12. Minuscule Manuscripts.

The Minuscule Manuscripts of the New Testament.

 At the beginning of the ninth century a new smaller letter type in running hand, called minuscules was developed. Do note that there was no use of both types of letter types in the same document, like we use capitals and small letters. There was no indication of capitals for instance to identify personal or proper names. Also not to indicate any connection to God like “His” word. Virtually all manuscripts made since the ninth century, were written in minuscules.

Due to its late time of origin, virtually the whole corpus of minuscules contains most of the alterations, inclusions or omissions that happened through the centuries of copying. Therefore less merit is placed on variations found in them, especially when there can be found a logic explanation for the variation. Sometimes there are clear indications that these manuscripts were copied from the same ancestor manuscript. In such a case the group don’t have individual merit, but as a group or family. Ten Copies of the same document will therefore not have more merit than say three different copies originating from three different source manuscripts.

During the late middle ages paper made from cotton, flax or hemp was introduced fromChinaas common writing material. During that time copies of the Bible were also made on this form of paper.

Another source of Greek manuscripts is called lectionaries. The Church implemented a program of prescribed sections of Scripture to be read every Sunday during worship meetings. Due to the cost of manuscripts and the fact that not every church had a full set of New Testament documents at hand, lectionaries were copied containing the appropriate portions of Scripture for that year.  Often these lectionaries represent a much older form of text than the period in which they were written.

Herewith a table showing the distribution of the Greek manuscripts by the century:

Distribution of Greek Manuscripts by century

 

New Testament manuscripts

Lectionaries

Century

Papyri

Uncials

Minuscules

Uncials

Minuscules
2nd

2

 

     
3rd

33

3

     
4th

22

16

 

1

 
5th

10

44

 

1

 
6th

11

61

 

3

 
7th

13

33

 

5

 
8th

5

33

 

22

 
9th

 

57

13

118

5

10th  

18

128

108

39

11th  

4

437

18

231

12th    

588

6

499

13th    

573

4

411

14th    

539

 

325

15th    

249

 

173

16th    

140

 

196

Totals

96

269

2667

286

1879

No other written document in the world has such an extended source of antique copies to their avail with which to reconstruct the original autograph.

God Bless.

Herman.

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About bibledifferencesfacts

I am a retired preacher of the Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa. Since my studies at the University of Pretoria I had a keen interest in the reasons for the differences between the translations of the Bible, especially the New Testament. Since 1973 I am married to my dear wife and greatest friend, Leah Page. We are blessed with two daughters and two sons, two grand sons and one grand daughter. God is alive and omnipotent! Glory to His Name! Herman
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