have been written by Paul.? See Starkie on Evidence, 480 sq.; Chalmers, Christian Revelation, in Works, 3:147-171.
(b) Copies of ancient documents, made by those most interested in their faithfulness, are presumed to correspond with the originals, even although those originals no longer exist. Since it was the church?s interest to have faithful copies, the burden of proof rests upon the objector to the Christian documents.
Upon the evidence of a copy of its own records, the originals having been lost, the House of Lords decided a claim to the peerage; see Starkie on Evidence, 51. There is no manuscript of Sophocles earlier than the tenth century, while at least two manuscripts of the N.T. go back to the fourth century. Frederick George Kenyon, Handbook to Textual Criticism of
N.T.: ?We owe our knowledge of most of the great works of Greek and Latin literature ? ^schylus, Sophocles, Thucydides, Horace, Lucretius, Tacitus, and many more ? to manuscripts written from 900 to 1500 years after their authors? deaths; while of the N.T. we have two excellent and approximately complete copies at an interval of only 250 years. Again, of the classical God writers we have as a rule only a few score of copies (often less), of which one or two stand out ?is decisively superior to all the rest; but of the N.T. we have more than 3000 copies (besides a very large number of versions), and many of these have distinct and independent value.? The mother of Tischendorf named him Lobgott, because her fear that her babe would be born blind had not come true. No man ever had keener sight than he did. He spent his life in deciphering old manuscripts, which other eyes could not read. The Sinaitic manuscript which he discovered takes us back within three centuries of the of the apostles.
(c) In determining matters of fact, after the lapse of considerable the, documentary evidence is to be allowed greater weight than oral testimony. Neither memory nor tradition can long be trusted to give absolutely correct accounts of particular facts. The New Testament documents, therefore, are of greater weight in evidence than tradition would be, even if only thirty years had elapsed since the death of the actors in the scenes they relate.
See Starkie on Evidence, 51, 730. The Roman Catholic Church, in its legends of the saints, shows how quickly mere tradition can become corrupt. Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in 1865, yet sermons preached today on the anniversary of his birth make him out to be Unitarian, Universalist, or Orthodox, according as the preacher himself believes.
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