Dating papyrus

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Though Tatian closely followed the wording of the Gospels, he put the verses in a different sequence.The Diatessaron was used as the standard Gospel text in the liturgy of the Syrian Church for two centuries.What factors help to determine the age of a manuscript?Lots of factors, including the material used, the letter size and form, text divisions, ornamentation, the color of the ink, and even Carbon-14 dating.In 2003 the present Bodmer Library of World Literature opened in Cologny, near Geneva, Switzerland.Among the approximate 160,000 items is a copy of the Guttenberg Bible, and a group of manuscripts — “P66,” “P72,” and “P75,” some of the world’s earliest Christian writings.The Diatessaron, which means “Harmony of Four” was created by Tatian, a Christian writer in the second century.

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Scholars are able to assess the importance of a manuscript by how much of the Bible it includes, and by the date assigned to it.This papyrus fragment, also known as “P52,” is encased within a climate-controlled cabinet located inside the John Rylands Library of Manchester, England.The manuscript fragment was among a group acquired on the Egyptian market in 1920, but not translated until 1934.“P66,” dating from AD 200 or earlier, contains most of John’s gospel.This codex is just one century removed from the time of the autograph (original text).

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