Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary

17 Feb 2012

More on 1st Century Gospel of Mark

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In my previous posts, here and here, I reported on a debate between Dan Wallace and Bart Ehrman during which Wallace remarked that he had information about the discovery of a fragmentary papyrus manuscript of the Gospel of Mark that possibly may be from the 1st century A.D. The debate is now available online. Dr. Wallace’s announcement of the Mark fragment and other recent discoveries is at 1:13:40, and Dr. Ehrman and Dr. Wallace discuss it briefly at 1:48:10. What is interesting is that Wallace says the papyrologist (expert in ancient writing on papyrus) who has examined this fragment is considered by many to be the best papyrologist on the planet, and he is certain the Mark manuscript is from the 1st century.

This certain dating is difficult for other experts to accept uncritically since the common way of dating ancient manuscripts is by the style of writing, and usually this is only accurate to about fifty years unless there is some other way to establish the date, possibly by dating other materials with which a manuscript is found. Wallace, who is sworn to secrecy, reports that we will have to wait for the publication of manuscript details in a book set to come out in 2013.

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