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Before this discovery, the earliest extant manuscripts of the Old Testament were in Greek in manuscripts such as Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus.
The word Bible comes from the Greek biblia (books); manuscript comes from Latin manu (hand) and scriptum (written).
Biblical manuscripts vary in size from tiny scrolls containing individual verses of the Jewish scriptures (see Tefillin) to huge polyglot codices (multi-lingual books) containing both the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) and the New Testament, as well as extracanonical works.
The study of biblical manuscripts is important because handwritten copies of books can contain errors. 1008 CE) were the oldest Hebrew language manuscripts of the Tanakh.
The science of textual criticism attempts to reconstruct the original text of books, especially those published prior to the invention of the printing press. In 1947 (CE) the finding of the Dead Sea scrolls at Qumran pushed the manuscript history of the Tanakh back a millennium from the two earliest complete codices.
There are more manuscripts that preserve the New Testament than there are for any other ancient writing.
Although the exact form of the text preserved in later manuscripts may not be identical to the form of the text as it existed in antiquity, it is agreed by most scholars to be 99.5% identical in content, with the rest being minor variations such as spelling.Such variations are not seen to affect the meaning or interpretation of the scriptures and are usually given reference to as in-page footnotes in most of today's bibles. Often, especially in monasteries, a manuscript cache is little more than a former manuscript recycling centre, where imperfect and incomplete copies of manuscripts were stored while the monastery or scriptorium decided what to do with them. The first was to simply "wash" the manuscript and reuse it.That was very common in the ancient world and even up into the Middle Ages; such reused manuscripts were called palimpsests.Manuscript copying was very costly when it required a scribe's attention for extended periods so a manuscript might be made only when it was commissioned.Then, the size of the parchment, script used, any illustrations (thus raising the effective cost) and whether it was one book or a collection of several would be determined by the one commissioning the work.The second test (#21) yielded a result (50 BCE-130 CE) that was deemed more satisfactory.