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-1st Century Gospel of Mark MS Fragments Found?

by Dr. D ~ February 25th, 2012

The recto of Rylands Library Papyrus P52 from ...

(P52 Fragment via Wikipedia)

From the Christian Post:

Dallas Theological Seminary professor Daniel B. Wallace has said that newly discovered fragments from the Gospel of Mark could be the oldest New Testament artifacts ever found and date from the first century A.D., or during the time of eyewitnesses of Jesus’ resurrection.

Wallace explained that the fragment was dated by one of the world’s leading paleographers. The oldest manuscript that had Mark in it was Papyrus 45 (P45), from the early third century (c. AD 200–250). This new fragment would predate P45 by 100 to 150 years, almost certainly placing it in the first century and making it the oldest of its kind, according to the professor. The other oldest known manuscript of the New Testament has been P52 (discovered in 1934), a small fragment from John’s Gospel, dated to the first half of the second century.

Response: This would an incredible discovery if the original assessments are correct. However, The official report and research on the fragments does not come out until sometime next year. This indicates that the scholars are being very careful and thorough in their research and are currently unwilling to commit to early speculation or assumptions about the manuscript fragments.

However, since the cat is out of the bag so to speak, they should be more forthcoming with some details about the MS fragments and the provenience of the discoveries. It would be nice to know at least what NT verses are covered by the fragments.

The potential importance of this discovery cannot be over stated and yet since we really know next to nothing about the fragments except what professor Wallace has revealed then speculation should be withheld until the preliminary research is completed and available. However, we can say this, if Wallace’s contentions are correct than it will go along way toward confirming a first century dating for the Gospel of Mark which most scholars have contended was the earliest of the gospels, written probably between 50-65 AD (CE).            *Top

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