Links Edit As someone who has done Biblical translations...

There has been much study done on the various texts, and ones found from quite a long time ago, e.g. Dead Sea Scrolls. What has been found is that the "Old Testament" was kept very rigorlessly and was virtually unchanged after centuries. The Levite Priests in charge of copying the texts would typically destroy copies that had even a single stroke out of place. Yes, others outside the temple also made copies, but they were not considered authoritative copies - and those copies would usually end up with commentary as well.

Most of the debate about texts does not occur over the "Old Testament" texts written in Hebrew, but the "New Testament" texts written in Greek. The entire "New Testament" was written first in Greek; Aramaic versions would have been translations much like our English versions are. Quite a few of the texts for the "New Testament" have been proven to be passed down without change; the issue comes in that there has had to be many comparisons done as monks would write their commentaries in the margins in many cases and those commentaries became hard to decipher.

Regarding what is considered to be the "Canonical" text - that is what makes up the official Bible - that was settled in 300 A.D and has not changed since. There is a secondary set of books called the Apocrapha that some consider to be part of the Bible, however those books did not meet the requisite criteria for the council in 300 A.D for them to be considered "Canonical" texts. Many things, like David Brown's DaVinci Code, rely more on the Apocrapha texts to do what they do.

Most Prostestant churches view the Apocrapha as having some value as a secondary source, but do not consider it to be equal to the Bible. The "Book of Mormon", on the other hand, is considered heresy. Bible from 1515 by Beze 1515 trasnlation with commentary

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