Page:The New Testament in the original Greek - 1881.djvu/22

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covered.[1] They differ in age, extent, and value. They were written between the fourth and sixteenth centuries; the oldest date from the middle of the fourth century, and rest, of course, on still older copies. Few manuscripts of Greek or Roman classics arc older than the ninth or tenth century. The Medicean MS. of Virgil is of the fourth century, the Vatican MS. of Dion Cassius of the fifth. The oldest MSS. of Æschylus and Sophocles date from the tenth, those of Euripides from the twelfth century. The oldest complete copy of Homer is from the thirteenth century, though considerable papyrus fragments have been recently discovered which may date from the fifth or sixth. Some MSS. cover the whole New Testament, some only parts; and hence they are divided into five or six classes, according as they contain the Gospels, or the Acts, or the Catholic Epistles, or the Pauline Epistles, or the Apocalypse, or only the Scripture lessons from the Gospels or Acts and Epistles (the lectionaries). Those which cover more than one of these classes, or the whole New Testament, are numbered in the lists two, three, or more times. The Gospel MSS. are the most numerous, those of the Apocalypse the least numerous. Some MSS. are written with great care, some contain many errors of transcribers. Most of them

  1. The total number of MSS. recorded by Dr. Scrivener, including lectionaries, is 158 uncials and 1605 cursives (p. 269, comp. p. x.). But his list is incomplete. he gives an Index of about 1277 separate Greek MSS. of the New Testament, arranged according to the countries where they are now deposited (pp. 571-584). He assigns 3 to Denmark, 293 to England, 238 to France, 96 to Germany, 6 to Holland, 3 to Ireland, 368 to Italy, 81 to Russia, 8 to Scotland, 23 to Spain, 1 to Sweden, 14 to Switzerland, 104 to Turkey, 39 unknown. See also Edward C. Mitchell, Critical Handbook, Tables viii. ix. and x.