Fragment of the Original Copy of the Gospel of Mark Discovered!

Fragment of the Original Copy of the Gospel of Mark Discovered! April 1, 2012

A fragment of what some believe may be the original copy of the Gospel of Mark has been brought to light by a collector of antiquities. This breaking news seems destined to trump the announcement earlier this year of a first century fragment of the Gospel of Mark.

The fragment is written on papyrus and is in Elizabethan English. The identification of the text as that of the original copy of the Gospel of Mark is based on a post-it note that was attached to the fragment, which reads:

Mark, please copy this into Koine Greek for use in our time. Send the original to England. They’ll need it later. Thanks, Pete.

New Testament scholar A. P. Ril, who is one of the strongest supporters of the manuscript’s authenticity, will discuss the provenance of text in a chapter in a forthcoming book, in which he connects the manuscript with yet another of this year’s headline-making discoveries, The Chamber Pot of the Twelve Apostles, which was found in the Talpiot neighborhood of Jerusalem.

The book The Chamber Pot of the Twelve Apostles is available for pre-order on the Eisenbrauns web site.

Although some scholars had earlier suggested that the image on the side of an ossuary found in a tomb in that area was a fish, Ril argues that, when the image is oriented correctly and perspectival adjustments are made using photoshop, it becomes clear that the image is in fact a chamber pot, one that would have been used perhaps by Jesus himself, but certainly his earliest followers.

Plans are already underway for a documentary for the Discovery Channel.

Meanwhile, some scholars have expressed skepticism about the find’s authenticity. However, no tests to date the manuscript can be undertaken, experts say, until the ink with which it was written has completely dried.


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  • This is huge!!! Surprisingly, this does bring credence to the KJVO-folks’ claims. However, I am still a bit skeptical to the whole thing. The article clearly says that the papyri fragment was written in Elizabethian English yet the use of contractions (e.g. “they’ll”) in the quoted text does not sound very Elizabethian to me.

    I suggest that we cool down until the experts have a look at the fragment.

    Ps. I just realized that this will radically affect our knowledge of the evolution of the English language. These are exciting times that we are living in!

  • Carl Von Daniken

    The irony is that there is a 65% chance that the History Channel WILL run a special! Chamber Pot of the Gods: New Testement Scholarship Meets Ancient Alien Theory. Hosted by Giorgio Tsoukalos & Bob Patterson.

  • I suspect the copy is a forgery. Wasn’t Elizabethian English developed some one and a half millennia after the days of the writing of the Gospels? I am gleefully awaiting the basis of the foundation behind the identification of the chamber pot as the one of the 12 apostles.

  • Jon Hendry

    Fermat’s Last Gospel, to large to fit in the margin?

  • Rick

    I don’t like Mr. Ril’s work.  He seems like such a fool.

  • Zion

    Proof, at last, to the long-held view in so many scholarly circles that God is an Englishman! Kudos to all involved. 

  • Sara

    Nice April Fool’s!

  • J. P. Thadius III

    Everyone knows that Ril is a crank. He’s also known to have kept the manuscript near his kitchen and his wife is a horrible cook. Attempts to carbon date it have been flawed due to the smoke damage from Mrs. Ril’s bad cooking. 

  • Stjeromes

    I don’t think anyone here has realized what the significance of finding an ancient post-it note might be. Conservative scholars are already saying that this find strengthens the case for the reliability of the gospels, showing us how common reading and writing was in the time of Jesus. Scholars of a more liberal bent have said the opposite, arguing that the find weakens the case for reliability. For why would members of an oral culture with highly developed memories need to use post-it notes to remind them of stuff? I believe Bart Ehrman has already announced on a new book on this.

    On a related note, both Office Depot and Office Max are funding major archaeological digs at several ancient sites in an effort prove once and for all what scholars have up to now only speculated about: the existence of first century office supply stores.

  • James


    You shouldn’t go announcing books that far ahead! A.P. Ril has not signed the contract yet! We don’t want her running to other publishers! (Yes, A.P. Ril is a woman!)

    • James

      I meant Television deals…my bad.

  • JoeWallack

    I’m surprised you have not inventoried this as evidence for HJ. I suppose though that on the other side MJ will be quick to point out that “Pete” is significantly different than “Peter”.