Textual Stability of the New Testament Documents

by Charles Cherry

New Testament Professor Dr. Larry Hurtado has published a blog post describing some interesting new statistical analyses of certain early NT manuscripts. In the post he refers to a new study by K. Martin Heide of Munich University entitled “Assessing the Stability of the Transmitted Texts of the New Testament and the Shepherd of Hermas.”

Dr. Hurtado says,

His calculations for the NT manuscripts included show an average textual stability of 92.6% (of the words in the test passages), the spread of results for individual manuscripts ranging from 87.1% to 99.7%.

What this means, I think, is that the NT texts he studied were subject to a high degree of scrutiny during the copying process; much more, say, than other non-canonical texts such as “The Sherpherd of Hermas.”

Read the full post here: