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Do Bible manuscripts prove its authenticity?

Gaps between Bible Manuscripts and Writing Dates

The main evidence used by Christians to prove the authenticity of the Bible is the extensive number of Bible manuscripts of both the Old and New Testaments, but actually this is not an enough evidence, as the number is not the only factor that tells if it is true or not, what is more important is the time these manuscripts were written, for example in case of the Old Testament, the two major manuscripts are Masoretic text and the Septuagint. The Masoretic text refers back to the ninth century, while the oldest manuscript for Septuagint refers back to the fourth century. As for the New Testament, the oldest manuscripts are  the Greek Vaticanus and Sinaiticus which are considered to be the main manuscripts used, and refer to the fourth century. The dates of New Testament manuscripts is shown here in detail.

Dates of oldest Old Testament and New Testament manuscripts and the gaps between their data and original date
A table summarizing the dates and content of the most famous Bible manuscripts

These are the oldest manuscripts for both the Old and New Testaments, as we see for the Old Testament, the oldest manuscript refers to the fourth century, and for the New Testament, the oldest manuscript refers to the beginning of the third century, and doesn’t contain some epistles, which puts a question mark concerning them, were they added to the Bible? This makes a gap between the time of the Prophets including Jesus (Peace be upon him), and the time of writing these manuscripts, and makes the claim that the Bible was fully preserved not very accurate, because it could have happened that the writers of these manuscripts were anonymous.

Do Early Fragments of the New Testament Prove its Authenticity?

Some might say that there were earlier fragments that prove that the books of the Bible were present at that time as the fragments of John Rayland for example which refers to about 125 AD, and has some words in the Gospel of John, let’s see how it looks like:

Answering the Christian claim that the Bible has early manuscripts through a tiny fragment dated 125 AD
A fragment showing small words in Gospel John is the sole early Christian evidence that the Gospels are authentic

Actually this is not a proof even for the existence of Gospel John at that time, all that it can prove is that these words were present at that time, but it could have been taken from another source, and it may have been that the writer of Gospel John copied it from that source,…etc., many possibilities exist, but this is not an evidence in itself.

Do Dead Sea Scrolls Prove Authenticity of the Old Testament?

This is also the same case for the Dead Sea Scrolls, all what was found in Qumran were mostly fragments, the only book which was found to be nearly complete is Isaiah, but all other Old Testament books were fragments that doesn’t prove that the Bible was present the same as it is now, especially that a lot of Apocrypha were found in Qumran, which puts another question mark concerning the books which used to be canonical at that time, and on what base were the books of the Bible taken as canonical and others were not? Especially that a lot of these apocrypha were present with the canonical books in the same manuscript as 1-4 Maccabees and the Prayer of Manasseh which are present in the Vaticanus with other canonical books. Detailed account on Dead Sea Scrolls is shown here.

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