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Dating ancient works

Figuring out what Homer wrote – assuming there was a Homer (there are huge debates about that; as my brother, a classicist, sometimes says: “The Iliad was not written by Homer, but by someone else named Homer” ) – has been a sources of scholarly inquiry and debate for over 2000 years!Second, and more important: just because we are WORSE off for other authors than for those of the New Testament does not in itself mean that we can trust that we know what the NT authors wrote. We have far more manuscripts of the New Testament than for any other ancient writing.

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And so, as Dan puts it, for the New Testament we have “an embarrassment of riches.” Since we don’t doubt what these other authors wrote, why are we creating special problems for the New Testament authors and claiming that we can’t know what wrote? First, it is not true that scholars are confident that they know exactly what Plato, Euripides, or Homer wrote, based on the surviving manuscripts.In some VERY luck instances, such as Homer, we have hundreds of manuscripts (though never a thousand) And for the New Testament?We have over 5560 manuscripts – just in the original Greek.But the dim reality is that we really don’t have any way to know for sure.Our copies are all so far removed from the time when the authors wrote, that even though we have so many (tons!"Furthermore, we can say with some confidence that the estimate of humanity's 'out of Africa' migration was around 60-70,000 years ago – some 10-20,000 years earlier than previously thought." The team has devised a simple calculator into which researchers can feed their data and this is being made freely available on the University of Leeds website.

The paper is published in the current edition of the The South Caucasus -- home to the countries of Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan -- geographically links Europe and the Near East.

The area has served for millennia as a major crossroads for human ...

A multi-purpose bone tool dating from the Neanderthal era has been discovered by researchers, throwing into question our current understanding of the evolution of human behavior. Did the Polynesians beat Columbus to South America?

My were not altered lots and lots and lots, but there really is no way to know. We simply create a little fiction in our minds that we are reading the actual words of Mark, or Paul, or 1 Peter, and get on with the business of interpretation.

It’s a harmless fiction, and very useful for all sorts of reasons that I may discuss in another post.

His point is that we don’t sit around agonizing over whether the words we read in the dialogues of Plato are what Plato wrote; the same for the plays of Euripides, the histories of Livy or Tacitus, the epics of Homer, and so on.