So I was on youtube and wanted to post (in a comment) a bit of the information about the number of gospel manuscripts in Greek massively outweighing the number of Greek manuscripts of the other parts of the NT, so I looked up my old post on that. Gospels massively outweigh Paul in manuscript preservation. And then I also decided to actually get out Trobisch’s book The First Edition of the New Testament and take another look at that chart on page 27.
I noticed something I had forgotten. I remembered that the gospels massively outweigh the rest of the NT in number of Greek manuscripts. But I had forgotten that the manuscripts which contain the gospels alone (i.e. no other part of the NT included) massively outweigh the rest!
2,123 Greek manuscripts contain only the gospels.
238 Greek manuscripts include the gospels plus other parts of the NT.
2,361 Greek manuscripts include the gospels (i.e. the total of the two figures above).
Now that’s impressive!
The number of Greek manuscripts including the gospels with other parts of the NT is only 238, while the number of Greek manuscripts with the gospels alone is 2,123. WOW!!!!!
I also noticed that back in December 2013 when I wrote my first post on this subject, I made these rather insightful comments. I’m glad I posted them online, otherwise, I would probably not be able to come up with them again.
This shows to my thinking that in ancient times the gospels were much more prized than the rest of the New Testament. There is in my thinking a theological point here. The gospels were more important to the ancient church. But to Protestants, Paul is more important. There is the beginning of the problem. Philosophy and argument about the significance of Jesus and how that squares with a particular ‘anthropology’ has taken the place of the life of Jesus as the focus of the Christian religion. This is the disaster that keeps the churches Calvinist, and this is the disaster that is driving the young out of the churches.
That the gospels outweigh the rest of the NT in number of manuscripts is one thing, and its fairly impressive. But that the manuscripts that are ONLY the gospels so massively outweigh the manuscripts that are the gospels plus other parts of the NT, now that is something else altogether, and it shows how important the gospels are to Christianity.