The apologetics class I'm taking right now focused on the validity of the Bible in last night's session. Talking about the historical record of the manuscripts that make up the Bible got me so excited. There are more manuscripts in existence today from closer to the time of the original writing than any other document throughout history.
Homer's Iliad seems to be the closest in comparison -- and it still isn't in the same ballpark. There are 643 ancient copies of Homer's Iliad in existence, the earliest of which was written 500 years after the original. There are 24,000 ancient copies of the gospels, the earliest of which was written 25 years after the original. Doesn't that blow your mind?
Of course the topic of the Dead Sea Scrolls came up as well. I remember learning about those in elementary school and being VERY excited. Funny, even when I was a young child I was fascinated by ancient writings. But I digress. The most interesting thing I learned last night was that scholars expected the Dead Sea Scrolls to contain variations from what we have today -- especially because the oldest document found in those caves in 1947 dated to 125 B.C. I mean, who wouldn't expect some differences? Human beings are prone to error -- things get copied wrong, mistakes happen, and people sometimes just seek to deceive others. There was a 5% variation from what we have today -- all of which were variations in SPELLING and did not change the meaning.
That kind of thing makes my heart beat faster. Knowing that the Bible I hold in my hands, the one with my name engraved on the cover, is the same thing that existed 2,000 years ago... oh my gosh I can't contain my excitement. I'm holding history in my hands.
I was lucky enough to see the Book of Kells in person in Dublin, Ireland back in 2008. That was literally a dream come true. I have wanted to see that document in person since I learned about it in college. I have the same feelings about the Dead Sea Scrolls. I would love to see them in person, to lay my eyes on history.
Okay, this entire blog post is making me want to travel.