Evangelical Textual Criticism

Friday, February 10, 2012

First century Mark fragment and extensive papyrus/i?

Dan Wallace has now further specified his claim that there is an unpublished manuscript of Mark which is likely to be first century. Many of us will have no small scepticism towards such claims, but as the claim is of inherent interest and as it is made by someone who has made significant contributions to the study of the text of the New Testament I thought it would be good to repeat the whole text here. Also of interest is the claim that 7 unpublished early papyri cover 43% of the NT, which would at a minimum require one of them to be extensive. If there is an extensive papyrus then that, for me, is of far greater interest (see Dan's 'thrill' below) than a 'fragment' which on the basis a few letter shapes is assigned by one palaeographer to the first century. It is suggested that publication can be expected in 2013. It sounds like the dates have been proposed on the basis of palaeography, not of association within the context of cartonnage.

Dan writes here:

On 1 February 2012, I debated Bart Ehrman at UNC Chapel Hill on whether we have the wording of the original New Testament today. This was our third such debate, and it was before a crowd of more than 1000 people. I mentioned that seven New Testament papyri had recently been discovered—six of them probably from the second century and one of them probably from the first. These fragments will be published in about a year.

These fragments now increase our holdings as follows: we have as many as eighteen New Testament manuscripts from the second century and one from the first. Altogether, more than 43% of all New Testament verses are found in these manuscripts. But the most interesting thing is the first-century fragment.

It was dated by one of the world’s leading paleographers. He said he was ‘certain’ that it was from the first century. If this is true, it would be the oldest fragment of the New Testament known to exist. Up until now, no one has discovered any first-century manuscripts of the New Testament. The oldest manuscript of the New Testament has been P52, a small fragment from John’s Gospel, dated to the first half of the second century. It was discovered in 1934.

Not only this, but the first-century fragment is from Mark’s Gospel. Before the discovery of this fragment, the oldest manuscript that had Mark in it was P45, from the early third century (c. AD 200–250). This new fragment would predate that by 100 to 150 years.

How do these manuscripts change what we believe the original New Testament to say? We will have to wait until they are published next year, but for now we can most likely say this: As with all the previously published New Testament papyri (127 of them, published in the last 116 years), not a single new reading has commended itself as authentic. Instead, the papyri function to confirm what New Testament scholars have already thought was the original wording or, in some cases, to confirm an alternate reading—but one that is already found in the manuscripts. As an illustration: Suppose a papyrus had the word “the Lord” in one verse while all other manuscripts had the word “Jesus.” New Testament scholars would not adopt, and have not adopted, such a reading as authentic, precisely because we have such abundant evidence for the original wording in other manuscripts. But if an early papyrus had in another place “Simon” instead of “Peter,” and “Simon” was also found in other early and reliable manuscripts, it might persuade scholars that “Simon” is the authentic reading. In other words, the papyri have confirmed various readings as authentic in the past 116 years, but have not introduced new authentic readings. The original New Testament text is found somewhere in the manuscripts that have been known for quite some time.

These new papyri will no doubt continue that trend. But, if this Mark fragment is confirmed as from the first century, what a thrill it will be to have a manuscript that is dated within the lifetime of many of the eyewitnesses to Jesus’ resurrection!

Having been prompted to reread Dan's statement it is clear that the 43% includes existing known manuscripts. Therefore the 'Seven' do not need to be extensive.


  1. Dan actually states that the 18 papyri altogether cover 43% (not the seven unpublished), but that is, nevertheless, very thrilling.

  2. It doesn't seem that this item comes from the mummy masks we have heard of. Rather it might come from an unknown private collection in Istanbul, which Dr. Carroll investigated in the end of November 2011. On Nov 27, he wrote on Twitter:

    "Finished exhibit and lectures in West Africa with over 21,000 registered. Now in Istanbul looking at a collection of unpublished papyri."


    "My eyes feasted on classical texts, royal decrees, and Biblical and Gnostic texts; nearly 1,000 papyri hidden in this private treasure-trove"

    and on 1 Dec:

    "For over 100 years the earliest known text of the New Testament has been the so-call John Rylands Papyrus. Not any more. Stay tuned . . "

    and on Facebook the same day:

    "For over 100 years the earliest-known text of the NT has been the so-called John Rylands papyrus. That is about to change with a sensational discover I made yesterday. Stay tuned for the update."

    Regardless of the dating issue, I just wish I had been there! I can just imagine the feeling.

  3. It doesn't make sense to me that a leading palaeographer would express themselves as "certain" on such a matter. Dating scribal hands on the basis of palaeography does not generally lead to certainty but to probabilities and to date ranges and one would expect a leading palaeographer to know that.
    Now if the fragments have been found bundled together with a bunch of dated documents all from the first century, that would be interesting. But it doesn't sound like anyone has done this work yet.
    So we are left with a couple of options: a) this is not a leading palaeographer; b) he has been misquoted/misunderstood; c) he is wrong; or d) (less likely) he is right and there is some peculiar feature of this manuscript that leads to the peculiar confidence expressed.

  4. Tommy, you're right. I've now reread what he wrote. Of course, if P66 and/or P46 were considered second century one would arrive at a large percentage without any new extensive papyri.

  5. If it is from a collection in Istanbul, would that necessarily exclude that it came from mummy cartonnage?

  6. Dear PJW:

    First, please repair your blog-entry! Dr. Wallace didn’t say that 43% of the NT text is in unpublished papyri; he made claims to the effect that we have “as many as eighteen New Testament manuscripts from the second century and one from the first,” and that 43% of the New Testament text is found *in those 18 manuscripts* (including MSS already known). (Was he counting P75 and P46 as second-century MSS, I wonder??)

    Earlier this week I waded through the internet seeking some background information about Dr. Scott Carroll (who, everyone seems to suspect, is involved in the discovery of the fragment of Mark). At
    at about 20:40 into the video, his work with the Green Collection is the focus of a CBN news report. In that report, notice some of the claims that Dr. Carroll made about Codex Climaci Rescriptus:

    He states that Codex Climaci Rescriptus is “the fifth-earliest near-complete Bible in the world. The handwriting betrays that it actually was copied from something in the 100's.”

    In a video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31NVnCb3EGw he says that the Greek text in Codex Climaci Rescriptus is “very early Greek,” and he states that via the multi-spectral imaging technique that is being used on the codex “We’re actually recovering, uh, the Scriptures, the earliest Scriptures; we are actually recovering the earliest Scriptures in the world in Jesus’ household language.” (I have tried to transcribe this just as he stated it.)

    The Passages Exhibit is on tour, and part of it is at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.
    At http://my.gordonconwell.edu/page.aspx?pid=563 there is this sentence: “The capstone of The Green Collection is Codex Climaci Rescriptus, one of the world's earliest surviving Bibles. Using a new technology developed by
    The Green Collection in collaboration with Oxford University, scholars have uncovered the earliest surviving New Testament written in Palestinian Aramaic - the language used in Jesus' household - hidden under layers of text in this rare

    To me, all this speaks for itself, but just in case what I mean to get across is not getting across: some of Dr. Carroll’s statements about Codex Climaci Rescriptus are, imho, exaggerations. For instance, in this “near complete Bible,” how many books of the Bible are intact? How many books of the Bible have more than half their text preserved in this MS? And, how does the handwriting in Codex Climaci Rescriptus show that it was copied from something in the 100’s? And, considering the work that has already been done on this MS, is it accurate to give readers the impression that researchers are just now uncovering the Palestinian Aramaic text? And is that text under “layers” of overwriting, or just one layer?

    That’s why, if the claim about a first-century fragment of Mark is related to the Green Collection, my happiness is mixed with caution.

    Yours in Christ,

    James Snapp, Jr.

  7. SG: "If it is from a collection in Istanbul, would that necessarily exclude that it came from mummy cartonnage?"

    No, you are right, but I think the first reports of Carroll working on mummy cartonnage came much earlier, whereas the twitter notes mentioning an Istanbul collection was more recent and did not sound as the same thing: "My eyes feasted on ... Biblical ... texts; nearly 1,000 papyri ..."

    But I have been wrong before.

  8. James Snapp,
    Though I would love to correct my error, I think that to do so would make nonsense of the following comments, so I prefer to let the error stand.

    The official Green Collection press release accepted 6th century dating of Codex Climaci Rescriptus.

  9. Pete, we could make an "update" below the text, which I have often had to do myself, when kind readers generously point out our mistakes ;-).

  10. Tommy,
    Apart from this particular case(with all the uncertainties), are there (a) good example(s) of where a palaeographer was "certain" of i.e. a 2nd/3rd CE fragment that in the end turned out to be credible?

  11. This is a bit like reading Galatians.

  12. Actually, this puts me in mind of the excitement tempered with skepticism that always seemed to greet the sensational dating claims of one C. Simonides.

  13. I actually think with all the claims being made about the first-century fragment that won't be revealed until 2013 that we now have a new candidate for "Secret Mark" (Stephen Carlson, take note!)

  14. The "up to 18 2nd-century mss" would probably be comprised of the 6 newly discovered papyri, and:

    7. p52
    8. p90
    9. p98
    10-11. p64/67
    12. p46
    13. p66
    14. p32
    15. p77
    16. p103
    17. p4
    18. p87

    And, if still needed to reach 43% of the NT, count the Magdalen Papyri as one and add p45. All of these have been dated by some expert or another to at least as far back as the final year of the second century (must have been a busy year).

  15. There's something about debates like the one quoted in the OP, however, that strike me the wrong way.

    I don't know Wallace, and don't know if this actually applies to him, but it seems to me that this type of discussion happens a lot, and whenever I hear it I think I hear overtones of the wrong sort.

    What I mean is, it seems like they are less interested in finding an early ms for its text critical value and more interested in finding an early ms because of how they think it will buttress their particular understanding of the doctrine of inspiration or inerrancy.

    I am (I hope it is clear) a devout confessionist myself, but, all the same, it strikes me as a somewhat illegitimate use of textual criticism, almost akin to an american creationist's use of science.

  16. Interesting that at least one of the papyri seems to come from a collection in Istanbul. Could we have our first non-Egyptian NT papyrus? Granted, the Istanbul collection may be from Egypt. Hopefully, the provenance is known.

  17. "As with all the previously published New Testament papyri (127 of them, published in the last 116 years), not a single new reading has commended itself as authentic. Instead, the papyri function to confirm what New Testament scholars have already thought was the original wording or, in some cases, to confirm an alternate reading—but one that is already found in the manuscripts."

    This sounds to me Kenyon's strategy when he first broke the news about the Chester Beatty biblical papyri! But isn't this premature an appraisal? Can't they wait until the mss are published next year? :)

  18. By the way, since Dan's announcements about these new papyri was in the context of his debate with Bart, has there been any news/update on how he is taking these subsequent announcements from Dan's end?

  19. Bart Ehrman commented on the TC-list:

  20. (Apologies for cross posting, much of this I've already posted to Joel Watts' webpage)

    Update on the Pauline Epistle. It appears it is probably NOT the Hebrews fragment whose photograph is found on Dr Scott Carroll’s facebook at http://www.facebook.com/drscottcarroll where there is a photograph of a frg. of Hebrews in “London Papyri Collection". Iit is of Hebrews 9:19-22 – which would probably be the same Hebrews 9 fragment referred to by the anonymous former student of Bill Warren as “I am working on an early Heb 9 fragment that is untouched. Certainly, I am inclined to date later rather than early” – see the comments under “New fragment of Romans 9 and 10″. But it may be the other Hebrew frg in the Green Collection as the caption under the photograph of the Hebrews 9:19-22 frg is “This private papyri collection contains a number of unknown biblical and classical texts. This is one of six (including another in the Green Collection) known papyri of the Book of Hebrews”. A problem with Dr Carroll’s statement is that there are more than 6 papyri of Hebrews

    Update on the Matthew frg. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UtDWQsby_0g at 1:59 into the video where Scott Carroll notes "A week ago discovered the earliest text of the Gospel of Matthew"

    Update on the Luke frg. Dan Wallace refers to six 2nd century frgs. of which from the totality of souces are Hebrews 11, I Corinthians 8-10, Matthew, Romans 9-10, a Pauline Epistle, and one other. The content of this one other is Luke as Stephen Joyner’s comment at “New fragment of Romans 9 and 10″ included this “He mentioned a manuscript of Luke that rivals the date of P52″.


    So the latest list of NT papyri that appear to be in the Green Collection (apart from P39 which was purchased, and with corrections of 2 previous typographical errors) is as follows:
    1. 2nd century frg. with Hebrews 11
    2. Undated (later) frg. with Hebrew 9:19-22 on one side, unknown content on other side
    3. 2nd century frg. with I Corinthians 8-10
    4. 2nd century frg. with Matthew
    5. 2nd century frg. with Romans 9-10
    6. 2nd century frg. with part of a Pauline Epistle
    7. 2nd century frg. with Luke
    8. 1st century frg. with Mark

    Matthew Hamilton

  21. Thanks, Jeff, for the link. Same impression then :)

  22. Wondering what the papyrus fragment of Mark might look like? Then look at the fragment of First Samuel 1:1-4 in the "Passages" Exhibit. It is featured at about 00:47 in the video at
    http://explorepassages.com/about .

    That looks very early to me.

    Yours in Christ,

    James Snapp, Jr.

  23. Interesting that nomina sacra is not used for ANQRWPOS (lines 1 & 7) or YIOY (line 2). It's difficult to tell if nomina sacra was used for KURIW or QEW in line 9 because the spacing of letters and words is a little irregular in the extant lines. I haven't done much study on LXX papyri, does anyone know if ANQRWPOS and/or YIOY when used as common nouns (not part of christological titles such as "son of man" or "son of God") were usually abbreviated into nomina sacra by Christian scribes? I know that usually they are in NT papyri, but I don't know about LXX papyri.

  24. Oops, I should clarify, my comment immediately above is about the 1 Sam 1:1-4 fragment (not the Mark fragment which is the subject of this thread). Since in the Green video, the shot is a rolling focus shot, I pieced together a screenshot here:

  25. Jeff, I've seen ανθρωποσ abbreviated in LXX MSS. I'm not sure how common it was though, or if any were papyri.

  26. Very nice. The spacing in lines 8 and 10 make nomina sacra (in 8) or nomen sacrum (10) unlikely. This prima facie would lead to a Jewish context (all the more if it is from a roll). If so the tetragrammaton might have been written out, or the pipi used instead.
    The hand makes one think of the Hermae Pastor Similitudes codex at Michigan (third century) esp. the angle of writing, the individuality of the letter forms.

  27. Sorry, 9 and 11 i should have said. As for the spacing, one would have to draw it out carefully, not type it out carelessly, as i just did, to make a fair judgement.

  28. At the Oxford Centre for Late Antiquity is the following:
    15 February 2012 (Week 5)
    Scott Carroll/Green Collection and Green Scholars Initiative:
    Ad fontes: new papyri of Romans and other resources of interest from the earliest Christian centuries

    Any chance anybody from the UK is attending and could ask the relevant questions and provide feedback?

    Matthew Hamilton

  29. I MUST RETRACT MY PREVIOUS EMAIL. Please, if possible, do not publish my earlier post today. I had a huge lapse of memory.

    Thank you!!

    Brett Williams

  30. I hope I get this post correct! I sent Dr. Head my documentation for my claim, and summarized the finding in the text of my email, in which I made a huge mistake and gave him the wrong information. Let me set the record straight.

    I am the individual who researched the number of total verses attested in the 2nd century mss for Dan. The number IS 43%. I had said to some that this 43% included the verses from the 3rd century mss as well, BUT I was mistaken. I have reviewed my documentation and the 2nd century mss ALONE attest to this 43%. The 3rd century adds another 14%, so you have 57% of the NT verses attested in the first two centuries after the final canonical letter was penned.

    Some have asked and the answer is Yes; I did include partial verses as whole verses, which is standard practice in TC. For example, if one ms contains a partial verse only, we would not say we are looking at a portion of the NT and the number of verses it contains is zero! A partial verse is counted as attesting to that verse.

    Brett Williams

  31. Brett: you do realize your 43% claim is ahistorical, don't you? I understand the perceived need to manufacture tactics with which to score debating points, but still. I realize I am an interloper here, and have said too much already. So I will detail my misgivings about it elsewhere.

  32. GWS,
    We welcome respectful interlopers. Is your concern that the presupposition of a NT cannon is anachronistic? My initial impression (without considering the accuracy of the math or the paleography) is that this would be a helpful statistic for someone who is acquainted with the NT as known. Surely, you would not expect Dan Wallace to accept that the modern NT canon was invented in the fourth century for the sake of debate? For evangelicals, at least, it remains clearly historically possible (and confessionally believable) that the 27 books of the NT constitute an early collection of writings tied to the apostles and passed down from the first century onwards.

  33. GWS said "The spacing in lines 8 and 10 make nomina sacra (in 8) or nomen sacrum (10) unlikely. This prima facie would lead to a Jewish context (all the more if it is from a roll). If so the tetragrammaton might have been written out, or the pipi used instead."
    Possibly - but there is a report -perhaps reliable, perhaps not - that the Green Collection has a piece of papyrus with Hannah's Prayer. Unless the Green Collecton has 2 papyri with I Samuel, or unless the fragment in the video is just part of a larger group of fragments (of which not all displayed), then the fragment has I Samuel 1:1-5 on one side, and I Samuel 2 on the other - and is not from a roll. Whether or not it is a Jewish or Christian codex fragment - I don't know

    Matthew Hamilton

  34. Christian,
    My concern is with papyri like P66, that has an assigned date of 200, i.e. beginning of the third AD—i know tho sis off by a year, but this (early third, not late second) was the intention of the ed.or. anyway.

    Second, Turner gave a sound philological reason for this date apostrophe written within a word between nasal consonants: αγ’γελουϲ in this codex throughout, i believe, not only once, as in P46 (just quoting from memory, so i only think this is right). This practice is unusual in second AD docs. but not unusual in the third and following centuries.

    Since the paleographical date cannot be precisely fixed,
    (being stylistic, not historical), good method dictates that Turner's philological observation be, prima facie, decisive. And further, this observation points to the later date, again, prima facie, because if we assume the scribe was, atypically, using a third century convention in the second, rather than the reverse, it sounds like (and is) special pleading.

    Comfort, in Encountering the Mss., thinks the opposite, that possibility is preferable to a probability (we do have isolated case of apostrophe's used in this way in the second). He goes on beg the question, attempting to use the paleographical date to determine the probability of this use of the apostrophe in the second. But the paleography is the very thing in question, and cannot be used to support itself.

    FInally, any such calculation (the 43% of the nT witnessed in the second AD calculation i mean) must rebut Bagnall's thesis in Early Christian Books in Egypt in some way. A scholar of his stature cannot simply be ignored. He makes excellent points; this does not mean these are the only points to be made, but he does offer paleographical discussions seem historical grounding.

    Perhaps I am in error, and the 43 % figure is not meant to include P66 and others like it (assigned 200 AD).

  35. When Dan says, "As an illustration: Suppose a papyrus had the word “the Lord” in one verse while all other manuscripts had the word “Jesus.” New Testament scholars would not adopt, and have not adopted, such a reading as authentic, precisely because we have such abundant evidence for the original wording in other manuscripts", is he advocating the Majority Text theory? I doubt he is in favor of that method, so I wonder if he has given inadvertent approval of it.

  36. Additionally, if Dan is advocating that we confident of the original because we've known and accepted it for such a long time, then wouldn't this support the notion that the Byzantine textform represents the original because from at least the 6th if not the 5th century on, it was accepted as the original.

  37. Dr Wallace's list of 2nd century manuscripts is published here:


    Though I'm not sure it clears things up. The list includes 10 manuscripts (p65/p67 listed as one manuscript), and then adds 3 more a possibilities (p4, p32, and p75). He acknowledges you could count p4 with p65/p67.

    In http://evangelicaltextualcriticism.blogspot.com/2009/05/dan-wallace-in-jets.html

    Peter Head reposted a message from Brett that said the list he worked with was 12 manuscripts:

    “(MSS that are possibly prior to 200 are in italics; the rest are in regular type). Of the 12 manuscripts on Dan’s list, 8 were in italics and 4 were in regular type."

    I would presume the 4 were p66, 0189, p75, and p32. I'm not clear if Brett included this in the 2nd century or the 3rd century calculations.

  38. Jim,

    You have misunderstood Dan's point of "the Lord" or "Jesus." In the illustration, Dan is saying that in this instance, "the Lord" is a singular reading, and "Jesus" is in all of the other 475 mss containing this verse. No implication at all regarding the Byz mss in this illustration.

    Your comment regarding the statement by Dan, "we [are] confident of the original because we've known and accepted it for such a long time..." This doesn't strike me as a comment Dan would make, but perhaps it was in a unique context.


  39. Bob,

    You wrote: I would presume the 4 were p66, 0189, p75, and p32. I'm not clear if Brett included this in the 2nd century or the 3rd century calculations.

    2nd Century.


  40. To expand upon my comment at the current conclusion of the "Mark 1:41 and Ehrman" comments:

    While no one should ever think that Dan would advocate the originality of the Byzantine Textform, I do consider his comment (repeated by Jim Raymond) to seriously weaken Dan's own advocacy of Mk 1:41 ORGISQEIS, given that such is found only in a single Greek MS (Codex Bezae).

    Since Dan's point involved a specific hypothetical in which a single Greek MS (papyrus or otherwise) happened to read a particular word "while all other manuscripts" differed, why should not the same conclusion follow in the Mk 1:41 instance -- namely, that "New Testament scholars would not adopt, and have not adopted, such a reading as authentic, precisely because we have such abundant evidence for the original wording in other manuscripts"?

  41. Something should be kept front and center in the descriptions of those early papyri described as "extensive" -- the important qualifying adverbs which were in Dr. Wallace's article, but which may have gotten misplaced somehow in the thoughts which some attendees might have taken home from the debate: the adverbs "possibly or definitely."

    In the article, he listed MSS which the INT people have listed as "probably or definitely" from the second century:

    P52, P90, P104, P66, P46, P64+67,
    P77, P103, 0189, P98.

    Of those 10 (figuring 64 and 67 are pieces of the same MS), P66 is considered "c. AD 175-225" and thus *possibly* second-century. 0189 is called "2nd or 3rd century." And P46 is "ca. 200," as likely to be early third-century as late second-century.

    So the ones that are securely said to be second-century MSS are P52, P90, P104, P64+67, P77, P103, and P98.

    Then he offers P4 as "probably" second-century, and P32 as a MS for which a production-date in the second century is "possible." Then he mentioned that Herbert Hunger thought that P66 was produced no later than the mid-100's. And, finally, he submitted P75, on the grounds that its original editors estimated its date to be in the late second or early third centuries.

    Remove those /possibly/ and /likely/ items from the equation, and then ask, "How many verses of the NT are represented by MSS *securely* dated to the 100's? What percentage of the New Testament's verses does that amount to, even counting parts of verses as whole verses?"

    Yours in Christ,

    James Snapp, Jr.

  42. The debate where Dr. Wallace announces new manuscript discoveries, including a possible 1st Century Mark, is now online.See it here---> http://youtu.be/kg-dJA3SnTA

  43. Dr. Wallace’s announcement of new discoveries is at 1:13:40 and Dr. Ehrman and Dr. Wallace discuss it briefly at 1:48:10.

  44. Over on Bible and Culture Ben Witherington had this to say:
    "The brief lecture by Scott Carroll at GCTS Charlotte last Friday night highlighted some of the most exciting aspects of the Green Collection. It is possible that a very early copy of the Gospel of Mark in Greek, possibly the very earliest is a part of this collection. An epigrapher from Oxford has already prepared to say that it is a first century copy! While I doubt this, and various eyes will need to go over the manuscript before any firm conclusion can be drawn, even if it were from the second-third century it would still be the earliest evidence of this size (it does not include the whole Gospel, sadly it does not include Mark 16) that we have."

    Matthew Hamilton

  45. Matthew,

    Wait a minute, he said "even if it were from the second-third century it would still be the earliest evidence of this size"?

    Isn't P45 dated to the second-third century? P45 contains witness to 22% of Mark's gospel. 147 verses out of 678 by my count. Is he saying that this new manuscript contains as much of Mark's gospel as P45? 22% of Mark?

  46. Darrell:
    You mean 147 out of 661 verses. NA27, 01, & 03 only have 661 verses in Mark.

  47. According to the blog post Matthew mentioned, together with the comments, also claimed:
    A NT fragment other than Mark, first century, codex.
    Qumran (papyrus?) mss.
    A lost work of Aristotle.

  48. Darrell:
    You mean 147 out of 661 verses. NA27, 01, & 03 only have 661 verses in Mark.

    --You are right. I was thinking in terms of verses in the Majority Text, which is what I use to collate.

  49. Darrell,

    I only quoted what Ben Witherington had to say as it contained possibly the first bit of information on who the anonymous person who dated the Mark fragment is "An epigrapher from Oxford". The "epigrapher" part is a bit of a problem unless Ben Witherington meant to say palaeographer, in which case, could he be refering to Dirk Obbink?

    Matthew Hamilton

  50. Congratulations, Matthew, for the 50th comment on the question of the 43 per cent.

  51. Here is a recent interview with Dr. Wallace about the Mark fragment. http://www.hughhewitt.com/blog/g/6773121a-35c4-4de2-8ab2-0a3d7b535b6f

  52. Hi Folks,

    In any discussion of the 43% claim by 200 AD (in one place Daniel talked of a century after the completion of the NT - apparently playing around with a late date of Revelation, itself not included in these texts, to get close to 200 AD) ....you really have only four papyri with a large body of text:

    P46 P66 P72 P75

    These four supply over 90% of the "43%".

    And these are more considered as 3rd century than 2nd, making the whole claim smoke and mirrors (ie. word-parsing trickery). Wording designed to deceive should simply be exposed.

    (This is without getting into the misplaced significance of the whole issue.)

    Steven Avery

  53. Hi,

    And another problem was mixing the 43% creative math in with the announcement of the new papyri.

    This was clearly designed to give the false impression (as received by some posters here) that the new stuff was large.

    When we actually do not know if it is a word, a verse, or what.

    And whether, as seems likely, it is yet another example of opportunistic dating, similar to using P46 P66 P72 P75 in a second-century claim.


  54. A new interview with Dan Wallace aired yesterday on Stand To Reason. He discusses the new manuscript discoveries and touches upon some of the issues raised in this thread. You can access a link to it below. When you go to the website you can access the interview near the top left of the page where it says “This Week’s Broadcast” or scroll down a little to “Archived Broadcasts.” The interview with Dan Wallace begins around 1:52:00.