Oldest NT Manuscripts

By Matt Baker email   Updated 8 Jan 2013

This chart lists, in chronological order, the oldest New Testament manuscripts that have been found to date.

 

Manuscript
(collection)

Date

Content

Notes

1st century CE

7q5
Dead Sea Scrolls

c. 70 CE unknown Jesuit scholar Jose O'Callaghan claims that this is a fragment of Mark 6:53-53, however most scholars have concluded that it is not. If it is, it would date to around the same time that the original gospel was possibly written.

2nd century CE

p52
Rylands

c. 125 CE John 18:31-33, 38-38
(fragments)
Translated in 1934 and dated by handwriting analysis, this is generally considered to be the oldest NT manuscript still in existence. If the Gospel of John was written c. 95 CE, this copy would have been made a mere 30 years after the original.

p90
Oxyrhynchus

c. 150 - 200 CE John 18:36 - 19:7
(fragments)

p104
Oxyrhynchus

c. 150 - 200 CE Matthew 21:34-37, 43, 45
(fragments)
oldest manuscript from the Western text-type (all other listed here are Alexandrian)

p98
IFAO

c. 150 - 200 CE
Revelation 1:13 - 2:1
(fragments)
the largest manuscript from the 2nd century but in poor condition

late 2nd / early 3rd century CE

p4

c. 200 CE Luke 1-6
(fragments)
may have been written by the same scribe as p64/67 (see below)

p64 & p67
Magdalen

c. 200 CE Matthew 3, 5 & 26
(fragments)
claimed by Carsten Thiede to be from the 1st century -- a claim rejected by most other scholars

p46
Chester Beatty

c. 200 CE most of the Pauline
epistles
known as Chester Beatty II
oldest (almost) complete NT books;
oldest manuscript containing the writings of Paul

p66
Bodmer

c. 200 CE most of John oldest (almost) complete gospel;
very similar to Codex Vaticanus (see below)

p75
Bodmer

c. 200 CE most of Luke
& half of John

p32
Rylands

c. 200 CE Titus 1:11-15; 2:3-8
(fragments)

p77 & 103

c. 200 CE Matthew 13:55-56,
14:3-5, 23:30-39
(fragments)

Uncial
0189

c. 200 CE Acts 5:3-21
(fragments)
oldest manuscript written on parchment (all others mentioned above were written on papyrus)

Note: The Oxyrhynchus collection also includes several apocryphal manuscripts that date from this same time period (c. 200), including portions of the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Peter, The Shepherd of Hermas, and an unknown gospel.

Also dating from c. 200 is the Egerton Gospel (shown left), a previously unknown gospel aquired by the British Museum in 1934 that includes three stories similar to ones found in the canonical gospel and one story that is not.


3rd century CE

Uncial
0212

c. 250 CE Diatessaron fragment Also known as Dura Parchment 24, this manuscript contains one page of The Diatessaron (a harmony of the four gospels written in the 2nd century by Tatian)

p45
Chester Beatty

c. 250 CE large portions of all four gospels and Acts known as Chester Beatty I
oldest manuscript of Mark's gospel

p47
Chester Beatty

c. 250 CE most of Revelation 9:10-17:2 known as Chester Beatty III

p72
Bodmer

c. 300 CE 1 & 2 Peter, Jude
Note: There are about 30 more manuscripts dating from the 3rd century, most of them belonging
to the Oxyrhynchus collection and containing only chapters, not full books.

4th century CE onwards

Codex
Vaticanus

c. 325 - 350 CE most of the Septuagint (Greek OT/Apocrypha) and most of the NT referred to as Uncial No. B or 03
located in the Vatican Library
is missing 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon & Revelation.

Codex
Sinaiticus

c. 330 - 360 CE about half of the Septuagint and all of the NT referred to as Uncial No. ℵ or 01
located in the British Library
also includes the Epistle to Barnabus & the Shepherd of Hermas

Codex
Alexandrinus

c. 400 - 440 CE most of the Septuagint and all of the NT referred to as Uncial No. A or 02
located in the British Library
also includes 1 & 2 Clement

Codex
Bezae

c. 400 CE most of the Gospels & Acts referred to as Uncial No. Dea or 05
located at the University of Cambridge
oldest full gospels in the Western text-type

Codex
Ephraemi

c. 450 CE some of the Septuagint and much of the NT referred to as Uncial No. C or 04
located in the National Library of France
the text of the Bible had been washed off and written over in the 12th century but can still be seen
Note: There are about 80 more manuscripts dating from the 4th & 5th centuries, most of them containing only chapters, not full books.
This brings the total number of manuscripts older than 500 CE to about 150. From 500 - 1000 CE, there are about 350 available manuscripts.
After 1000 CE, the total number of manuscripts quicky jumps into the thousands.

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