The fact that the New Testament is so well-attested is seldom even disputed by critics. In a two-volume work dedicated to his former teacher Rudolf Bultmann, Helmut Koester summarizes nicely the excellent state of the text: Classical authors are often represented by but one surviving manuscript; if there are half a dozen or more, one can speak of a rather advantageous situation for reconstructing the text. But there are nearly five thousand manuscripts of the NT in Greek, numerous translations that derive from an early stage of the textual development, and finally, beginning in II CE, an uncounted number of quotations in the writings of the church fathers. . . . the manuscript tradition of the NT begins as early as the end of II CE; it is therefore separated by only a century or so from the time at which the autographs were written. Thus it seems that NT textual criticism possesses a base which is far more advantageous than that for the textual criticism of classical authors.^29