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A biblical manuscript is any handwritten copy of a portion of the text of the Bible.The word Bible comes from the Greek biblia (books); manuscript comes from Latin manu (hand) and scriptum (written).Among the tragedians the witnesses to Euripides are the most abundant; his extant works are preserved in 54 papyri and 276 parchment manuscripts, almost all of the later dating from the Byzantine period..time between the composition of the books of the New Testament and the earliest extant copies is relatively brief.Notably, there are two scrolls of the Book of Isaiah, one complete (1QIs Parts of the New Testament have been preserved in more manuscripts than any other ancient work, having over 5,800 complete or fragmented Greek manuscripts, 10,000 Latin manuscripts and 9,300 manuscripts in various other ancient languages including Syriac, Slavic, Gothic, Ethiopic, Coptic and Armenian. 125 (the papyrus, oldest copy of John fragments) to the introduction of printing in Germany in the 15th century.

The science of textual criticism attempts to reconstruct the original text of books, especially those published prior to the invention of the printing press. In 1947 the finding of the Dead Sea scrolls at Qumran pushed the manuscript history of the Tanakh back a millennium from the two earliest complete codices.Before this discovery, the earliest extant manuscripts of the Old Testament were in Greek in manuscripts such as Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus.Out of the roughly 800 manuscripts found at Qumran, 220 are from the Tanakh.Every book of the Tanakh is represented except for the Book of Esther; however, most are fragmentary.

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It is not an easy task to reconstruct the original words of the New Testament...." In evaluating the significance of these statistics..should consider, by way of contrast, the number of manuscripts which preserve the text of the ancient classics.

Homer's Iliad..preserved by 457 papyri, 2 uncial manuscripts, and 188 minuscule manuscripts.