Friday, July 14, 2017

New Details Emerge about ‘First Century Mark’ from Scott Carroll

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Elijah Hixson has sent me a YouTube video that has Josh McDowell interviewing Scott Carroll about “First Century Mark.” The video is posted below to which I have added a partial transcript for reference. The video was uploaded on November 15, 2015, but the conference was in October, 2015 given what Carroll says in the video, it must be from before that.

The most important things we learn are that Scott Carroll has seen “First Century Mark” twice and that Dirk Obbink is indeed the unofficial source of its tentative date. So, we now have someone on record claiming to have actually seen it—twice. (Cf. PJW’s question here.) We are told that Obbink wrestled with dating it between AD 70 and 110/120. The former date has obvious reference to the destruction of the temple, but why 110/120 would be a sensible cutoff date, I have no idea. Obviously, we are hearing this from Carroll rather than from Obbink himself. So, caveat lector.

We also learn that Carroll does not seem to think it came from mummy cartonnage although he is not sure. (Papyrus can be cleaned of the signs of cartonnage, of course.) He tried to acquire it for the Green collection but wasn’t able to. An unnamed source now apparently owns it and is preparing it for publication. We continue to wait.

One other minor note. Carroll says he first saw the papyrus in 2012 and then again in 2013. His famous tweet, claiming that P52 was no longer the earliest known New Testament papyrus, was sent on December 1, 2011. So, my guess is that in the video Carroll has just rounded up to 2012. If so, this adds further confirmation that Carroll is the original source of the claim to a “First Century Mark” even though Dan Wallace was the first to announce it as such. This makes it a bit odd that Carroll refers to some stuff being “leaked.”

For a helpful timeline of events, see James Snapp’s site. For ETC’s past discussions, see here.

Video



Transcript

Carroll: I first worked with the papyrus in 2012. So, it was discovered earlier than that. It wasn’t discovered by me. Although the group that’s working on its publication did some [inaudible]. It’s very tempting. You get the press and they—you get Fox News and other press agencies are after it and want to get information on it and some stuff was leaked. And they contacted me, I think, about a year ago, wanting some definitive information on how it was extracted from a mummy covering. And I did not—I was not involved in that process. When I saw it, I can tell you that it was relaxed, which means it was flat. It had been extracted—if it was extracted from a context like that, there’s no evidence of it to me. It looks like it’s just a text that was just found.

Now, a lot of texts that come to light in this kind of a context—like if I went back to the picture and you looked at the pile, you could see that a lot of this stuff has white on it. That’s like the residue of the plaster. So, these things came from mummy coverings. Isn’t that interesting? [inaudible] And so, they [the MSS on screen] probably were [?] a burial setting or something like that and over time it just separated one from another. But we can look at if it was originally part of it. 

Now, this Mark may have been in that kind of a context. I’m not sure. I saw it at Oxford University at Christ Church College and it was in the possession of an outstanding, well-known, eminent classicist. I saw it again in 2013. 

There were some delays with its purchase and I was working at that time with the Green family collection which I had the privilege of organizing and putting together for the Hobby Lobby family and had hoped that they would at that time acquire it. But they delayed and didn’t. We were preparing an exhibit for the Vatican Library and I wanted this to be the show piece in that exhibit but it--

McDowell: Who wouldn’t?

Carroll: I know, wouldn’t that have been awesome? But it was just not the timing and so it was passed on, delayed. It has since been acquired. I can’t say by whom. It is in the process of being prepared for publication and what’s important to say—

McDowell: What does that mean, “process of being prepared”? What does that mean?

Carroll: It’s a lengthy process, actually going through—especially with this because it’s going to get, it’s going go out there and there are going to be people immediately trying to tear it down, questioning provenance—so where it came from, what it dates to—especially with the date. And so they want an ironclad argument on the dating of the document so that it won’t be—I mean they have a responsibility to that. But this is going to be very critical [inaudible]. It will be a major flash-point for the news when this happens.

McDowell: Who’s the main person publishing it?

Carroll: Well, the most important person of note is Dirk Obbink who is [inaudible]. Dirk Obbink is an outstanding scholar. He’s one of the world’s leading specialists on papyri. He directs the collection—for students who are in here, you may remember hearing the word “Oxyrhynchus Papyri.” He is the director of the Oxyrhynchus Papyri.

I can’t speak to his personal faith positions and I don’t think he would define himself as an Evangelical in any sense of the word, but he is not—he doesn’t have a derogatory attitude at all. He’s a supportive person. He specializes in the dating of handwriting. And as he was looking at the—both times I saw the papyrus, it was in his possession. So, it was in Oxford at Christ Church, and actually on his pool table in his office along with a number of mummy heads. So, he had these mummy heads—

McDowell: So, you’re playing pool [laughter, inaudible]

Carroll: And you’ve got that document there. And that’s the setting. That’s kind of surreal. And Dirk was wrestling with dating [it] somewhere between 70 AD and 120, 110/120.

McDowell: That early? 

Carroll: Yeah

McDowell: Whoa!

Carroll: Okay, so Mark is like one that the critics have always dated late. So, this is like—I can hear their arguments being formulated now. So, this is what the later authors were quoting from.

McDowell: Folks, make sure—that is all tentative. And you would say that, right?

Carroll: Yeah. Yeah.

McDowell: That is just an assumption in there. So, don’t go out and say there’s a manuscript dated 70 AD. How long will we have to wait, probably, to know specifically?

Carroll: I would say, in this next year. Alright? Any delays that are going to happen over the next couple of months are delays with the publisher. … If the group is to go to a major journal, they’ll, of course, want to have it in quickly but there’ll be some delays as its vetted through the whole academic process and all.

McDowell: So, keep that in mind. Don’t go out and say, ‘Well Dr. Scott Carroll said its dated between 70 AD. We don’t really know yet. But those are probably the parameters for it. But it will be—now this is my opinion—the oldest ever discovered.

Carroll: Yeah, I think that without question.

65 comments :

  1. Interesting. But. There are so many problems here!

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  2. Carroll: "Okay, so Mark is like one that the critics have always dated late."

    I had thought Mark was the one most have dated the earliest?

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    1. I could not make heads or tails of that one.

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    2. Maybe he means that it's a book where the date typically given by "the critics" is significantly later than what the evangelical attendees would typically learn from evangelical scholars, in contrast to some other books where "the critics" and evangelical scholars would basically agree about the dating.

      If this is what he means, then it's something that applies to more than half of the books of the NT. But it might still be what he means.

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  3. Dan Wallace had mentioned early on that Brill would be the publisher of the FCM, and so I check every once in a while their list of forthcoming volumes:
    http://www.brill.com/search/availability/forthcoming-title/subject/humanities?search_title=&search_author=&search_bic2=&sort_by=field_product_sorting_date

    Still nothing.

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  4. "It’s a lengthy process, actually going through—especially with this because it’s going to get, it’s going go out there and there are going to be people immediately trying to tear it down, questioning provenance—so where it came from, what it dates to—especially with the date. And so they want an ironclad argument on the dating of the document so that it won’t be—I mean they have a responsibility to that. But this is going to be very critical [inaudible]. It will be a major flash-point for the news when this happens."

    I don't know if that is Carroll speculating about the reason for the delay, or if this is really the reason that whoever owns the manuscript is using to justify it. But I can't appreciate this line of thought at all.

    Why do you have to have what you think are ironclad arguments about all those issues before putting it out there for others to see? Why not accept that the conclusions already reached about those matters are debatable, and welcome the ensuing debate about them? And why assume that the scholars working on it, whoever they are, are capable of making ironclad arguments? That's like saying, "When I finally let the world study my manuscript, there will be nothing about it to learn any more. My team will have done too thorough of a job to allow for any further debate, and there will never be any other scholars in the world who have the ability to perceive anything about this manuscript they didn't perceive so as to dispute their conclusions, from now until eternity."

    It also sounds a lot like, "We need to make sure that we prove it's as early as we want it to be, and we won't show it to the rest of the world until we can accompany it with proof to support that conclusion."

    Either way, they've given themselves a mission that will literally take forever to fulfill. And taking forever seems to be exactly what's happening.

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  5. The mention of Dirk Obbink definitely brings a large dose of credibility to the story. I had originally assumed it was Scott Carroll who had given the date for the MS and had therefore dismissed it as unlikely. Even so, caution is in order and a date range of 70-120 is not 1st century. Readers may find Nongbri's discussion of the issues of dating the Markan fragment helpful (though most here are likely akready familiar with the post).
    https://ehrmanblog.org/guest-post-dr-brent-nongbri-on-how-we-date-manuscripts/

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    1. To clarify my statement above; it is a little missleading to describe a MS with a date range of 70-120 CE as "First Century." It obviously would reflect a first century text. But that is a different matter altogether.

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    2. Even saying, "It obviously would reflect a first-century text," is not necessarily true.

      P. Oxy 405 is a copy of Against Heresies that may be from within 20 years of when the original text was written.

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    3. Yes. Agreed. We are dealing with levels of probability.

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    4. Tim,
      Having read much of what Nongbri has written, he is clearly opposed to ANY early dating of Christian manuscripts. The acceptance of his late dating of P75 in spite of the credentials of the scholars who have agreed on a much earlier date is mystifying. Even in the blog you referenced, Nongbri definitely rules out any possibility of a codex prior to 90 AD, quite presumptuous for historical research. I for one, will wait to see if 'First Century Mark' exists and if it does, will rely on others than Nongbri to ascertain a likely date range.

      Tim

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    5. Timothy Joseph, regarding your statement, "Even in the blog you referenced, Nongbri definitely rules out any possibility of a codex prior to 90 AD."

      I think in the context, what he rules out is more specific than that. He rules out definitively dating a NT manuscript to earlier than that, so as to say that it is definitely not any later, based purely on handwriting or Carbon-14 dating, because such an early date would require a more narrow range of possible dates than those methods would allow.

      But he doesn't rule out any possibility of a codex prior to 90 AD.

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  6. Peter, you say, "We are told that Obbink wrestled with dating it between AD 70 and 110/120. The former date has obvious reference to the destruction of the temple, but why 110/120 would be a sensible cutoff date, I have no idea."

    Is there a reason that the destruction of the Temple would have any significance in paleographical dating?

    Or are you suggesting a more roundabout line of thought, where the given date range of the manuscript takes into account a presupposition that Mark was not written until some time close to the destruction of the Temple?

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    1. By deduction, I conclude that the 70 AD implies a dating of Mark to just before the temple's destruction. Ergo, this fragment couldn't be before that. I can't see any other reason for that date.

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    2. I can see that. But it seems strange to me that a paleographer, dating a physical manuscript on paleographical grounds, would factor in that assumption. Internal arguments from the text of Mark about the date the Gospel was originally written, especially when some speculation is involved, should be set aside when describing the date of a specific manuscript on paleographical grounds.

      Plus, as you indicate above, you can't see any reason for the 110-120 date either.

      If Carroll heard Obbink give a range of 70-120, that's a pretty narrow range, but it's also a nice round number of 50 years. Giving such a narrow range as a mere 25 years on either side of AD 95 seems odd. But if a paleographer thinks he has sufficient reason to give such a narrow range, then that could be the reason.

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    3. On the other hand, as narrow as it is, a 50-year range is considerably less specific and more believable than some of the more sensational highly specific claims that we've seen made in the past, even by scholars like Evans and Wallace.

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  7. First, I assume that there might be a connection to documentary evidence for a post-70 date (terminus post quem). Secondly, I know that Orsini & Clarysse dates P4+64+67 to 175-225 CE. I do not know enough about palaeography but certain styles, I assume, permits a narrower range than others.

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  8. Is it really worth discussing this?

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    1. No, but it's a cautionary tale. Dealers got inflated prices for mummy heads on the basis of this false claim that the Mark came from one. Then those same mummy heads were destroyed by amateurs in search of further Biblical fragments, when there had never been a Biblical fragment obtained from cartonnage in the first place. Those involved in this saga (not excepting those 'scholars' who eagerly spread the rumors) have a lot to answer for.

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    2. Anonymous, I wasn't aware of all this. Can you link to a source that discusses it?

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    3. https://facesandvoices.wordpress.com/2014/11/25/mark-strikes-back-mummy-cartonnage-and-christian-apologetics-again/

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    4. At that link I couldn't see any corroboration of the claims:
      "Dealers got inflated prices for mummy heads on the basis of this false claim that the Mark came from one. Then those same mummy heads were destroyed by amateurs in search of further Biblical fragments, when there had never been a Biblical fragment obtained from cartonnage in the first place."

      Are you referring to something tucked away down in the comments somewhere?

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    5. We now have eyewitness testimony and a reputable source attached to a precise dating. Other than that, not much that's new. And everything remains unverifiable!

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    6. Which claims in particular?
      "destroyed by amateurs in search of further Biblical fragments": see e.g. http://www.bricecjones.com/blog/the-first-century-gospel-of-mark-josh-mcdowell-and-mummy-masks-what-they-all-have-in-common .
      "the problem is the prices are shooting sky high now. I bought this one for $35,000, you can't touch it for $75-80,000 now. ", says Josh McDowell, quoted at the same address.

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  9. It makes for higher blog traffic!

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  10. There are mythicists and related ilkies who date Mark very late, as a sort of Roman docu-drama. They use the geographical corruptions in the hortian Vaticanus-primacy critical text as a prime argument point. Also the translation Greek component that indicates a Latin contribution to the Markan autographs.

    I'm not saying these positions are logical and consistent or sensible on a synoptic level. My position is that the Gospels were written c. 40-45 AD, giving John more flex. This also makes the c. 100 AD fragment possibility more a curiosity than a compelling apologetic. The error of late dating is behind much of the papyri frenzy.

    As to the fragment, at this point, even with the Dirk Obbink identification, it remains basically a nothing-burger. Since 2011-2012 it has become extremely clear that the papyri terminus ad quem dates have been made far too early, and a wider date range is needed. In general, and especially in Bible or religious writing, there is nothing unusual in copying script styles along with text.

    The exception to this would be compelling external connection date factors (a shopping list that can be dated, a Vesuvius reference, the name of the current empower, etc.). So far, the indication is that we have nothing of that sort involved here.

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    1. Steven Avery- Did you used to pitch for Atlanta?

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  11. "there had never been a Biblical fragment obtained from cartonnage in the first place"

    I had thought P129, the recent Corinthians fragment was extracted from a mummy mask...is this not the case?

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    1. Anonymous - any reason for hiding your name?

      “there had never been a Biblical fragment obtained from cartonnage in the first place”

      What about P131 with Romans 9-10?
      What about P.Ryl.Gk.458 with Deuteronomy 23-28
      What about P.Lond.Lit.211 with Daniel 1 - albeit not mummy cartonnage but bookcover cartonnage
      What about P.Nag Hammadi Inv.89c-93c with Genesis 32 and 42 -albeit not mummy cartonnage but bookcover cartonnage

      Do I need to list any more to show you how wrong you are?

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    2. The comment you quote was made with particular reference to this supposed mummy-mask fragment of Mark: see my comment above. Sorry if this was unclear.
      But since you raise the point, it's worth pointing out that NT texts have not been obtained from mummies. Book bindings are irrelevant in this context: it's mummy cartonnage that McDowell and others have been buying up and touting as a rich source of Christian texts.

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    3. Again: Anonymous - any reason for hiding your name?

      Interesting how you redefine the word "Biblical" to only include the NT - as if OT papyri such as the 9 chapters of I Samuel extracted in the last few years from mummy cartonnage are somehow not a part of biblical textual criticism - and then overlook the first listed example, the papyrus with Romans.

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  12. Please try to keep things civil and avoid snarky attacks so that we can keep this blog a welcoming place. Thanks!

    My earlier comment was a comment about a particular papyrus, which turned out to be a fiction as reported, and the damage done by the inaccurate leaks. Now you want to discuss the whole question of Biblical papyri from mummy cartonnage, which is fine. Since there are misconceptions out there, I thought it worthwhile to make a distinction within the field: there are (to date) no NT papyri from mummy cartonnage. You refer as a counterexample to an unpublished papyrus of Romans. Now the whole situation that we're discussing was caused by pre-publication leaks of details that turned out to be wrong, although widely reported. As Peter Head says, it is not profitable to speculate on unpublished material. However, since you bring it up, I would point out that there is no published evidence that this Romans papyrus comes from mummy cartonnage. There is an inadequate photograph of part of it at http://preview.tinyurl.com/79jxkwt . It shows no signs of having been used in mummy cartonnage. Then there is the report on an oral presentation at https://danielbwallace.com/2012/11/26/new-early-fragment-of-romans/ : no reference to mummy cartonnage. So I would suggest that this is not a useful counterexample (though of course it's possible that, for example, an unreliable dealer's claim has been passed on in good faith). Now of course if there is photographic documentation of it being extracted from a mummy, scholars will be glad to accept that. But one lesson of this sorry affair is that we should not be shy to ask for evidence for claims made on the Internet.

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    1. Anonymous – difficult to have a conversation with somebody who for whatever reason repeatedly hides their name and it is neither uncivil nor snarky to note the problem with your definition of what is “Biblical”.

      The initial counter examples were to the plain meaning of the words “there had never been a Biblical fragment obtained from cartonnage in the first place” – the words as quoted by another poster regarding P129 as a possible counter example and to which you had responded “No”.

      The fuller wording previously used by yourself “Then those same mummy heads were destroyed by amateurs in search of further Biblical fragments, when there had never been a Biblical fragment obtained from cartonnage in the first place” does provide a context that excludes bookcover cartonnage (and note that bookcovers are destroyed in the process of extracting texts) but:
      1. does not provide a context that excludes OT papyri from mummy cartonnage such as P.Ryl.Gk.458 with Deuteronomy 23-28 (published) or the fragments of I Samuel (unpublished). Whether you view mummy masks being “destroyed by amateurs” (your wording) as right or wrong, it makes no difference whether the extracted papyri are from the OT or the NT
      2. does not provide a context that excludes unpublished papyri.

      Despite the unreliability of much information about unpublished papyri there is sufficient reliable information about several papyri to extrapolate to other papyri for which we have less information that they to were also in the past few years also extracted from mummy cartonnage. Whether that includes the fragment of Mark discussed by Scott Carroll is at this stage doubtful.

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    2. When you say "there is sufficient reliable information about several papyri to extrapolate to other papyri for which we have less information that they to were also in the past few years also extracted from mummy cartonnage": correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't you implying that you don't have any information about the origins of the unpublished papyrus of Romans to which you keep referring? So it seems permissible to be surprised when you use that as your knockdown example of an NT papyrus derived from mummy cartonnage.

      As for the rest, you are taking my sentence out of context and then accusing me of bad faith. But let's keep the focus on the substance!

      To Darrell: yes, thanks to Craig Evans and a mountain of media coverage, people have begun to assume that new NT papyri must come from mummy cartonnage. It's a shame that idea took hold, and we must hope any readers involved in education will now ensure that there is pushback.

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    3. "correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t you implying that you don’t have any information about the origins of the unpublished papyrus of Romans to which you keep referring?"

      You are wrong, below is just some of the information.

      http://www.msn.com/en-au/video/news/hobby-lobby-presidents-rare-collection-2012/vp-BBDOUGY

      “Hobby Lobby president’s rare collection”, CNN 2012 Steve Green notes the fragment of Romans “discovered in the last 48 hours” found in “layers of papyrus”. Includes image of 1 side of the papyrus, fully flattened and with no apparent evidence of it coming from cartonnage – but then why would it if it has been fully cleaned?

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSUzWsuLpso

      “2013 UofN WS: S11 Dr. Scott Carroll”
      About 28 minutes into video, in discussing the types of texts found in mummy cartonnage, Scott Carroll notes “last year found the earliest known text of Romans”
      About 52 minutes into video “the earliest text of Romans, found in a mummy mask”

      http://evangelicaltextualcriticism.blogspot.com.au/2012/01/new-fragment-of-romans-9-and-10.html

      Posting by Bill Warren, 2 January 2012
      “I’ve been told that this papyrus fragment was found within a mummy mask with other fragments as well. A former student of mine was the one who made the identification, although I don’t have more info than that on the find. She did not do the dating of the fragment, just the identification of the text if I’ve understood correctly.”

      You might want to dismiss what Steve Green said as at best 2nd hand information, and also what Bill Warren wrote as at best 3rd hand information, but what about what Scott Carroll has said?

      For it to be at best 2nd hand information then you would need to argue that Scott Carroll has jumped between discussing papyri he has found in cartonnage (such as I Samuel) and papyri others (dealers?) have claimed were found in cartonnage. But that is not apparent in the video. The plainer meaning is that Scott Carroll is the one who found the Romans fragment in cartonnage

      If you have any evidence against the fragment of Romans being found in mummy cartonnage, I look forward to you presenting it, preferably without you continuing to hide behind the name Anonymous.

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    4. So we come back again to the dealer Scott Carroll as the ultimate source, just as he was in the case of the fictional mummy-mask Mark! Let's wait and see what (if anything) the editors are able to ascertain about the real provenance.

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    5. Anonymous,

      You limit the definition of cartonnage as only being mummy cartonnage because “it’s mummy cartonnage that McDowell and others have been buying up and touting as a rich source of Christian texts.” – and in doing this ignore the fact “McDowell and others” are also extracting papyri from bookcover cartonnage (see https://www.josh.org/wp-content/uploads/Bibliographical-Test-Update-05.08.14.pdf pages 15-17)

      You redefined “Biblical” as only the NT – we have to wonder what you think the OT is

      You redefined your statement to only be about published papyri – an odd thing to do when the discussion is about unpublished papyri

      You made the claim that I “don’t have any information about the origins of the unpublished papyrus of Romans” – which I then refuted with information

      You finish up with an obnoxious attack on Scott Carroll in which you fail to include any evidence that the Mark fragment is “fictional” – an attack which is ironic when you previously wrote “Please try to keep things civil and avoid snarky attacks so that we can keep this blog a welcoming place. Thanks!”

      And finally, you fail to take ownership of what you write when you persist in hiding behind the name Anonymous.

      Leaving whoever Anonymous now out of the discussion, the large amount pre-published information that is sometimes conflicting and often unattributed still leaves us with an awareness that there are a very large number of OT and NT papyri to be published, some known to be in the Green Collection, but apparently not the Mark fragment, and some with Josh McDowell. We also know that at least some of them were extracted from cartonnage, and not by 2nd hand claims from dealers but by first hand accounts from people who were there when the extraction took place. For this see as an example, http://www.charismamag.com/spirit/evangelism-missions/560-evangelism/22947-josh-mcdowell-living-treasures-hidden-within-ancient-artifacts where specific papyri are mentioned, as well as a specific date and location, by a specific person.

      In case people are not aware of the number of papyri to be published, both those that were purchased as well as those that are from cartonnage, see as an example http://docs10.minhateca.com.br/749504671,BR,0,0,drcarrolldiscoveries.pdf

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    6. Isn't it at least a little troubling that the people making all these startling claims have no known qualifications in the relevant field, viz. papyrology? Why does a document entitled "drcarrolldiscoveries.pdf" include the Mark papyrus that started this discussion when he admits in the YouTube video that he had no involvement in the 'discovery' but simply saw the papyrus? Isn't it again slightly troubling that, to take one example, a fragment four letters in length is deemed to be "Mark 15:9 (350 – 430 AD). The earliest Coptic papyri [sic] of this passage." (see josh.org/wp-content/uploads/Bibliographical-Test-Update-05.08.14.pdf page 19)? Would any reputable academic journal accept an identification of this kind for publication? Doesn't this whole sorry affair tend to bring Christian scholarship into disrepute, something that will be of particular concern to us as readers of this blog? Better to wait for scholarly publications and not build anything on reports of this kind and the vague claims of a dealer.

      The renewed personal attacks are another matter. You attribute to me "the claim that I “don’t have any information about the origins of the unpublished papyrus of Romans”", when in fact I asked a question. You have now helpfully revealed the nature and quality of your sources. I'll pass over the rest for now (largely addressed before).

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    7. Anon, yes, it's possible that a journal *could* accept an identification like this. It has happened before (see José O'Callaghan, ¿Papiros neotestamentarios en la cueva 7 de Qumrān?, Biblica 53.1 [1972]: 91-100). That isn't to say that they *should* though. In the case of O'Callaghan, only Karl Jaroš still accepts part of his claims, and even Jaroš rejects most of O'Callaghan's identifications.

      O'Callaghan's article is worth a mention, even if it's negative. With all the hype, it's as if we've completely forgotten the last time somebody claimed to have found a 1st-century Mark fragment and even got it published.

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    8. Thanks for the reminder! Wishful thinking has a long history in this subfield, alas, and paleographical dating doesn't get us very far.

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    9. “Isn’t it at least a little troubling that the people making all these startling claims have no known qualifications in the relevant field, viz. papyrology? … Isn’t it again slightly troubling that, to take one example, a fragment four letters in length is deemed to be Mark 15:9 … paleographical dating doesn’t get us very far”

      In the publication, josh.org/wp-content/uploads/Bibliographical-Test-Update-05.08.14.pdf which is aimed at a general audience rather than a specialist papyrologist audience, low resolution photographs are provided with very basic details – such as the biblical passages identified in the photographs.

      With this in mind a person with sufficient qualifications in papyrology to judge the qualifications of other people (as Anonymous has done) would have noticed:
      1. The mention (page 15) that “The photos have been purposely obscured to protect copying of manuscripts before their publication.” and realised that “the people making all these startling claims” made them with access to unobscured photographs
      2. That the obscured photograph with Mark 15:9 (page 19) appears to show traces of more than 4 letters, there appearing to be 5 letters on the first line and possibly another 2 or 3 letters on what appears to be a second line
      3. That it was mentioned (page 15) that the fragment was from a codex so presumably has more letters on the other side
      4. That for other more substantial fragments, such as the fragment with Jeremiah 33:24 (page 21), no mention is made of the text on the other side – so the lack of any mention of any text on the other side of the fragment with Mark 15:9 is not evidence that the other side was blank or illegible
      5. That the fragment was extracted from a panel (pages 17-19) so dating need not be based only on the palaeographical features of the fragment but also on the context of where the fragment was found
      And concluded that the “the people making all these startling claims” were making them based on their viewing possibly as many as 14 letters from possibly as many as 4 lines from presumably 2 sides of a leaf of a codex that was found with other fragments.

      Looking forward to Anonymous revealing their name so their qualifications can become “known qualifications”

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    10. Thank you Matthew. This is just to clarify that even anonymous comments are welcome on te blog although I personally appreciate it when people sign and do it with their real name.

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    11. Thanks, Tommy. It's probably not necessary to continue this particular conversation: we've now been presented with an extended sample of the work that is being so strenuously defended. Readers can easily consult the file and judge for themselves!

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    12. Thanks "anonymous." I should add that I do think that there is a fragment of Mark and it is dated early (not necessarily first century). Further, I think there are a number of papyri which really were abstracted from cartonnage, but others that were not. I will leave it with that and look forward to publication, and, hopefully also more information about purchases and provenance.

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  13. So does anyone know where P129 came from? When I saw this fragment in person, in a display case, I asked the attendant about it. She was very matter of fact in her description of recovery from a mummy mask. Maybe she didn't know what she was talking about or confused it with another fragment. Does anyone know for certain as to the recovery of this fragment?

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    1. Darrell, where did you see this fragment, are you sure it was P129 (or perhaps, how are you sure it was P129) and who was the attendant?

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    2. It was March 2013. I remember it well. Here is my journal entry from that day: "The Green Collection traveling exhibit came to my community, and so I attended. The event promotional promised I would see some rare English Bibles, a few reproductions, and what I thought would be the highlight of my visit, a papyrus leaf showing the Greek translation of one of the Psalms. As I began working my way along the first row of display cases, I had to wait patiently as those ahead of me lingered over each display, asking questions of the exhibit staff. Finally I was able to look ahead and see the psalms papyrus, but my eyes immediately were drawn to a smaller display also containing a papyrus fragment. Shuffling ever closer I was able to read the display placard, and it said something about 1 Corinthians. The promotional literature had said nothing at all about this fragment. So while still waiting to get up to the display case, I checked the program booklet I was handed as I entered, and there it was. The Green Collection was displaying a newly discovered 2nd or 3rd century papyrus fragment containing “1 Corinthians 8:10 and 9:3.” Both the printed program and display placard listed these two verses as the only content for the fragment.
      Finally my turn arrived and I was looking directly at the fragment. Immediately I noticed at least seven visible lines, which struck me as odd considering I expected the visible side of the fragment to contain portions of but one verse, either 8:10 or 9:3, depending on which side they chose to display. Then I noticed that even though the lighting was dim, I could easily read the letters and words, so I joked with the attendant about photography and she laughed and said she would have to confiscate my camera. I asked if I could jot down some notes about the fragment, and that was fine. So I quickly began transcribing, but realized I was already holding up the line. So I wrapped up quickly, and finished my tour and arrived back at my office where I planned to collate the transcription against the NA Greek New Testament. Immediately I saw that nothing made sense. The letters and words I found could not be made to fit into either 8:10 or 9:3. So I began to doubt myself. Perhaps in my haste I failed to see the letters clearly.
      Thankfully, the event was scheduled for one more day, so I returned in the morning. To my delight the crowds were gone, and now much better prepared, I stood before the display case ready to do a much more careful transcription. I drew the shape of the fragment and positioned the letters as they were written on the papyrus. I was able to study it for as long as I needed and was able to draw out letters I had missed the day before. Arriving back to my office, I went to work again, and quickly I was able identify 1 Corinthians 10:1. But the display said the papyrus contained only 8:10 and 9:3.
      As I continued to research this, I finally realized what went wrong. The program and display placard had wrongly written “1 Corinthians 8:10 and 9:3.” The portion I had transcribed was from 9:27; 10:1-6. This meant that the contents were 8:10 through 9:3 on one side and 9:29; 10:1-6 on the other."

      If I recall correctly it was the second day I chatted with the attendant on duty and she spoke of mummy masks in relation to this fragment. I do not recall her name.

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    3. Interesting account, thanks for posting. The prohibition of photography strikes me as old fashioned thinking - along the lines of how they still desperately regionalize dvd releases of movie, under the delusion that they can still enforce geographical boundaries in the age of the Internet.

      Similarly, in a day when google glasses or pocket hole cameras could be recording every ms you look at without giving off any suspicion, trying to enforce such an embargo is at best quaint, but probably delusional.

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    4. Darrell, thanks for the incredible detail. I'm glad you got to see it twice!

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    5. Fantastic story. Thanks for sharing!

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  14. When I was invited to see a very very early papyrus text of Mark I had to travel to Istanbul.

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    1. No, I couldn't travel on that particular day because my son Will had a football match.

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    2. I obviously was not cut out to be an international man of mystery!

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    3. Okay. Back in that blogpost where we discuss Carroll's tweets, I noted that he probably saw it in a collection in Istanbul. I assume this item was subsequently moved to Oxford to end up on Obbink's pool table where he saw it a second time. I had no idea that you were invited to Istanbul...

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    4. Maybe you could take a trip to Obbink's office though. Probably cheaper than Istanbul

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    5. I'd have to walk through town for minutes

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    6. I suggest you challenge him in a pool game, so you get to see everything.

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  15. David C. Smith7/18/2017 11:15 pm

    Holy crap. That's my parents' church in Charlotte. Haha.

    I have nothing else to say.

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  16. Hello,

    Has any more information been released about the "six other early New Testament papyri (all from around the second century)" that Dr. Wallace mentions in his post on first century Mark here: https://danielbwallace.com/2012/03/22/first-century-fragment-of-marks-gospel-found/

    Is there updated information as to what books these fragments are from, and whether or not they are in codex format?

    Thanks!

    Rob

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  17. An interesting discussion, including potential problems for associating scholars see https://rogueclassicism.com/2017/07/24/the-hobby-lobby-settlement-a-gathering-storm-for-classicists/

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    1. "An anonymous group of 'scholars of archaeology'" is not a promising start to the Salt Lake Tribune article about Lincoln Blumell's involvement. It gets worse with this: "The coordinator of the letter declined to speak on the record, due to fear of retribution for himself and eight co-authors who have current or previous associations with BYU." Sounds pretty shady.

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