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Notably, there are two scrolls of the Book of Isaiah, one complete (1QIs The New Testament has been preserved in more manuscripts than any other ancient work, having over 5,800 complete or fragmented Greek manuscripts, 10,000 Latin manuscripts and 9,300 manuscripts in various other ancient languages including Syriac, Slavic, Gothic, Ethiopic, Coptic and Armenian. 125 (the papyrus, oldest copy of John fragments) to the introduction of printing in Germany in the 15th century. Often, especially in monasteries, a manuscript cache is little more than a former manuscript recycling centre, where imperfect and incomplete copies of manuscripts were stored while the monastery or scriptorium decided what to do with them. The first was to simply "wash" the manuscript and reuse it.That was very common in the ancient world and even up into the Middle Ages; such reused manuscripts were called palimpsests.The idea of stocking extra copies would probably have been considered at best wasteful and unnecessary since the form and the presentation of a manuscript were more often than not customized to the aesthetic tastes of the buyer.That is part of the reason that scholars are more likely to find incomplete and sometimes-conflicting segments of manuscripts than complete and largely-consistent works.In the 6th century, a special room devoted to the practice of manuscript writing and illumination called the scriptorium came into use, typically inside medieval European monasteries.Sometimes a group of scribes would make copies at the same time as one individual read from the text.In fact, most New Testament manuscripts are codices.

The earliest New Testament manuscripts were written on papyrus, made from a reed that grew abundantly in the Nile Delta.One way of classifying handwriting is by formality: book-hand vs. More formal, literary Greek works were often written in a distinctive style of even, capital letters called book-hand.Less formal writing consisted of cursive letters which could be written quickly.The considerable length of some New Testament books (such as the Pauline epistles), and the New Testament itself, was not suited to the limited space available on a single scroll; in contrast a codex could be expanded to hundreds of pages.