Friday, May 14, 2010

Manuscript Authenticity

For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (Romans 15:4 NAS)

Ancient Manuscript Whether we are looking for a job, selling a product or service, persuading someone to agree with us on something, or requesting someone to accept what we have to offer, we all face rejections at times. Like everyone else, writers also frequently face rejections. Although not all of us are writers, to those who are, we know how difficult it is to get our manuscripts published. In the real world, many writers receive rejection letters more than acceptance to have written works acquired or accepted by publishers.

Many sites on the worldwide web have suggested various approaches to reduce the immediate rejections of manuscripts by publishers. Some of these sites suggest following certain guidelines to format manuscripts, such as using the right font type, font size, line spacing, adding page breaks, among many other advices. Other sites suggest writers to improve, redraft, revise and critically assess manuscripts before submission. Yet another site suggests going through literary agents rather than deal with the publisher directly, as agents have better contact with the publishers.

All these suggestions are good, but they are often useless because not many publishers accept unsolicited manuscripts submission. Even if they do, they usually put these manuscripts among other unsolicited submissions, and if they have the time, the acquisitions editor will take some of the manuscripts to review and appraise. If the editor likes our manuscripts, he or she will then hand it to the editorial staff. Depending on the size of the publisher’s organization, the manuscripts will then go through other processes for reviews by different people before they are accepted for publication.

Like the processes a writer’s manuscript has to go through before it is considered for publishing, manuscripts of ancient writings also have to go through many processes and stringent checks for historical value before they are authenticated. By using paleography, which is a scientific research methodology for studying ancient writings, scholars are able to accurately obtain information about historical manuscripts to find out where the document was originated and how old it is through analyzing the ink and mediums used, such as the type of writing instruments, handwriting and illustrations.

Archaeological evidences throughout history have shown the reliability and authenticity of the Old and New Testament’s manuscripts in its accuracy of transmission from ancient writings. According to information from AllAboutTheJourney.org, manuscripts of the Bible, when compared to other ancient writings, “stand alone as the best-preserved literary works of all antiquity.” Thousands of existing Old Testament manuscripts and fragments copied throughout the Middle East, Mediterranean and European regions phenomenally agree with each other, and these texts substantially agree with the Septuagint version of the Old Testament translated from Hebrew to Greek some time during the third century BC.

The Dead Sea Scrolls which were discovered in Israel between 1947 and 1956 also provide astounding evidence for the reliability of ancient transcription of the Jewish Scriptures (Old Testament) in the first, second and third centuries BC. Through the academic discipline of textual criticism, much of the Bible translations have been verified today as essentially the same as the ancient Bible manuscripts. Given this fact, if any other ancient writings are accepted as historical pieces even with much less evidences, we can all the more trust the reliability of the writings in the Holy Bible. Although archeology is unable to prove the spiritual truths in the Bible, it shows the amazing testimony to the accuracy of the Bible from the original text.

Knowing this, therefore, we can all appreciate how ancient manuscripts are painstakingly analyzed as compared to the haphazard selection processes of writers’ manuscripts by publishers today. We should therefore not doubt the authenticity of the Bible, for whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement we might have hope (Romans 15:4).

Thank You, dear Lord, for the Holy Bible, and for preserving its content so accurately even till this day that we may without any doubt put our trust in You completely. We know Lord that without Your written word, we would not have been able to receive Your instruction, so that through perseverance and encouragement we might have hope. Help us dear Lord, that in understanding how the Bible came to be what it is today, to readily defend Your word with full confidence.

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