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Some sources place the figure for the "variant readings" even higher, including The Anchor Bible Dictionary On CD-ROM ("Textual Criticism, NT"), which says, "Perhaps 300,000 differing readings is a fair figure for the 20 century (K. Clark 1962: 669)." So much for "God's infallible Word" and his "inspired scribes." Apologists have come up with all sorts of excuses for this manmade mess; their excuses only demonstrate further that man's hand - and not that of the Almighty God - has been involved in the creation of Christianity and its texts at every step.
In reality, the four gospels selected for inclusion in the New Testament do not make any appearance in the literary and archaeological record until the last quarter of the 2 century,between 170 and 180 CE, and even then they are not much mentioned for a couple of decades.
I can relate to all the questions we receive on a personal level because once upon a time, I too was banging my head against the table in an effort to understand .
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When scrutinized, the Pauline epistles do not reveal any historical Jesus; nor do they demonstrate any knowledge of the existence of the four canonical gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. 4, 594-595), who states: The New Testament is now known, in whole or in part, in nearly five thousand Greek manuscripts alone.
As has been proved repeatedly, the gospels themselves cannot be viewed as "history" written by "eyewitnesses." Besides the fact that they date to much later than is supposed, the gospels frequently contradict each other, and, based on the numerous manuscripts composed over the centuries, have been determined (by German theologian Johann Griesbach, for one) to be a mass of some 150,000 "variant readings." In this regard, The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, a Christian book, contains an article written by M. Every one of these handwritten copies differ from the other one It has been estimated that these manuscripts and quotations differ among themselves between 150,000 and 250,000 times. A study of 150 Greek manuscripts of the Gospel of Luke has revealed more than 30,000 different readings It is safe to say that there is not one sentence in the New Testament in which the manuscripts' tradition is wholly uniform.