Dating the oldest new testament manuscripts
Question: What is the oldest known manuscript of the Bible that has been found to date?
Any new recent discoveries that I might not know about?
The oldest known manuscripts of the entire Christian Bible are the Codex Sinaiticus, so named because it was found at a monastery on Mt. Biblical scholars have discovered older fragments of the Bible of varying size and condition.
Sinai, and the Codex Vaticanus, which takes its name from the Vatican library where it now resides. The oldest known fragment we have from the New Testament is a tiny section of John’s gospel that contains part of only seven lines in Greek. Probably the most exciting and well-known find in recent history was the accidental discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947.
What is remarkable is the regular preference of Christians for the codex for the copying of scriptural texts.
With very few exceptions the books of the Bible, as well as extra-canonical books which Bagnall describes as “also rans”, are preserved in codices.
Rather, it is a collection of 66 different books written over a vast time span in three languages on three continents with authors from every station in life.
Among biblical scholars and archeologists, hope springs eternal that some great new treasure trove will be discovered that will give us further glimpses of the early life of the Bible.
Many times people will raise an objection to a Christian’s belief in the Bible as being the infallible word of God.
The use of the codex by Christians seems to be proportionally consistent with its use over time in other circles, with the exception of devotees of classical Greek literature.
Exploiting the evidence of the so-called Theban Magical Library he suggests, moreover, that the influence of Christianity cannot account for the rise of the codex.