I want to make mention of two posts discussing early biblical manuscripts:

(1) Craig A. Evans contributed a short piece to The Bible and Interpretation in which he argues that ancient manuscripts could remain in circulation for a few centuries. He asks how this impacts the relationship between the earliest manuscripts we have available (e.g. p45, p46, p66) and the original autographs or earliest copies. Furthermore, he wonders aloud whether this says anything about early Christian collections and libraries. The article is titled, “How Long were Biblical Manuscripts in Use?”

One comment already asks a few questions including this one regarding “the nature of the scriptural copyists in the second century”: “Were they a well-disciplined group of professionals or a mixed lot of literate Christians?”

(2) This leads me to a post by Matthew R. Malcolm on his blog titled, “Textual Criticism: How do we know the earliest copyist were Christian?” wherein he discusses the recent work of Alan Mugridge. Mugridge wanted to know if (A) early copyist of biblical manuscripts were Christians and (B) if they were unskilled. In order to examine this he compared manuscripts from pre- and post- Constantine eras. He concludes that “the vast majority of early Christian manuscripts were copied by trade scribes.”

The conversations aren’t very lengthy yet, but if textual critical issues are of interest to you, then you may want to take some time read these post, especially since they address similar subjects.