If this is news to you, see the post Simplifying. Although this blog will remain accessible until mid-2018, I will not be doing any more posting to it. All my writing is now focused at The Kingdom of God Today.
Given a twenty-five year lifespan for a church codex, whether of Paul’s epistles or of the four Gospels, it could be guessed that there would be about two hundred copies by the beginning of the second century. There would be an additional 250–300 church copies by the end of second century. [Kindle location 1376]
J. Duplacy estimated that the total number of manuscripts of the Greek New Testament produced in the fourth century was between fifteen hundred and two thousand. This allows for about four or five copies produced by each church (or diocese) during this century. There were about four hundred dioceses towards AD 400. [Kindle location 1525]
By the end of the second century, there was a church in almost every major city [in the Greco-Roman world]. [Kindle location 1353]
There were, of course, other churches in villages and the countryside. But these city churches totaled forty-three in the first century and another fifty-four in the second. Roughly, one hundred local churches were in existence by the year 200. [Kindle location 1369]
From Destroyer of the Gods: Early Christian Distinctiveness in the Roman World by Larry W. Hurtado, Baylor University Press, 2016, page 3. In his footnote, Hurtado cites as his source Keith Hopkins in “Christian Number and Its Implications (Journal of Early Christian Studies, 1998) for this information. He also cites two additional sources for this kind of information.
One recent estimate of the number of sites where there were bodies or “communities” of Christians posits a hundred or so (many of these comprising several house-based groups) by 100 AD and two hundred to four hundred sites by 200 AD.
This video last 34:05 and is William Lane Craig’s standard presentation on the historicity of the resurrection. He gave the talk in April 2016 at Grace Presbyterian Church in Peoria, Illinois. Craig was originally from Peoria.
…a new analysis of the handwriting suggests that literacy may have been far more widespread than previously known in the Holy Land around 600 B.C., toward the end of the First Temple period. The findings, according to the researchers from Tel Aviv University, could have some bearing on a century-old debate about when the main body of biblical texts was composed.