Partial - Incomplete; containing part(s) but not all
Papyri - Ancient writings on "paper" made from the stems of the papyrus plant
Uncial - Written with capital letters
Minuscule - Written with small or cursive letters
Lectionary - A book containing portions of Scripture to be publicly read on various occasions
Traditional Text - The standard New Testament text that is found in 96 percent of all Greek manuscripts
Westcott and Hort - B.F. Westcott (1825-1901) was an Anglican bishop and theologian who served as a Professor of Divinity at Cambridge
F.J.A. Hort (1828-1892) was also an Anglican priest and professor at Carnbridge University.
Together, in 1882, Westcott and Hort developed a new text of the Greek New Testament based upon the argument that the oldest complete manuscripts, Codex "Aleph" and "B," are the most reliable
Translation - The writing of an author's words in another language
Why is the translating of the Bible very necessary and important? Why must a translation of the Bible be as accurate as possible?
Unlike the Old Testament text, however, there is debate concerning various New Testament textual wordings. Of the more than 4,500 partial or complete Greek New Testament manuscripts known today, approximately 170 are papyri fragments dating from the second to seventh centuries; more than 210 are uncials (capital letter manuscripts) from the fourth to tenth centuries; approximately 2,500 are minuscules (small letter or cursive manuscripts) dating from the ninth to sixteenth centuries; and more than 1,650 are lectionaries (Scripture portions used for public reading).
Approximately 96 percent of all known Greek New Testament manuscripts agree together so closely in reading that they are classified as one textual reading. This reading is known as the "Textus Receptus" or the Traditional (Majority, Received, or Byzantine) Text. Codex A, the Alexandrian Manuscript, is in the Traditional Text group.
After the discovery and possession of Codex Aleph (or the Sinaitic Manuscript) in 1859, a different opinion regarding the original text of the New Testament was developed by two scholars named Westcott and Hort. These men researched and published a theory which stated that "oldest" meant "most accurate and reliable." Upon this basis they taught that the two oldest complete manuscripts, Codex B and Codex Aleph were more reliable than the Traditional Text.
This debate between the "oldest" (Westcott and Hort) and the "majority" (Traditional Text) readings, as to which is more reliable, will be very important when we study the reasons for various English versions of the Bible later in this chapter.
The Bible's Translations
Two of the most important ancient translations of the Bible were the: