Dan Brown’s wildly popular book The DaVinci Code depicts the selection of the books of the New Testament as one might imagine Congress passes laws: by vote, as shadowy figures cut deals and make crucial decisions based on a struggle to obtain and maintain power. Our common lore of today surrounding the Bible gives the impression that the information contained within was passed down from person to person like the telephone game until it was finally written down many decades later. However, no one knows who actually wrote the books or when they were first written. Further, there have been changes in the text of the books, and no one quite knows how corrupt or reliable the Bible we have today is.
Though these stories about the development of the Bible are circulated often, they are found to be far from an accurate depiction of the true origins of the Bible. Who wrote the Gospels? When were they written? How were they transmitted? How are modern translations produced? This booklet examines these questions in the light of early church history and the science of textual criticism.