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In the years after Jesus was crucified atCalvary, the story of his life, death and resurrection was not immediatelywritten down. The experiences of disciples like Matthew and John would havebeen told and retold at many dinner tables and firesides, perhaps for decades,before anyone recorded them for posterity. St Paul, whose writings are equallycentral to the New Testament, was not even presentamong the early believers until a few years after Jesus’ execution.

耶稣在骷髅地被钉上十字架之后的岁月里,关于他生活、死亡和复活的故事并没有立刻被记录下来。在有人为后世子孙记录下它们之前,像是马太和约翰等门徒的经历,会在很多餐桌和炉火边被反复述说,可能长达几十年。对于新约同等枢要的圣保罗的著述,在早期信徒中间甚至都没有出现过,直到耶稣被处死后的一些年。

But if many people will have an idea ofthis gap between the events of the New Testament and the book that emerged, fewprobably appreciate how little we know about the first Christian Bible. Theoldest complete New Testament that survives today is from the fourth century,but it had predecessors which have long since turned to dust.

但如果很多人都清楚新约中的事件与冒出来的书之间存在的缺口,我们对第一本基督教圣经知之甚少这个事实,可能就不会让人感到欣慰了。现存最古老的完整版新约来自四世纪,但一些更早年代的书早就化为了尘灰。


From oral to written

从口头到书面

Historical accuracy is central to the NewTestament. The issues at stake were pondered in the book itself by Luke theEvangelist as he discusses the reasons for writing what became his eponymousGospel. He writes: “I too decided to write an orderly account … so that you mayknow the certainty of the things you have been taught.”

对新约来说,史实准确性是很关键的。在路加探讨写作日后与他同名福音书的原因时,他在书中对这些紧要的问题作了深思。他写道:“我也决定按顺序写一份记事...这样你们就能知道所教授给你们的事情之确凿。”


The first New Testament books to be writtendown are reckoned to be the 13 that comprise Paul’s letters (circa 48-64 CE),probably beginning with 1 Thessalonians or Galatians. Then comes the Gospel ofMark (circa 60-75 CE). The remaining books – the other three Gospels, lettersof Peter, John and others as well as Revelation – were all added before oraround the end of the first century. By the mid-to-late hundreds CE, majorchurch libraries would have had copies of these, sometimes alongside othermanuscxts later deemed apocrypha.

第一批被写下来的新约书籍被认为是包含了保罗信件的13本(约公元48-64年,即《使徒书信》),可能是以帖撒罗尼迦前/后书或加拉太书开始的。然后就有了马可福音(约公元60-75年)。其余的书,包括其他三本福音、彼得前/后书、约翰一/二/三书以及其他人的书信,连同启示录,都是在公元一世纪前或左右添加进来的。到公元几百年的中后期,主要的教会图书馆都会有这些书籍的副本,偶尔还会同时存有其他在日后被视为伪经的手稿。

The point at which the books come to beseen as actual scxture and canon is a matter of debate. Some point to whenthey came to be used in weekly worship services, circa 100 CE and in some casesearlier. Here they were treated on a par with the old Jewish scxtures thatwould become the Old Testament, which for centuries had been taking pride of placein synagogues all over latter-day Israel and the wider Middle East.

这些书是在什么时候被视为真正的圣经和正典是一个有争议的问题。它们被用于每周礼拜的时间点,大约是公元100年,而在一些案例中还要更早。是时,它们受到的待遇与会在日后成为旧约的古犹太圣经同等,而几百年来,后者一直是近代整个以色列和泛中东地区犹太教堂的骄傲。

Others emphasise the moment before oraround 200 CE when the titles “Old” and “New Testament” were introduced by thechurch. This dramatic shift clearly acknowledges two major collections withscxtural status making up the Christian Bible – relating to one another asold and new covenant, prophecy and fulfilment. This reveals that the firstChristian two-testament bible was by now in place.

另一些人强调的是公元200年之前或前后,“旧约”和“新约”的称呼被教会引入的时点。很明显,在这种戏剧性的变化中,承认了拥有圣经地位的构成基督教圣经的两大主要集子的权威,涉及了旧约和新约、预言和实现。这就揭示出:第一部囊括旧约和新约的基督教圣经在那时已经就位了。

This is not official or precise enough foranother group of scholars, however. They prefer to focus on the late fourthcentury, when the so-called canon lists entered the scene – such as the onelaid down by Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, in 367 CE, which acknowledges 22Old Testament books and 27 New Testament books.

然而对于另一群学者来说,这还不够正式,或者说不够准确。他们更喜欢聚焦于四世纪晚期,那时所谓的正典名单登场了,比如那份由亚历山大主教阿萨内修斯于公元367年制定的名单,其中承认了22部旧约书和27部新约书。

Bible #1

1号圣经



Codex Sinaiticus, Book of Matthew.

(图解:西奈山抄本之《马太福音》)


They both contain interesting features suchas special devotional or creedal demarcations of sacred names, known as nominasacra. These shorten words like “Jesus”, “Christ”, “God”, “Lord”, “Spirit”,“cross” and “crucify”, to their first and last letters, highlighted with a horizontaloverbar. For example, the Greek name for Jesus, ?ησο??, is written as ????; while God, θε??, is????. Laterbibles sometimes presented these in gold letters or render them bigger or moreornamental, and the practice endured until bible printing began around the timeof the Reformation.

它们都包含了有趣的特征,女神国际MG电子走势图:比如圣名中特殊的虔诚划分,或是教义中的划分,称为nomina sacra(即拉丁文中的“圣名”之意)。这些缩短后的词,像是“耶稣”、“基督”、“上帝”、“主”、“灵”、“十字架”以及“钉死”,在它们的首字母和末字母上,用一条水平的上划线标明。例如,耶稣的希腊语名字,?ησο??, 写作????;而上帝,θε??,,写成????。之后的圣经有时会用金色字母来呈现它们,或是把它们变得更大或更富装饰性,这种做法持续了下去,直到大约宗教改革时期圣经开始印刷。

Though Sinaiticus and Vaticanus are boththought to have been copied from long-lost predecessors, in one format or theother, previous and later standardised New Testaments consisted of a four-volumecollection of individual codices – the fourfold Gospel; Acts and seven CatholicEpistles; Paul’s 14 letters (including Hebrews); and the Book of Revelation.They were effectively collections of collections.

虽然西奈山抄本和梵蒂冈抄本都被认为是从早已佚失的前代圣经中抄录过来的,以这样或那样的格式,但之前和之后标准化的新约是由四卷个人抄本的集子组成的,即四福音书、使徒行传和七篇大公书信、保罗的十四封书信(包括希伯来书),以及启示录。实际上,它们是收藏品的集合。

But in the absence of a single book priorto the fourth century, we have to content ourselves with the many survivingolder fragments sensationally found during the 20th century. We now have some50 fragmentary New Testament manuscxts written on papyrus that date from thesecond and third centuries – including the valuable Papyrus 45 (fourfold Gospeland Acts), and Papyrus 46 (a collection of Pauline letters). In all, thesecomprise almost complete or partial versions of 20 of the 27 books in the NewTestament.

但由于四世纪前一本书也没有,我们不得不靠20世纪的惊人发现,即现存更古老的碎片来自我满足。我们现在拥有50份写在纸莎草纸上可追溯到二至三世纪的新约抄本碎片,包括价值极高的纸莎草纸45号(Papyrus 45,含四福音书和使徒行传),以及纸莎草纸46号(Papyrus 46,保罗书信集)。加总起来,这些涵盖了新约中27部书中20部的几乎全本或是部分的版本。


Papyrus 46 extract.

(图解:纸莎草纸46号摘录)

The quest will likely continue foradditional sources of the original books of the New Testament. Since it issomewhat unlikely anyone will ever find an older Bible comparable withSinaiticus or Vaticanus, we will have to keep piecing together what we have,which is already quite a lot. It’s a fascinating story which will no doubtcontinue to provoke arguments between scholars and enthusiasts for many yearsinto the future.

对新约原本额外来源的追索可能会继续下去。因为任何人找到比西奈山抄本或梵蒂冈抄本更古老的圣经都有点不太可能,我们不得不将我们拥有的那些持续不断地拼凑到一起,它们的数量已经相当多了。这是一个让人神魂颠倒的故事,毫无疑问将会在未来的很多年里,继续激起学者和狂热分子之间的争论。