First century Christians did not speak nor did they read English. So what language(s) was the Bible written in? Without going into detail in this post, at a high level, the New Testament was written in Koine Greek while the Old Testament was written in Hebrew. There is also a Greek Old Testament entitled the Septuagint. Future posts will explore text transmission and textual criticism.
God’s preservation of His Word is remarkable. Here is a link to the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) which is under the umbrella of The Center for the Research of Early Christian Documents (CRECD) which is going around the globe utilizing the latest in digital technology to preserve ancient Christian manuscripts.
As an example, below is a digital image of manuscript P46 which is a late second century or early third century (c. 200) manuscript of Paul on papyrus; 86 leaves, single column, 23–26 lines per column. Images are from the Chester Beatty Collection in Dublin, Ireland.
Manuscript P46; CSNTM Image ID: 134419; Location: Dublin, Chester Beatty Library; Text: Rom 5:17, Rom 5:18, Rom 5:19, Rom 5:20, Rom 5:21, Rom 6:1, Rom 6:2, Rom 6:3, Rom 6:4; Background: Black; Image Description: Text; Image Type: Digital; Ink: Black.
CSNTM and CRECD MISSION
To provide digital photographs of extant Greek New Testament manuscripts so that such images can be preserved, duplicated without deterioration, and accessed by scholars doing textual research.
To analyze individual scribal habits in order to better predict scribal tendencies in any given textual problem.
To publish on various facets of New Testament textual criticism.
To utilize developing technologies (e.g. OCR and MSI) to read these manuscripts and create exhaustive transcriptions.
To develop electronic tools for the examination and analysis of New Testament manuscripts.
To cooperate with other institutes in the great and noble task of determining the wording of the autographa of the New Testament.
Enjoy discovering these preserved ancient texts! 🙂
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