Recently on this blog Jim Snapp suggested that an evangelical textual critic
"accepts the possibility that the initial issuance of some documents involved multiple autographs, and regards the contents of each autograph as original, inspired, and authoritative, even where differences of sense among the multiple autographs occurred."
In the comments to that post Maurice Robinson said that he did not regard the hypothesis of multiple autographs as necessary. The possibility of multiple autographs was particularly argued by Ehrman in Misquoting Jesus, giving Galatians as the prime example. After all, Galatians is an epistle written to multiple congregations and Ehrman suggests that it is therefore likely that each congregation would have received its own copy. It occurred to me that Ehrman appeals to Galatians because it is the case that prima facie is most likely to require multiple autographs from the perspective of delivery. However, Gal. 6:11 suggests that there was a copy of the letter that would have displayed a distinctive form of Paul's handwriting and seems to assume that the recipients would have had access to this. Thus rather than supposing that Paul and his amanuensis in the heat of passionate correspondence anticipated the number of copies of his letter that would be required and produced that number of autographs, we should suppose that they produced one autograph which was circulated to each congregation, with the potential for it to be copied in each location. Thus, ironically, what Ehrman regards as the strongest case for multiple autographs gives rather strong evidence for a single autograph.
Some other cases for multiple autographs (Mark, Luke, John) struggle with the fact that the two 'versions' of the book produce conflicting literary analyses.