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.
Still no name for this world class paleographer and no new information, even though the date of the post is – well – today. The rest of the post is along the lines of ‘even if we did find something new it wouldn’t change what we already know’ apologetics.
It’s a shame, really. Why not post a photo of the manuscript? Why not allow others to examine it? Why not name the paleographer so he could be asked what his views were and how he reached them? And why not address the issue of provenance? And most importantly, why no engagement with the questions that have been widely raised- particularly those of Hurtado?
I remain skeptical that this manuscript is anything significant if its even authentic.
- T.M. Law’s Astute Observations on the Purported ‘Earliest Fragment of Mark’ Thing (zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com)
- An Early Copy of Mark’s Gospel? Color Me Skeptical (zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com)
- The Earliest Manuscript of Mark’s Gospel? (frstephensmuts.wordpress.com)
- Madonna and the Manuscript of Mark’s Gospel (timothymichaellaw.com)