End of Luke's Gospel in Codex Vaticanus

Literary History of the Bible

In these pages we will examine three issues related to the history of the Biblical texts. First we explore the issue of canonization—the process by which the individual books of the Bible were selected for inclusion in the canon. Then we raise the issue of the transmission of the biblical texts—that is, the issue of how they were passed down from generation to generation from the time they were written until now. Finally, we look at the history of the translation of the Bible into other languages, such as English. How have these translations been produced? Why are there so many different translations of the Bible available in English, and why are some of them so different from one another?

All of these issues impact the level of confidence that modern readers can reasonably have in the reliability of the text. For this reason these issues are important for any serious discussion of the Bible.


  1. Canonization
  2. Manuscripts and Transmission
  3. Translation
  4. Accuracy and Authority of Scriptural Texts

Image credit: The image at the top of this page shows the ending of Luke’s Gospel and the beginning of John in Codex Vaticanus, an extremely valuable fourth century Greek manuscript. The image is in the public domain in the United States. It is adapted from Wikimedia Commons.

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