Bibliographical Testing of Historical Documents | Bible: Fact or Fiction?


When you examine any document of history not just the Bible you apply the bibliographical test. And that test asks questions of the manuscript which is a handwritten document. Now why do they have to ask questions of the manuscript? For this reason – literature of antiquity was written on material that would perish And most of it was written on; you know what Ancient paper was called?– you’re right – papyrus. It was written on papyrus. Papyrus came from the papyri reed grown in the shallow waters of the deltas of the Nile. They would clip the reeds just below the water, slice them. And they would lay them out to dry. Then they would crisscross the reeds
And in between the reeds they would place a cement or a glue substance. And they would let it dry. And you know when they would let it dry it became quite a durable, piece of paper. In fact sometimes, you could lift it up and almost see through it. But no matter how well it was constructed it would eventually deteriorate – it would rot away. Ah, and it was according to how long it lasted, according to how much it was involved or exposed to the elements to heat, to coldness, to the sunlight, would determine how long the papyrus would survive. Then you had the problem of the ink. Ah, they didn’t have Parkers Brothers back then. They had good ink, but not ink like we have today But even today with almost any type of ink – you write a note to your kids and you leave it out on a picnic table outdoors… And it’s exposed to the sun. Even with the ink today, what happens to that ink? You’re right! It starts to fade. Well, ink in the old days, it was used in the manuscripts, would start to fade. Because a lot of times they had to read according to candlelight, so they read outdoors and it was exposed to the sunlight. So, they had to ask certain questions of the manuscripts to see if what you have is what was written down. In other words, here was a problem. You have the original, it’s called the autographa and it would start to rot away. So they do generation number one – maybe they make 25 copies of it. And then generation number one would start to fade or deteriorate. They’ll make generation number two. Maybe they’ll make 50 copies. And then they make generation number three ad infinitum. And there’s two questions they ask about these manuscripts.
The first question I’m gonna deal with is what’s called the timeline. You say: “What do you mean the timeline?”
From the original, how far are the copies that you have removed? See the rule of thumb is, the further they’re removed from the original, usually, the greater the inaccuracy Why is that true? Now you know why – think – why is that true? Right! Because usually it means it’s been copied more. So there was a greater chance of human error in copying the manuscripts

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