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New Testament

Discussion in 'Christianity in General DIR' started by Matt Houston, May 18, 2006.

  1. Matt Houston

    Matt Houston New Member

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    Hi

    I was just wondering if the original texts in Greek or Hebrew or whatever the New Testamet was written in are still in existance, like the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi Library? If not what heppened to them, and what are the oldest copies that exist? Anybody have any ideas?
     
  2. angellous_evangellous

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    No original texts exist today of the NT.

    Check out this thread: Oldest NT Papyri
     
  3. James the Persian

    James the Persian Dreptcredincios Crestin

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    Quite true, but to answer the OP, I would point out that neither the Dead Sea Scrolls or Nag Hammadi library are originals either. They are both later copies of earlier works, in the case of the Dead Sea Scrolls much earlier. In the case of the Nag Hammadi library, they aren't even in the original language as they are Coptic translations of Greek originals.

    James
     
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  4. Matt Houston

    Matt Houston New Member

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    But they are never the less very old copies, far older than any exisitng copy of the New Testament?

    Thanks for the replies.
     
  5. James the Persian

    James the Persian Dreptcredincios Crestin

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    The Dead Sea Scrolls are, yes, but that's because they are pre-Christian Jewish texts. The NT hadn't even been written when they were hidden. The Nag Hammadi library is not. It's about 2 or 3 hundred years more recent than the oldest NT texts currently known, and there's no guarantee that other older texts will not be found.

    James
     
  6. Matt Houston

    Matt Houston New Member

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    The oldest NT texts being the ones mentioned in angellous_evangellous's link? How old is the oldest NT text in it's entirety as we know it today? Does anyone know?
     
  7. James the Persian

    James the Persian Dreptcredincios Crestin

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    I'm not sure what the oldest complete text of an individual book of the NT is but the oldest near-complete text of the entire NT, as far as I am aware, is the Codex Sinaiticus. It is dated to circa 350 AD which, so far as I can gather, makes it something like 40-50 years older than the Nag Hammadi library. I will look into the issue of the oldest complete book from the NT and let you know if I find anything out.

    James

    EDIT:
    I've looked into it and it appears that a papyrus containing most of the Pauline Epistles and Hebrews dates to c. 200 and another papyrus containing all four Gospels dates to some time in the 3rd century. These are both significantly older than Nag Hammadi library.
     
  8. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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  9. angellous_evangellous

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    The oldest complete copy is Codex Sinaiticus, dated sometime in the fourth century.
     
  10. James the Persian

    James the Persian Dreptcredincios Crestin

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    To be a little more specific, the general concensus appears to be between about 325 and 350 AD. I chose to refer to the latter date above so as to be as conservative as possible (and therefore hopefully avoid accusations of bias).

    James
     
  11. Mystic-als

    Mystic-als Active Member

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    Another question. If these are the earliest "copies" how sure are we that they are accurate?
     
  12. joeboonda

    joeboonda Well-Known Member

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    The New Testament has more copies than any other ancient writing. Some 25,000 or so. There is a body of manuscripts called the Recieved Text or Textus Receptus, which the church has long accepted as it all agrees together quite well. There is a lot of info, books, etc. about the whole subject of how trustworthy, reliable, accurate, etc. the NT mss are and it is well worth studying to be rooted and grounded in the faith.
     
  13. Mystic-als

    Mystic-als Active Member

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    Are these not lots of copies of copies?
     
  14. joeboonda

    joeboonda Well-Known Member

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    yes they are, but eventually they are a copy of the original which, yes we don't have, do with it what ypu will. When I put it all together, the changed lives, and historic evidence, and prophecies come true, etc. well, I have my own conclusion. I don't know what one can trust in but the atoning death of Christ for our sins as a free gift. Its that, or your own good works. But how many? Who knows. Its not Christ plus our good works, its not just our good works, its just Christ. For me at least. But to each their own.
     
  15. Mystic-als

    Mystic-als Active Member

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    If we take the bible out of the argument. (If it is true or not) what makes christianity 'followable' (I know theres probably no such word)
     
  16. angellous_evangellous

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    I cannot imagine it being copied more than Homer.
     
  17. Fish and Bread

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    I've heard that most of the differences between various ancient copies of the New Testament are pretty miniscule and don't really effect the meaning of any passages. Apparently there are no verbage differences that would result in different doctrinal understandings, which is pretty remarkable when one thinks about it.

    The Old Testament is a little bit of a different story, with the Greek version popular in the early church having significant deviations from the oldest Hebrew versions. My understanding is that the Protestants go with the Hebrew on the assumption that the oldest versions are the closest to God's word and that the Eastern Orthodox go with the Greek on the assumption that the bible of the apostles and the early church must be the one God intended for Christians (They're working on a true EO English translation, due out in the summer, I think). The Roman Catholics seem to steer a middle course, I'm not entirely familar with the exact specifics. But even given all that, I think the differences are basically just in terms of what the story is in a few places and don't really mean a difference in the doctrines that are taught.

    Interestingly, the biggest and most important differences between modern bibles are not a matter of the source text used but of the linguistic translation to the venacular (the language of the people). Hebrew and Greek are very complex languages and two people can take the same text and translate some words differently -- especially when they're trying to dumb it down to make it understandable to people with limited educations and/or vocabularies.
     
  18. angellous_evangellous

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    This is a common misunderstanding.

    There are scores of significant textual variants. I can think of two off the top of my head.

    (1) In John 13:
    "The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet,[a] but is completely clean."

    John 13:10 Some manuscripts omit except for his feet

    This omission is significant because the washing can refer to the footwashing as a repeat event (=the Eucharist if the text is there) or to a single event (=Baptism if it is omitted).

    (2) Mark has a longer and a shorter ending with quite obvious implications for Christianity itself - the first Gospel did not have Jesus appearing to his disciples after the ressurrection.

    Many of the textual variants display common misunderstandings of Greek syntax by scribes, bishops, or communities. For example, if a community had a dispute about an exact meaning of the text and there was a syntactical question, a scribe would simply "correct" the grammar to display the reading of the community.
     
  19. Fish and Bread

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    I did say "passage", which was probably not the right term to use -- the meaning of individual passages, in isolation, can be altered by textual variants. In terms of the context of the entire bible, though, any confusion these New Testament variants might introduce would seemingly disappear -- at least amongst the variants I've heard of. For example, yes, the shorter ending of Mark didn't feature any appearances by a resurrected Jesus to his disciples, but Matthew, Luke, and John did; so, for purposes of gleaning the Christian mythos from the bible, either way it is clear that the resurrection and subsequent appearances by the risen Christ are part of the Christian tradition.

    The part with "except for his feet" is open to interpretation to some degree, but there are tons of baptisms in the bible and no indication that anyone is being rebaptised, which I think is probably textual evidence enough that even if "Except for his feet" is included, it can't mean that one must keep getting rebaptised.

    All that said, I'm not a scholar, and I'm open to having my mind changed pending more evidence. Are there any other possible examples of variants that do effect the understanding of the Christian mythos that can be derived from the bible as a whole?
     
  20. Mystic-als

    Mystic-als Active Member

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    I agree, but I know that churches are being built on those interpretations. For example.
    Does bring all your tithes into the storehouse mean we should give 10% of our earnings to the church? Or It is appointed to man to die once. Does this mean that in baptism when you die to self and rise to christ you are now indestructable? Cant die because the bible says so.
     
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