AS the extant Greek manuscripts of the New Testament supply both the most copious and the purest sources of Textual Criticism, we propose to present to the reader some account of their peculiarities in regard to material, form, style of writing, date and contents, before we enter into details respecting individual copies, under the several subdivisions to which it is usual to refer them.
On the general character of Manuscripts of the Greek Testament
1. The subject of the present section has been systematically discussed in the “Palaeographia Graeca” (Paris, 1708, folio) of Bernard de Montfaucon [1655—1741], the most illustrious member of the learned Society of the Benedictines of St Maur. This truly great work, although its materials are rather too exclusively drawn from manuscripts deposited in French libraries, and its many illustrative facsimiles somewhat rudely engraved, still remains our best authority on all points relating to Greek Manuscripts, even after more recent discoveries, especially among the papyri of Egypt and Herculaneum, have necessarily modified not a few of its statements. The four splendid volumes of M. J. B. Silvestre's “Paléographie Universelle” (Paris, 1839, &c. folio) afford us no less than forty-one coloured specimens of the Greek writing of various ages, sumptuously executed; though the accompanying letter-press descriptions, by F. and A.