I recently came across this explanation by prof. Larry Hurtado of how ancient papyri are dated. I liked to share it with the readers of my blog.
You may read the full report with comments at: https://larryhurtado.wordpress.com/2016/06/24/dating-ancient-papyri/
Prof. Hurtado says:
“Further to my recent posts about recent proposals for the dating of certain NT papyri, let me briefly clarify the process of dating papyri, which might well seem a mystery to those not familiar with it.
There are two main types of papyri: “documentary” (letters, official documents such as land-transfers, marriage contracts, shipping bills, etc.) and “literary” (treatises, poetry, history, fiction, etc.). Documentary texts are often/typically dated by the writer, which makes dating the manuscript fairly straightforward. But literary texts are hardly ever dated. So in their case the only way forward is by estimating the approximate time-frame of the handwriting (often referred to as the “hand” of the manuscript). Continue reading
Can you believe that on the last word of a sentence there could be no less than nine variations? That is the situation with Mark 13:8! How would one discern which could represent the original? Only one can be in accordance with the original autograph as inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Let us first look at what these variations are and how much support each has in the available manuscripts. Continue reading
While at school, we often had to copy a lot of information from the blackboard. I remember how easily we would make a mistake when the eye jumped from one line to another, either duplicating a word or sentence (Dittography) or leaving out a word or sentence (Haplography). If such a mistake could happen so easily, the same thing might have happened during the copy of the Biblical Scriptures.
In 1 John 5:13 we have such a variation. Let us study it. Continue reading
How did Jesus refer to Himself? As “Son of God” or as “Son of man”?
Jesus healed a man who had been born blind. This man was then banned from the temple by the Pharisees. When Jesus later met this man, He asked him an extremely important question. Did He ask him: “Do you believe in the Son of God?”, or did He ask him: “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”.
To find an answer to this question, we use three criteria, the first looking at the manuscripts that contain the two variations and see what we could derive from the evidence there. Continue reading
In Romans 14 verse 6 some manuscripts have additional text concerning the Sabbath and other holy days, not found in most modern versions of the Bible. The New King James Version has the additional text. The words printed in bold are the words in question.
NKJV: “He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks.
Note that most modern versions are without this second statement, like the New International Version:
NIV: “ Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.”
Was the negative part of this statement, part of the original autograph or was it added to the text at a later time? Continue reading
Luke tells us of Jesus’ healing of the man who suffered of unusual swelling of the body due to water retention, also known as dropsy. This happened on a Sabbath day. Jesus defended Himself by asking the Pharisees who of them would not save something from a well on the Sabbath. What example did Jesus mention that had to be saved from the well?
KJV: “And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day?”
NIV: “If one of you, has a son or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull him out?”
In the manuscripts we find three versions. Continue reading
In 2 Corinthians 12:1 the Bible translator is confronted with four variations caused by a very slight difference in the Greek. There is found the word of our investigation that could either be “dei”= be necessary or must; or “de”= but/and; or “dy”= indeed/therefore; or “ei”= if/whether.
These variations are represented in some versions of English Bibles:
1. “dei”: I must/necessary: “I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord.” (New International Version)
“As it is necessary for me to take glory to myself, though it is not a good thing, I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.” (Bible in Basic English)
2. “de” but/and: “This boasting will do no good but I must go on.”(New Living Translation)
“Well, it is not of profit to me to boast, for I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.” (Darby)
3. “dy” Indeed/therefore: “Indeed, it is not profitable for me to boast. For I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.” (Modern King James Version)
4. “ei” if/whether: “If it is necessary though certainly not expedient) to glory, then I will next tell of visions and revelations from the Lord.” (CPDV) Continue reading