Psalms; in the third are the Four Gospels; in the fourth, fragments of St. Paul's Epistles. 5. The Codex Bezae (السِفّر الْبِيزاَيُ), preserved at the University of Cambridge, was written about the beginning of the sixth century. 6. The Codex Ephraemi (السِّفر الإفرْايُمي), which was written early in the fifth century, is now in the National Library, Paris.

Besides these larger MSS., we also possess in our libraries smaller MSS. which contain separate portions of the New Testament in Greek. Of these the oldest is a single sheet of papyrus recently discovered with others in the ruins of Oxyrhynchus, near the present village of Bahnasah in Egypt, about 120 miles south of Cairo, and hence called one of the Oxyrhynchus (بهنسيّة) Papyri. It was written between 200 and 300 A.D., that is to say, between 370 and 270 years before Muhammad's birth. It contains the first and the twentieth chapters of St. John's Gospel. Such recently discovered MSS. are of especial value from our present point of view, because, as they had been buried in the desert sands in what afterwards became a Muslim land, hundreds of years before the Hijrah, and remained in that state until dug up recently, not even the most bigoted of men can say that they were forged after the "descent" of the Qur'an, or that they have been "corrupted" (محرّقة) by Christians since, or in Muhammad's time.

We already possess 3,899 MSS. either of the whole or of separate parts of the Greek New Testament. All of these have been carefully examined and entered in catalogues, so that students may know where they are kept. There are also probably between 2,000 and 3,000 others not yet catalogued.

So far we have been speaking of MSS. of the New Testament in the original Greek. But we may here mention that some of the existing MSS. of Versions into other languages are also more ancient than Muhammad's time. For instance, of the Peshitta


(بِشطّا) Syriac Version we have at least ten MSS. which were copied in the fifth century from still more ancient ones, and thirty which belong to the sixth century.

In speaking of the Old Testament we mentioned a considerable number of the Versions of it made into languages so ancient that no one now living speaks any of them as his mother tongue. Still more numerous versions of the New Testament into such very ancient languages exist, in whole or in part. Of these we proceed to mention some of the most important. All those here spoken of, except one mentioned below, were made long before Muhammad's time, and it was made during his life, but before the Hijrah.

I. We have several versions into Syriac, especially the Peshitta (بِشطّا), made in the second or third century; the Philoxenian Syriac, made about 508 A.D., and its revision by Thomas of Heraclea (حرقل) in 616 A.D. But besides these there were other Syriac Versions, two of which are preserved for us in the MSS. called the Curetonian and the Sinai-Syriac. The early existence of a translation of the New Testament into Syriac is proved by the fact that Tatian, who was born probably in 110 A.D., composed a Harmony of the Four Gospels. We possess this work in a slightly varied form in Latin and Armenian. An Arabic version of this "Diatessaron", as it is called, was made from the Syriac by Ibnu't Tabib (ابْن الطّبيب), who died in 1043 A.D. Of very great interest are the fragments recently found of a version of the New Testament made from the Greek into the dialect of Syriac spoken in Palestine, for that was the mother tongue of the Lord Jesus Christ. This version was probably made in the fourth century, if not earlier. The MS. which contains what remains of it is called the "Codex Climaci Rescriptus" (سِفر كليماكوس). It was written in the sixth century, and contains portions of the four Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, and the Epistles of St. Paul.