People study Biblical manuscripts for a variety of reasons.
- Some manuscripts have detailed drawings in them, and it’s amazing how many years it took to create some of the manuscripts (What are Illuminated Manuscripts?).
- The study of paleography (What is Paleography?) shows how writing styles changed over time.
- Manuscripts are evidence of how people have valued God’s written word.
- Manuscripts can give information about the person who wrote the manuscript, and the circumstances under which it was written.
- Manuscripts can provide a history lesson of who previously owned them.
- The reasons go on.
My study of manuscripts was completely unplanned.
Last summer I did a series What are the Gospels? and a series What is the Biblical Canon?. While I was researching the Gospels and Canon, I learned a bit about Textual Criticism. I started researching textual criticism in August, with the intent of starting a series in September or October.
I quickly realized I needed to learn about New Testament manuscripts before studying textual criticism. New Testament Textual Criticism is the study of Greek New Testament manuscripts, with the primary purpose of trying to determine the exact words the Apostles wrote. Understanding manuscripts is foundational to textual criticism, as the evidence we have for what the Apostles wrote is contained in the manuscripts that have been preserved over the past two thousand years.
After realizing I needed to study manuscripts, I had expected to write a few articles on manuscripts before moving on to textual criticism, but this was a case of the more I learned about manuscripts, the more I realized I didn’t know much about them. Now my manuscript series has run for six months and it’s time to finally move on to my series on textual criticism.
Textual criticism is a topic people can spend their entire careers studying. Over the past six months I’ve had time to read some books about it, and in hindsight I’m glad I had an extra six months to study textual criticism before blogging about it. It was my naivety that allowed me to think I could blog about textual criticism after only studying it for a few weeks. Being delayed for six months certainly helped my research, but there is still a lot I don’t know.
I hope you’re ready for a new topic!
What are New Testament Manuscripts? (27 articles)
- What Media has the Bible been Written On? (1 of 27)
- What is a Manuscript? (2 of 27)
- Why were the Early Christians More Likely to Write on a Codex Rather than a Scroll? (3 of 27)
- Do I Need a Dictionary to Study Ancient Manuscripts? (4 of 27)
- Where are Biblical Manuscripts Found? (5 of 27)
- What is the Kurzgefasste Liste der griechischen Handschriften des Neuen Testaments? (6 of 27)
- What is the Gregory-Aland Numbering System? (7 of 27)
- How Many New Testament Manuscripts Exist? (8 of 27)
- How does the Quantity of New Testament Manuscripts Compare to Other Ancient Manuscripts? (9 of 27)
- How does the Quality of New Testament Manuscripts Compare to Other Ancient Manuscripts? (10 of 27)
- What’s the Difference Between an Autograph and an Original? (11 of 27)
- How Long did the Autograph or Original New Testament Manuscripts Last? (12 of 27)
- Why Didn’t God Preserve the Autographs of the Bible? (13 of 27)
- What is Scriptio Continua? (14 of 27)
- What are Nomina Sacra? (15 of 27)
- What Symbols has the Church Used to Refer to Christianity? (16 of 27)
- What are Diglots and Polyglots? (17 of 27)
- Was the Bible Copied Like Links in a Chain or a Tangled Ball of String? (18 of 27)
- Should the Bible be Copied Like Links in a Chain? (19 of 27)
- How are New Testament Manuscripts Dated? (20 of 27)
- What is Paleography? (21 of 27)
- What is Boustrophedon? (22 of 27)
- What is “First Century Mark”? (23 of 27)
- Do Fake or Forged Biblical Manuscripts Exist? (24 of 27)
- What are Illuminated Manuscripts? (25 of 27)
- What is Skellig? (26 of 27)
- Why did I Study Biblical Manuscripts? (27 of 27)