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What does it mean when they say Greek manuscripts, written by the original authors, did not survive? I don't Understand this statement.

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3 Answers 3

Without context more specific than "they say", it is difficult to know what was meant. However, such a statement is likely to be referring to no longer having the original copies of New Testament writings. Only copies of copies are now available.

This is to be expected as wear by use, environment conditions, and the ordinary misplacement and destruction of items. The same statement can be made for other documents of similar age.

Consider this image of one of the Dead Sea Scrolls (as a convenient example): Psalms Dead Sea scroll

This is a document that was intentionally preserved without use in a reasonably friendly environment and isolated and hidden enough to avoid destruction by war, accidental fire, etc. Although centuries older than any New Testament documents would be, this still hints at why copying is the most reliable means of preserving information.

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Ancient manuscripts have often been lost to us by destruction or other means. To say that they did not survive means to indicate that they have been lost through time. Some were intentionally destroyed by those who did not value their insights or doctrines. Some were lost in accidental fires. Some have actually been lost in ancient libraries, as is the case with the Didache' (also known as The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles to the Nations). This latter document was known to have existed but was not actually discovered until being found in a monastery library in Jerusalem in 1893. It is part of a manuscript known as Codex Hierosolymitanus.

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So does that mean we are missing (Original) manuscripts? Or,, we do not have the (Whole) truth. –  user10314 Mar 29 at 13:11
    
@user10314 We are missing all original manuscripts. But we have copies of all of them. –  Steve Mar 29 at 15:50

We also need to take into account; that there were no preservatives, in Ancient times, to deter the natural decay of what the Scriptures were written on.

Writing instruments were crude and most off those were written on papyrus or some other form of primitive paper. Even those that remain today require extraordinary care in order to preserve them, and prevent disintegration.

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