The latest calculations have all known Greek manuscripts at about 5,898, written from as early as 110 C.E. to as late as the end of the fifteenth-century. P52 although a fragment is one of the most important.
Papyrus 52 (P52) and the Nomina Sacra
The oldest manuscript of the New Testament known today is P52, a small fragment from John’s Gospel, dated to the first half of the second century (110-150 C.E.).
NTTC MATTHEW 1:1: The Gospel According to Matthew and the Nomina Sacra
Matthew: The Greek name rendered “Matthew” is likely a shortened form of the Hebrew name rendered “Mattithiah” (1 Chron. 15:18, 21; 25:3, 21), which means “Gift of Jah.” None of the four Gospel writers named themselves in their accounts, and titles were seemingly not part of the original text.
THE UNKNOWN GOSPEL: Egerton Papyrus 2
The Egerton Gospel (British Library Egerton Papyrus 2) refers to a collection of three papyrus fragments of a codex of a previously unknown gospel, found in Egypt and sold to the British Museum in 1934; the physical fragments are to be dated to about 150 C.E. What does the nomina sacra tell us? And how has a simple hooked apostrophe impacted two of our earliest manuscripts for many new textual scholars?
NEW TESTAMENT TEXTUAL STUDIES: What Are the Nomina Sacra and Their Origin?
Nomina Sacra (singular: nomen sacrum from Latin sacred name): In early Christian scribal practices, there was the abbreviation of several frequently occurring divine names or titles within the Greek manuscripts.