All the publications of the New Testament and the Gospels in particular, whether they be in English, Spanish, or any other language are translations of original texts written in Greek. Ancient manuscripts containing these texts were copied a number of times, until each of these texts was fixed with the invention of printing; it was probably in 1456 that Guttenberg printed the first Bible.
Those copying the manuscripts could not avoid making some mistakes. By comparing the various manuscripts, grouped according to their differences and their origin, critics can determine what were the original texts which the Catholic Church recognized as the expression of the apostolic faith and as the word of God. The question remains: who wrote these first Gospels and what was their source?
Some beautiful manuscripts of the New Testament from the fourth century have been preserved. They are confirmed by many other much older documents which contain paragraphs or sometimes complete books of the New Testament. Moreover, Christian writers of the second and third centuries oftentimes quote the sacred text upon which they have commented. John’s Gospel is considered as dating from the years 90-100, and fragments have been discovered in Egypt, very far from the place of origin. The fragments are dated from the years 120-130.
In what follows, we will pay special attention to the Gospels, though they are not the most ancient writings of the New Testament. When the first three gospels were written, in the years 50-70, Paul had already sent his original letters.
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