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How was the New Testament created, and where did the original books come from? By the 2nd century, hundreds of texts were written about Jesus and people who knew him, including 30 gospels purportedly by the disciples themselves. The oldest fragments we have are two small pieces from 125CE, one from an unknown gospel and one from the Gospel of John. The earliest complete manuscripts we have are from the 3rd and 4th centuries. All ancient manuscripts we have found differ from the later ones that came to form the Bible and there was a constant stream of editing, masking, forgery and invention in the evolution of those books. The Church Fathers themselves quoted Jesus from sources that are still unknown - from texts that may have been more historical that the ones that finally made it into the Bible. The Christian community itself knew that most texts were fraudulent and "there were long, protracted and often heated debates in the early church over forged documents". It was the centralized, Roman-influenced forms of Christianity whose stories were most successful. The first person to decide upon the list of the 27 books of the New Testament was Athanasius in 367CE. This included only 4 of the gospels for the pagan-sounding reason that there are "four winds", "four points of the compass". Given the diverse sources of these texts and that the original disciples and their followers left no first hand writings, there was never any way for Christians to check the authenticity of any of the Christian texts that formed the New Testament. No-one ever did find any relatives or eye-witnesses of Jesus in order to ask them, and no-one ever knew where Jesus was buried, so, debates over who had the right texts was solvable only by force over hundreds of years.