Rylands library papyrus p52 carbon dating
Moreover, the Gospel of John's greater theological development when compared with the other three gospels has led some scholars to conclude it was written as late as 120 or even 150 AD.
The P52 fragment seems to make such late dates impossible.
In some cases the evidence will be found to be so evenly divided that it is extremely difficult to decide between two variant readings.
In other instances, however, the critic can arrive at a decision based on more or less compelling reasons for preferring one reading and rejecting another.
### Paleography: Dating Ancient Manuscripts Of course, the reliability of a given manuscript is based in large part on its age: earlier manuscripts are more likely to be accurate reflections of the original, so they are given more weight than later copies.
It is therefore important for textual critics to know the dates of the manuscripts they are analyzing.
And this question leads to another important question: Even if it was written at an early date, how do we know the New Testament that exists today is the same as the original?In fact, "there is not a single copy wholly free from mistakes." That said, the variances are theologically inconsequential and the vast majority don't affect translation.It is the task of textual criticism, therefore, to study and compare the available manuscripts in order to discern which of the variations conforms the closest to the original.But it also based on the belief that it is an accurate historical record written by men who experienced the lives of Jesus and the apostles firsthand.But some have challenged this traditional view, arguing that it was written much later, long after Jesus' original followers were dead and Christianity had transformed into a different religion than the one taught by Jesus of Nazareth.