Saturday, August 07, 2010


W or 032 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering), ε 014 (Soden), also called the Washington Manuscript of the Gospels, and The Freer Gospel, contains the four biblical gospels and was written in Greek on vellum and palimpsest in the fourth or fifth century.[1] The manuscript is lacunose. - Wiki
The New Testament has more ancient manuscript evidence than any other ancient document, hands-down.

This is the ancient copy of the gospels I saw at the Freer Gallery of Art in Washington. Worm holes, and all.

It was thrilling to be so proximate to an ancient witness.

The manuscript in question has an alternate ending to the book of Mark.

I bought some note-cards with the pictures of the four apostles on the cover (two shown here). I would send them to my friends, who, I think, must have been quite shocked by the sight of the Four Ancient Dudes.

Of course, the most important copy of the gospels is the one you hold in your hand -- and what you do with it. In Africa, there are still many Christians without a Bible -- pastors even.
Enhanced by Zemanta

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would point out that the oldest extant Koran fragments date to 710-715 CE (written on parchment made from organic matter carbon-dated to 645-690 CE), only a century after Mohammad's revelation.

The Samarkand and Topkapi codices "can generally be dated from the late eight century" according to John Gilchrist in Jam' Al-Qur'an, meaning that we have full Koranic manuscripts considerably closer to its original revelation than we have non-fragmentary Biblical manuscripts (the earliest available being 4th century).

I'm not sure how the Koran compares to the Bible in shear volume of early manuscripts -- but that would appear to be a comparison between the industriousness (and level of funding) of Christian versus Muslim scribes, not the claims to authenticity of the two revelations.

"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"