This is Extremely Cool!

A fragment of the gospel of Mark that appears to date from the first century! If authenticated, this would be the oldest MSS of the NT in the world.

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  • Kirt Higdon

    I seem to remember reading of a discovery like this three or so decades ago. What happened to that fragment?

  • Sandra Miesel

    Yes, I also remember an earlier fragment, described in an issue of 30 DAYS before CATHOLIC WORLD REPORT was founded. Might have been in the 1980s.

  • Dale Price

    I think you’re thinking of the O’Callaghan hypothesis regarding a papyrus fragment found at Qumran, 7Q5.

    O’Callaghan argued that the fragment, which was basically part of a work, could only be a reference to Gennesaret, which is mentioned in Mark.

    It remains tenuous–it’s only a word fragment, after all–but not per se discredited.

  • Dale Price

    “part of a word,” not “work.”

  • I’ve read quite a bit about the Qumran fragment (including the book by Carsten Thiede), which some have supported as being the text of Mark 6:52-53.

    To be more exact the fragment includes parts of several words, including Gennesaret” which is of quite rare occurrence. However, the fragment is still very tiny, thirteen letters or so in all, not all of them completely legible, and the identity of some letters has been disputed. Paleographers (i.e. scholars of ancient handwriting) have dated it as no later than 50 A.D. Certainly one of the reasons liberal scholars have hotly denied the identification with Mark is their assured belief that Mark simply cannot be as early as 50 A.D. But there are certainly other valid reasons for disputing it as well.

    One note of real interest is the name of the scholar who announced the new discovery. Daniel B. Wallace is one of the most respected textual scholars of the N.T., and and has also been critical of the identification of the Qumran fragment with Mark. So the new fragment is likely to be on firmer ground textually than 7Q5. I can’t wait to learn more about it.

  • SouthCoast

    And, in a further report, the Jesus Seminar is said to have responded with, “Inconceivable!”

  • Sorry, that should actually be “more valid reasons.”

    • Well, actually, almost no scholars would date it as early as A.D. 50.