Who's got more manuscripts: Qur'an or Bible?

Recently, I have read that Qur’an has approximately 250,000 manuscripts and most of it are not 2 centuries older after Muhammad died. This provided, we Christians pride ourselves for having more manuscripts but as I’ve searched we only have around 5,000 and only 500 of those are early. Now my question is, is it true that the Qur’an has this many of manuscripts, thus making it better for us to trace the original text since Qur’an has far less variants?

In addition Muslims have a tradition wherein they memorize the Qur’an, that manner, preserving the text. Do Catholics have similar traditions? Or better, how do we assure that the traditions of Catholics are trustworthy?

Kindly provide references if you would give any factual claims. Thanks!


The Quran entered the scene well after the founding of Christianity. That’s all that I need to know.


Also what’s the point of having accurate copies if the original documents are full of falsehoods? The Qu’ran was composed by a false prophet teaching a false religion.


Accurate document provides the lens of “divine revelation” that would be subject to scrutiny. The reason that the question was brought up is to challenge the Christian’s claim that the way that the New Testament has the most number of manuscripts is, as of what I currently know, not proven.

I don’t really care how many early manuscripts we have. That’s not the reason I believe the Bible.


There are over 20 thousand manuscripts preserved in part or whole of the New Testament. It seems new ones are often being found. (though he seems to be Christian, I don’t think he’s explicitly Catholic, though I am not 100% sure of his religious affiliation)

But, we also have the beliefs of the early Church to know what we have believed regardless.

Your link quotes someone as saying that there were 250000 manuscripts. I don’t know where he got that number. As that link says, other versions were burned before the standardization, so there are few copies before then. What I found indicates over 60 manuscripts including 2000 folios from before 800 (from the wikipedia artI’ve citing Corpus Coranicum). After that time period, I suppose some expert who has access to certain research I don’t may be best able to answer that. But it is odd that the hadith don’t mention memorization as a problem when they burned the other versions that were put together if they were already memorized. I do know that a lot of Muslims memorize the Quran today at least.

As I indicated, I’m no expert.

I’m a Catholic that still puts my faith into test of truth, how trustworthy are our traditions? And how sure can we date them back to the earliest Christians

Well, there are early Christian writings and history to see various beliefs of the early Christians and what are said to have been passed on from the Apostles, etc. So, for instance, it’s pretty clear baptizing infants is from the Apostolic age.
But God always guides the Church, even today.

The Quran has no input on the size, nor validity of the Bible. The only take-away that we need to be concerned with is Who and What: Christ and His Word. That’s it! That’s all! It just doesn’t matter how many books others have.


Couldn’t agree more! However, the question is how do we get what Jesus actually said? And one argument would be: because the New Testament says so. Then we put NT into validity, and one point scholars argue is that the amount of manuscripts available to go back to what Jesus said, leaving aside what the Qur’an actually have. All I need is to know whether or not the claim that they indeed have more early manuscripts than we do. This is just a niche that I’m trying to find out, and when finding for truth, red herring should be out of the option.

Yes, but to that point the Quran is hundreds and hundreds of years after Jesus died. The Quran may be OK for finding out what Mohammed said, but outside of believing that Mohammed was actually a prophet, I fail to see how it could truly illuminate what Jesus taught (especially when we have the living Church and the early Church writings, including the New Testament).

But to the point, the fact of the many copies of the New Testament isn’t that it is more copies than other works (though it does have a lot of copies) but that, due to the large number of copies, we can be relatively sure of what the original said, as we can compare copies and see what copying errors were made in specific manuscripts.
So I think it is odd to see how many quran manuscripts exist; it seems a bit of a red herring and I think many of us don’t get why you want to go into that specifically. But if you still wanna know, like I said earlier, it seems it needs specified knowledge outside of the manuscript count of what we have left prior to 800.

The reason being is I watched a debate between a Muslim and Christian. And it was mentioned, as you already said that manuscripts brings as back to the original. In that debate, it attempted to show how we can do that with the Bible but not in Qur’an because of limited manuscripts. Then then the Muslim uttered the the amount of manuscripts the Qur’an have. Also, I think the fact that Christianity was earlier is irrelevant for their claim is it was a divine revelation. In our world view, it is completely possible.

Where was the figure 800 acquired from?

I’m sorry. I was apparently not being clear. The “figure” 800 is the date 800 AD, as this is the date the Quran was standardized, and (as said before), previous copies were burned.

Yes, if Mohammed were actually a prophet, then it could tell you. But the point I was attempting to make was that, without that belief, there’s no reason it has any bearing. As I said, it may help determine what Mohammed actually said, but not much else. Which makes the comparison to New Testament copies seem unnecessary. If you go ahead and say that Mohammed was a prophet, the Christian could simply go ahead and say the New Testament is Inspired Sacred Scripture, so it’s a bit of a non-starter to go down that route in these considerations.

But I am sure there are many more knowledgable than me about the topic of early Islam.

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It’s not really a fair comparison given the time differences each were written in.

Well, Jesus’s death and Resurrection was something like 600 years before Muhammad came a long. So I tend to believe the writers of the Gospels more than a bedouin warlord. I think the people that were actually there would know. There’s also plenty of evidence outside of the Quran, that Jesus of Nazareth was crucified, and I don’t just mean in the Bible. And even then, the Quran isn’t really clear on that, it says Jesus wasn’t crucified, but doesn’t really say what else happened. Some Muslims, believe that God made someone else look like Jesus, a lot of people believe it is Judas, but from the record of Judas Iscariot we have that can’t really be the case

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There’s no absolute relation between “the True Faith” and “has several thousand manuscripts of its scriptures”, so I’m not concerned about it.

I’m also not worried about what another religion chooses to do in regard to memorization of its scriptures. Rote memorization only interests me insofar as I can learn the Mass responses and the prayers for whatever private devotions I’ve taken up. Memorizing scripture isn’t high on my list of things I want to spend time on. One can memorize whatever they like, but unless they live by what they’ve memorized, it matters not- and one can (and many- most, I’d say, do) live what they believe without doing so.


But the number of manuscripts has nothing whatsoever to do with whether it is true or not. So that is a red herring, which you claim not to be interested in.


Actually it’s not read hearing if it’s part of the criteria for the reliability of a text.

But it’s not.

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The reason behind me mentioning the memorization part is because it’s part of the transmission of the text. Increasing the probability of its reliability

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