Re: [textualcriticism] Extant mss
- Last summer, the INTF determined that there were at that time 5555 extant GNT MSS. This is about 200 shy of the sums of the four categories of Gregory-Aland MSS. The reason for the differences are (1) some MSS are part of others, only discovered later; (2) some MSS were originally misclassified (e.g., as a minuscule), then later classified differently (say, as a lectionary), but the first number was not then deleted from the list; (3) some MSS have gone missing; (4) very few have been determined to be other than bona fide NT MSS (e.g., talismans or patristic commentaries, such as Patmos Ioannou 59 and 60, originally classified as GNT MSS).
Daniel B. Wallace, PhD
Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts
----- Start Original Message -----
Sent: Thu, 28 May 2009 15:30:53 -0700
From: Robert Relyea <bob@...>
Subject: Re: [textualcriticism] Extant mss
> Mitch Larramore wrote:----- End Original Message -----
> > I come across the number of Greek NT mss in my readings, but nobody has ever clarified for me what this number now represents.
> > There appear to be around 5,750 GNT mss. Can anybody tell me if these are 'extant' mss? I thought that this number might include mss referenced in other extant works that mention now-lost GNT mss.
> It really depends on how broad you want to make the definition of "GNT
> mss". This number appears to be what you get if you add up all the
> 'latest' Gregory Aland numbers for the various types of manuscripts:
> 124 papyri
> 318 uncials
> 2882 minuscules
> 2412 lectionaries.
> Total 5736.
> This quick and dirty method should produce a number which is too high.
> Some manuscripts have been reclassified (uncial, now classified as an
> lectionary, two papyrus fragments now considered part of the same
> manuscript, etc.). Some have also been lost (many of the lost
> manuscripts are preserved in colations or images, however). The former
> would account for no more than a dozen or so manuscripts. I would be
> surprised if lost manuscripts account for more than double digits.
> On the other side, we are continuing to find new manuscripts and
> fragments. CSNTM has potentially found 77 new manuscripts as well as
> relocating some lost ones
> In fact I'm quite sure 2882 is not the current lastest in the official
> list ( Actually the list looks like it is up to something like 2893 or
> The other question is what you consider a manuscript. P52, while
> important for dating, is not very important for the reconstruction of
> the text of John, since it only contains 112 letters (being generous).
> In fact there are really only 6 fairly substantial papyri (p45, p46,
> p47, p72, p74, p75) and a handful of moderately substantial papyri (p4,
> p13, p115 that I know of, probably a few others). Of the uncials, only
> 50 or 60 are what we would normally consider manuscripts (mostly
> complete copies of one or more books of the New Testament).
> In general, I prefer using the figure 'more than 5000' as reasonably
> safe, as well as sufficiently large (in terms of ancient literature
> 'hundreds' of manuscripts (including all versions) is incredibly large,
> the count of New Testament manuscripts just in the original language is
> an order of magnitude bigger than that) .