a fragment from the book of Mark found among the Qumran scrolls (fragment 7Q5) showing that it was written sometime before 68 AD It is important to remember that Christ died in 33 AD, so this manuscript could have been written, at the latest, within 35 years of His death; possibly earlier, and thus during the time that the eyewitnesses to that event were still alive!

Qumran Community Cave 7, Waddy Qumran, Dead Sea (Albeiro Rodas)

Fragment 5 from Cave 7 of the Qumran Community in its entirety

(VanderKam, James; Peter Flint (2004). The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls: Their Significance for Understanding the Bible, Judaism, Jesus, and Christianity, New York: HarperCollins.)

This shows most probably portions of the Greek text of Mark 6:52-53

 

If 7Q5 were identified as Mark 6:52-53 and was deposited in the cave at Qumran by 68 AD, it would become the earliest known fragment of the New Testament, predating P52 by at least some if not many decades. Since the amount of text in the manuscript is so small, even a confirmation of 7Q5 as Markan "might mean nothing more than that the contents of these few verses were already formalized, not necessarily that there was a manuscript of Mark's Gospel on hand"

The most significant find, however, is a manuscript fragment from the book of Matthew (chapt.26) called the Magdalene Manuscript which has been analyzed by Dr. Carsten Thiede.  He has also written the book The Jesus Papyrus. Using a sophisticated analysis of the handwriting of the fragment by employing a special state-of-the-art microscope, he differentiated between 20 separate micrometer layers of the papyrus, measuring the height and depth of the ink as well as the angle of the stylus used by the scribe. After this analysis Thiede was able to compare it with other papyri from that period; notably manuscripts found at Qumran (dated to 58 AD), another at Herculaneum (dated prior to 79 AD), a further one from the fortress of Masada (dated to between 73/74 AD), and finally a papyrus from the Egyptian town of Oxyrynchus. The Magdalene Manuscript fragments matches all four, and in fact is almost a twin to the papyrus found in Oxyrynchus, which bears the date of 65/66 AD Thiede concludes that these papyrus fragments of St. Matthew's Gospel were written no later than this date and probably earlier. That suggests that we either have a portion of the original gospel of Matthew, or an immediate copy which was written while Matthew and the other disciples and eyewitnesses to the events were still alive. This would be the oldest manuscript portion of our Bible in existence today, one which co-exists with the original writers!

What is of even more importance is what it says. The Matthew 26 fragment uses in its text nomina sacra (holy names) such as the diminutive "IS" for Jesus and "KE" for Kurie or Lord (The Times, Saturday, December 24, 1994). This is highly significant for our discussion today, because it suggests that the godhead of Jesus was recognized centuries before it was declared as official church doctrine at the council of Nicea in 325 AD.  There is still ongoing discussion concerning the exact dating of this manuscript. However, if the dates prove to be correct then this document alone completely eradicates the criticism leveled against the gospel accounts (such as the "Jesus Seminar") that the early disciples knew nothing about Christ's divinity, and that this concept was a later redaction imposed by the Christian community in the second century (AD).

Qumran Fragments

Qumran caves provided large number of fragments which took many years to date.  The latest ones are dated by Fr. Jose O'Callahan and provide evidence for the existence of Mark, Acts of Apostles and most of the Epistles even within 20 years of resurrection of Jesus.

"Jose O'Callahan, a Spanish Jesuit paleographer, made headlines around the world on March 18, 1972, when he identified a manuscript fragment from Qumran ... as a piece of the Gospel of Mark. The piece was from Cave 7. Fragments from this cave had previously been dated between 50 B.C. and A.D. 50, hardly within the time frame established for New Testament writings. Using accepted methods of papyrology and paleography, O'Callahan compared sequences of letters with existing documents and eventually identified nine fragments as belonging to one Gospel, Acts, and a few Epistles. Some of these were dated slightly later than 50, but still extremely early.

Mark 4:28

7Q6

A.D. 50

Mark 6:48

7Q15   

A.D.?

Mark 6:52, 53

7Q5

A.D. 50

Mark 12:17

7Q7

A.D. 50

Acts 27:38

7Q6

A.D. 60+

Rom. 5:11, 12

7Q9

A.D 70+

1 Tim. 3:16; 4:1-3   

7Q4

A.D. 70+

2 Peter 1:15

7Q10

A.D. 70+

James 1:23, 24

7Q8

A.D. 70+

 

"... Both friends and critics acknowledge that, if valid, O'Callahan's conclusions will revolutionize New Testament theories. If even some of these fragments are from the New Testament, the implications for Christian apologetics are enormous. Mark and Acts must have been written within the lifetimes of the apostles and contemporaries of the events. There would be no time for mythological embellishment of the records... They must be accepted as historical ... There would hardly be time for a predecessor series of Q manuscripts ... And since these manuscripts are not originals but copies, parts of the New Testament would be shown to have been copied and disseminated during the lives of the writers. No first-century date allows time for myths or legends to creep into the stories about Jesus." (Norman Geisler, Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics [Baker Books, Grand Rapids; 1999], p. 530)

What these papyri show is that by the end of the first century before the death of Apostle John, all 27 books of the New Testament were in circulation and all but Hebrews, 2 Peter, James, 2 Jn, 3 Jn, Revelation were universally accepted. In fact not one book is accepted within the canon of our New Testament which was written after the death of the last Apostle John in 100 AD.

 Here is the new updated list for earliest references.

Manuscript (MS)

Contains:

Date

Eyewitness page ref.

 

 

 

 

Magdalen Papyrus (P64)

Matthew 26:7-8, 10, 14-15, 22-23 and 31.

Before 66 A.D.

125

Dead Sea Scroll MSS 7Q5

Mark 6:52-53

Before 68 A.D.
"could be as early as A.D. 50"

46

Dead Sea Scroll MSS 7Q4

1 Timothy 3:16-4:3

Before 68 A.D.

140

Barcelona Papyrus (P67)

Matthew 3:9, 15; Matthew 5:20-22, 25-28

Before 66 A.D.

68-71

Paris Papyrus (P4)

Luke 3:23, 5:36

"not much later" than 66 A.D.

70

Pauline Codex (P46)

Paul's Epistles (??)

85 A.D.

70-71

Bodmer Papyrus (II) (Johannine Codex P66)

Gospel of John, "near complete"

125 A.D.

71

P32

?

175 A.D.

71

P45

?

150 A.D.

71

P77

?

150 A.D.

71

P87

?

125 A.D.

71

P90

?

150 A.D.

71

John Rylands Greek 457 (P52)

John 18:31-33, 37-38

100-125 A.D.

115, 126, 138

Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 2683 (P77)

Matthew 23:30-39

150 A.D.

126

P. Oxyrhynchus 2 (P1)

Matthew 1:1-9, 12, 14-20

"not much later" than P4 (ca. 100 A.D.?)

126

P. Oxyrhynchus 3523 (P90)

John 18:36-19:7

ca. 125-150 A.D.?

127

Thus we have enough evidence to show that at least Mathew and Luke were in existence within 30 years of resurrection.  That is a guarantee that we are not dealing with mythical development of a religion.  We can now clearly show the time line of the church with confidence to a few years.

Where are They?

 

 

Symbol

Century

City

Contents

P1

III

Philadelphia

Portions of Matthew

P2

VI

Florence

Portions of John

P3

VI/VII

Vienna

Portions of Luke

P4

III

Paris

Portions of Luke

P5

III

London

Portions of Luke

P6

IV

Strasbourg

Portions of John

P7

IV/VI (?)

Kiev

Portions of Luke

P8

IV

Berlin

Portions of Acts

P9

III

Cambridge, Mass.

Portions of I John

P10

IV

Cambridge. Mass.

Portions of Romans

P11

VII

Leningrad

Portions of I Corinthians

P12

III

New York

Portions of Hebrews

P13

III/IV

London and Florence

Portions of Hebrews

P14

V

Sinai

Portions of I Corinthians

P15

III

Cairo

Portions of I Corinthians

P16

III/IV

Cairo

Portions of Philippians

P17

IV

Cambridge

Portions of Hebrews

P18

III/IV

London

Portions of Revelation

P19

IV/V

Oxford

Portions of Matthew

P20

III

Princeton

Portions of James

P21

IV/V

Allentown, Pa.

Portions of Matthew

P22

III

Glasgow

Portions of John

P23

III

Urbana Ill.

Portions of James

P24

IV

Newton Center Mass.

Portions of Revelation

P25

IV

Berlin

Portions of Matthew

P26

ca. 600

Dallas

Portions of Romans

P27

III

Cambridge

Portions of Romans

P28

III

Berkeley

Portions of John

P29

III

Oxford

Portions of Acts

P30

III

Client

Portions of I and II Thessalonians

P31

VII

Manchester

Portions of Romans

P32

ca. 200

Manchester

Portions of Titus

P33

VI

Vienna

Portions of Acts

P34

VII

Vienna

Portions of I and II Corinthians

P35

IV (?)

Florence

Portions of Matthew

P36

VI

Florence

Portions of John

P37

III/IV

Ann Arbor. Mich.

Portions of Matthew

P38

ca. 300

Ann Arbor. Mich.

Portions of Acts

P39

III

Chester, Pa.

Portions of John

P40

III

Heidelberg

Portions Romans

P41

VIII

Vienna

Portions of Acts

P42

VII/VIII

Vienna

Portions of Luke

P43

VI/VII

London

Portions of Revelation

P44

VI/VII

New York

Portions of Matthew and John

P45

III

Dublin

Portions of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Acts

P46

ca. 200

Dublin

Portions of Romans, I and II Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians, I Thessalonians and Hebrews

P47

III

Dublin

Portions of Revelation

P48

III

Florence

Portions of Acts

P49

III

New Haven, Conn.

Portions of Ephesians

P50

IV/V

New Haven, Conn.

Portions of Acts

P51

ca. 400

Oxford

Portions of Galatians

P52

II

Manchester

Portions of John

P53

III

Ann Arbor

Portions of Matthew and Acts

P54

V/VI

Princeton

Portions of James

P55

VI/VII

Vienna

Portions of John

P56

V/VI

Vienna

Portions of Acts

P57

IV/V

Vienna

Portions of Acts

P59

VI

New York

Portions of John

P60

VII

New York

Portions of John

P61

ca. 700

New York

Portions of Romans, I Corinthians, Philippians. Colossians. I Thessalonians, Titus and Philemon

P62

IV

Oslo

Portions of Matthew

P63

ca. 500

Berlin

Portions of John

P64

ca. 200

Oxford and Barcelona

Portions of Matthew

P65

III

Florence

Portions of I Thessalonians

P66

ca. 200

Cologne

Portions of John

P68

VII (?)

Leningrad

Portions of I Corinthians

P69

III

Oxford

Portions of Luke

P70

III

Oxford

Portions of Matthew

P71

IV

Oxford

Portions of Matthew

P72

III/IV

Cologne

Portions of I and II Peter, and Jude

P73

?

Cologne

Portions of Matthew

P74

VII

Cologne

Portions of Acts, I and II Peter, James, I, II and III John and Jude

P75

III

Geneva

Portions of Luke

P76

VI

Vienna

Portions of John

P77

II/III

Oxford

Portions of Matthew

P78

III/IV

Oxford

Portions of Jude

P79

VII

Berlin

Portions of Hebrews

P80

III

Barcelona

Portions of John

P81

IV

Barcelona

Portions of I Peter

P82

IV/V

Strasbourg

Portions of Luke

P83

VI

Louvain

Portions of Matthew

P84

VI

Louvain

Portions of Mark and John

P85

IV/V

Strasbourg

Portions of Revelation

P86

IV

Cologne

Portions of Matthew

F87

III

Cologne

Portions of Philemon

P88

IV

Milan

Portions of Mark

 

Time Line of New Testament
http://www.newtestamenthistorytimeline.com/

·         37 B.C.–4 B.C. - The reign of Herod I, a Roman client king of Israel

·         27 B.C.-14 A.D. - The reign of Caesar Augustus, the first emperor of the Roman Empire

·         c. 6 B.C. - The birth of Jesus

·         26-36 A.D. - Pontius Pilate the Prefect of the Roman Empire's Judaea Province

·         c. 30-33 - The death and resurrection of Jesus

·         c. 35 - The conversion of Paul

·         40s or 50s - James

·         c. 45-49 - Paul's first missionary journey

·         Sometime between 48 and 58 - Paul writes Galatians

·         c. 50-53 - Paul's second missionary journey

·         50s - Paul writes Titus

·         50s or 60s - Matthew written

·         50s or 60s - Mark written

·         51 - Paul writes 1 and 2 Thessalonians

·         c. 53-57 - Paul's third missionary journey

·         Spring of 55 - Paul writes 1 Corinthians

·         56 - Paul writes 2 Corinthians

·         c. 57 - Paul writes Romans

·         c. 60 - Paul writes Colossians, probably while in prison in Rome

·         c. 60 - Paul writes Philemon, probably while in prison in Rome

·         c. 60 - Paul writes Ephesians, probably while in prison in Rome

·         c. 61 - Paul writes Philippians, while in prison in Rome

·         Early 60s - Luke written

·         c. 62 - Paul is free

·         c. 62-64 - Luke writes Acts

·         c. 62-64 - Paul writes 1 Timothy

·         July 18-19, 64 - The Great Fire of Rome. Emperor Nero blamed the Christians, and a great persecution ensued.

·         Mid 60s - 1 Peter written

·         c. 64-68 - Paul writes 2 Timothy from prison

·         c. 67-68 - 2 Peter

·         c. 68 - Hebrews is written

·         June 9, 68 - The death of Nero. Sometime between the Great Fire of Rome and the death of Nero, both Peter and Paul were martyred.

·         c. 69 - Jude

·         70 - The Seige of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple

·         c. 85 - John written

·         Late First Century - 1, 2, and 3 John

·         c. 95-96 - John writes Revelation

 

 Comparisonof New Testament Books with Secular Documents.

 Author and Work

Author's Lifespan

Date of Events

Date of Writing*

Earliest Extant  full MS**

Lapse: Event to Writing

Lapse: Event to MS

Matthew,
Gospel

ca. 0-70?

4 BC - AD 30

50 - 65/75

ca. 200

<50 years

<200 years

Mark,
Gospel

ca. 15-90?

27 - 30

65/70

ca. 225

<50 years

<200 years

Luke,
Gospel

ca. 10-80?

5 BC - AD 30

60/75

ca. 200

<50 years

<200 years

John,
Gospel

ca. 10-100

27-30

90-110

ca. 130

<80 years

<100 years

Paul,
Letters

ca. 0-65

30

50-65

ca. 200

20-30 years

<200 years

Josephus,
War

ca. 37-100

200 BC - AD 70

ca. 80

ca. 950

10-300 years

900-1200 years

Josephus,
Antiquities

ca. 37-100

200 BC - AD 65

ca. 95

ca. 1050

30-300 years

1000-1300 years

Tacitus,
Annals

ca. 56-120

AD 14-68

100-120

ca. 850

30-100 years

800-850 years

Seutonius,
Lives

ca. 69-130

50 BC - AD 95

ca. 120

ca. 850

25-170 years

750-900 years

Pliny,
Letters

ca. 60-115

97-112

110-112

ca. 850

0-3 years

725-750 years

Plutarch,
Lives

ca. 50-120

500 BC - AD 70

ca. 100

ca. 950

30-600 years

850-1500 years

Herodotus,
History

ca. 485-425 BC

546-478 BC

430-425 BC

ca. 900

50-125 years

1400-1450 years

Thucydides,
History

ca. 460-400 BC

431-411 BC

410-400 BC

ca. 900

0-30 years

1300-1350 years

Xenophon,
Anabasis

ca. 430-355 BC

401-399 BC

385-375 BC

ca. 1350

15-25 years

1750 years

Polybius,
History

ca. 200-120 BC

220-168 BC

ca. 150 BC

ca. 950

20-70 years

1100-1150 years

*Where a slash occurs, the first date is conservative, and the second is liberal.
**New Testament manuscripts are fragmentary. Earliest complete manuscript is from ca. 350; lapse of event to complete manuscript is about 325 years.

 Manuscript evidence for superior New Testament reliability

Author

Date Written

Earliest Copy

Time Span

Copies (extent)

 

Secular Manuscripts:

Homer (Illiad)

800 BC

400 BC

400 years

643

Herodotus (History)

480 - 425 BC

900 AD

1,300 years

8

Thucydides (History)

460 - 400 BC

900 AD

1,300 years

8

Plato

400 BC

900 AD

1300 years

8

Aristotle (Philosopher)

384 - 322 BC

1,100 AD

1,400 years

5

Demosthenes

300 BC

900 AD

1,200 years

7

Caesar (History)

100 - 44 BC

900 AD

1,000 years

10

Livy (History of Rome)

59-17 AD

400 (Partial)

c1000 century

400 years

 

1000 years

1 partial

 

19

Pliny (History)

61 - 113 AD

850 AD

750 years

7

Suetonius (Roman History)

70 - 140 AD

950 AD

800 years

?

Tacitus (Greek History)

100 AD

1,100 AD

1,000 years

20

 

Biblical Manuscripts: (note: these are individual manuscripts)

Magdalene Ms (Matthew 26)

1st century

50-60 AD

co-existant (?)

 

John Rylands (John)

90 AD

130 AD

40 years

 

Bodmer Papyrus II (John)

90 AD

150-200 AD

60-110 years

 

Chester Beatty Papyri (N.T.)

1st century

200 AD

150 years

 

Diatessaron by Tatian (Gospels)

1st century

200 AD

150 years

 

Codex Vaticanus (Bible)

1st century

325-350 AD

275-300 years

 

Codex Sinaiticus (Bible)

1st century

350 AD

300 years

 

Codex Alexandrinus (Bible)

1st century

400 AD

350 years

 

We have today in our possession 5,300 known Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, another 10,000 Latin Vulgates, and 9,300 other early versions (MSS), giving us more than 24,000 manuscript copies of portions of the New Testament in existence today ( McDowell's Evidence That demands a Verdict). New Testament is infinitely more reliable than the writings of Plato, Aristotle, Caesar, Homer, and the other authors

It is clear that the New Testament manuscript copies which we possess today were compiled very early, a number of them hundreds of years before the earliest copy of a secular manuscript of the same period. This only shows the importance the early Christians gave to preserving their scriptures. The number of copies we possess are large also.  What is even more significant however, are the differences in time spans between the original manuscripts and the copies of both the biblical and secular manuscripts are all within 350 years of the originals, some as early as 130-250 years and one even purporting to coexist with the original (i.e. the Magdalene Manuscript fragments of Matthew 26), while the time span for the secular manuscript copies are much greater, between 750-1,400 years! This indeed gives enormous authority to the biblical manuscript copies, as no other ancient piece of literature can make such close time comparisons.

Are the Biblical Documents Reliable? Jimmy Williams
http://www.leaderu.com/orgs/probe/docs/bib-docu.html

"The interval, then, between the dates of original composition and the earliest extant evidence becomes so small as to be in fact negligible, and the last foundation for any doubt that the Scriptures have come down to us substantially as they were written has now been removed. Both the authenticity and the general integrity of the books of the New Testament may be regarded as finally established." The Bible and Archaeology, Sir Frederic G. Kenyon, former director and principal librarian of the British Museum

"If comparative trivialities such as changes of order, the insertion or omission of the article with proper names, and the like are set aside, the works in our opinion still subject to doubt can hardly mount to more than a thousandth part of the whole New Testament."  B. F. Westcott ,F.J.A. Hort, The New Testament in Original Greek