Here is another one Patters
This is another conversation we were having that I would like to continue if you are game.
Originally Posted by CPF: I never said anything about reliable I just said they were valid, reliable is a whole other subject and requires quite a bit of fleshing out. Do you want to discuss the reliability of the New Testament accounts of Christ?
Are you aware of how many extant copies of the NT exist? How about papyri fragments? Are you aware of the fact that while variances exist between many of the copies available to us, that not a single variance damages any major doctrine of Christianity? Do you have any specific evidence of tampering that you would like to share?
1)How close to the original are the oldest surviving copies? 2)How many copies survived? Do the surviving copies agree with each other? 3)Can the text be confirmed from external citations?
Now using this criteria;1)the most replicated document of antiquity we have available to us is Homer’s Iliad believed to have been written about 900 BC. There are 643 surviving manuscript copies available, the earliest of these dates from around 400 BC, leaving a gap of 500 years from the original. Virgil’s Aeneid actually has less of a time span between the original and the earliest known copy, 350 years, but only 7 manuscripts are available. By contrast, not only is the interval between the date of writing of the New Testament documents, their earliest fragments and the full manuscripts shorter than any of the above, the number of surviving manuscripts exceeds the combined total of all other well documented works of antiquity by a factor of twenty. The earliest complete copy we have of the NT is about 300 years removed from the original but many of Paul’s letters as well as the Gospels can be dated to within 40 to 175 years of the original. That is unparalleled as far as documents of this type are concerned. Next; 2)Do the surviving copies agree? Out of the roughly 20,000 lines in the NT, only about 40 are in doubt. By way of comparison Homer's Iliad, which has the next largest number of extant manuscripts, has 15,600 lines, of which 764 (5 percent) are in doubt. Even of the variations that do exist, it is found that the vast majority are trivial matters of spelling, word order, etc.. Those that are in any sense 'substantial' equate to something in the order of one thousandth of the entire text. Even the more substantial variants are of no real doctrinal significance. In the words of the editors of the Revised Standard Version:
"It will be obvious to the careful reader that still in 1946, as in 1881 and 1901, no doctrine of the Christian faith has been affected by the revision, for the simple reason that, out of the thousands of variant readings in the manuscripts, none has turned up thus far that requires a revision of Christian doctrine."
Last test; 3)Can it be confirmed from external citations? The NT is cited extensively in early Christian writings such as, The works of Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Tertullian, Hippolytus and Eusebius. In all they quote the NT over 36,000 times. In fact it has been estimated that the entire New Testament, barring just eleven verses, can be found in quotations from church sources of the second and third centuries.
So I would say that the NT certainly exeeds it's peers where the "acid test" of authenticity is concerned
[b]Originally Posted by CPF: Read this paper by William Dembski and then tell me that the ToID is as simple as you claim it to be.
bump for patters
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