Scott Carroll on the Claim of a First Century Papyrus of the Gospel of Mark

Scott Carroll on the Claim of a First Century Papyrus of the Gospel of Mark July 23, 2017

The Evangelical Textual Criticism blog shared the above video and provides a transcript as well as some additional information and discussion.

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  • So almost two years since that interview and still not published.

  • Carroll says in the interview:

    “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.”


    I was under the impression that most scholars at least agreed on a date as early or a bit earlier than the odd 70-120 range that Carrol is suggesting for the unpublished Mark fragment.

    Isn’t the suggestion that “critics have always dated [Mark] late” just a straw man?

    • I would say it is worse than a straw man – it is simply a false claim.

      • And it sounds like a false claim intended to create the false impression that Carrol is rescuing Bible “truth” from evil secular “critics”.

      • Paul E.

        To be as charitable as possible to Carroll, is he, perhaps using loose wording, talking about the paleography of manuscripts or copies thereof rather than an authorship date? IIRC, isn’t our earliest copy of Mark dated a little later paleographically than the earliest manuscripts of other gospels?

        • Yes, you may be right – but in normal parlance saying that Mark is usually dated late would not convey that, and hopefully he would not disagree with the appropriateness of dating the other manuscripts to the times when experts date them!

        • Gary

          “We are told that Obbink wrestled with dating it between AD 70 and 110/120.”

          “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.”

          I assume they are talking about the actual date (70-120AD), of the papyrus manuscript (and the copies previously found of Mark), not the date of the original, “first edition” Mark. Unless Carroll was trying to imply this was one of the “first editions”. Either way, trying to figure out what he actually meant from this conversation is not worth the time to analyze.

          Although, it is clear the evangelical crowd is rather paranoid about secular scholars, as evidenced by:

          “Dirk Obbink….
          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.”

          But this, I think, feeds into the delay of publishing, and probably the jacked-up prices that the original owner extracted from the current (probably Evangelical) owner.

          If I was to bet, I would say the Hobby Lobby President, is the one that is shelling out the money for this effort. As evidenced by his previous activities:

          I think, he is being scammed by antiquities smugglers. And being encouraged by the Evangelical paranoia to get material written by so-called “eyewitnesses”.

          • Gary

            The timing fits the crime (or activity) – so to speak! (From CNN reference):

            “”In 2009, Hobby Lobby began acquiring a variety of historical Bibles and other artifacts. Developing a collection of historically and religiously important books and artifacts about the Bible is consistent with the company’s mission and passion for the Bible,” Hobby Lobby said in a statement.”

  • Paul E.

    This is a disturbing video, imo, not only on its own terms (e.g., the shadowy, secretive aspects, the weird publication comments, etc.), but especially so when seen in conjunction with what are imo McDowells’s, and even Craig Evans’, stunning flippancy and disrespectful attitude toward the issues and process surrounding this possible find. If there is any “there” there, then get on with it. Enough with the jokes and the game of smoke and mirrors.

  • Joe Wallack

    Good News and Bad News for Hobby Lobby. The Good News is the fragment really is from the 1st century. The Bad News is it has to be returned to The Middle East. The fragment said “Μὴ ἀποστερήσῃς”