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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 5:54 pm 
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What do you guys think? Can't wait to find out more.

http://earliestchristianity.wordpress.c ... anuscript/
http://earliestchristianity.wordpress.c ... t-of-mark/

Quote:
Dan Wallace has posted a bit more on the potential discovery of a first-century manuscript fragment of the Gospel of Mark:

On 1 February 2012, I debated Bart Ehrman at UNC Chapel Hill on whether we have the wording of the original New Testament today. This was our third such debate, and it was before a crowd of more than 1000 people. I mentioned that seven New Testament papyri had recently been discovered—six of them probably from the second century and one of them probably from the first. These fragments will be published in about a year.

These fragments now increase our holdings as follows: we have as many as eighteen New Testament manuscripts from the second century and one from the first. Altogether, more than 43% of all New Testament verses are found in these manuscripts. But the most interesting thing is the first-century fragment.

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.

How do these manuscripts change what we believe the original New Testament to say? We will have to wait until they are published next year, but for now we can most likely say this: As with all the previously published New Testament papyri (127 of them, published in the last 116 years), not a single new reading has commended itself as authentic. Instead, the papyri function to confirm what New Testament scholars have already thought was the original wording or, in some cases, to confirm an alternate reading—but one that is already found in the manuscripts. As an illustration: Suppose a papyrus had the word “the Lord” in one verse while all other manuscripts had the word “Jesus.” New Testament scholars would not adopt, and have not adopted, such a reading as authentic, precisely because we have such abundant evidence for the original wording in other manuscripts. But if an early papyrus had in another place “Simon” instead of “Peter,” and “Simon” was also found in other early and reliable manuscripts, it might persuade scholars that “Simon” is the authentic reading. In other words, the papyri have confirmed various readings as authentic in the past 116 years, but have not introduced new authentic readings. The original New Testament text is found somewhere in the manuscripts that have been known for quite some time.

These new papyri will no doubt continue that trend. But, if this Mark fragment is confirmed as from the first century, what a thrill it will be to have a manuscript that is dated within the lifetime of many of the eyewitnesses to Jesus’ resurrection!


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 1:52 am 
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Has a first-century fragment of the Gospel of Mark been found?

Quote:
Daniel Wallace has shared the information that an upcoming publication will announce that a first-century(!) manuscript fragment of the Gospel of Mark has been found.

Interesting, except it sounds like more of the same wishful thinking that we have already seen regarding the work of Carsten Thiede, who contended that another papyrus fragment - this time found at the Dead Sea - was part of a first-century Mark. Few scholars have concurred with his assessment, and the theory has been largely forgotten, even though it garnered the same sort of fanfare and hyperbole that we are seeing here.

Quote:
Thiede was best known for his interpretation of some of the Greek Dead Sea Scrolls fragments, including the identification of the small 7Q5 papyrus fragment as a fragment of the Gospel of Mark. He supported O’Callaghan’s controversial claims that several papyrus fragments from Qumran Cave 7 are actually Christian New Testament texts from pre AD 70.

In December 1994, Thiede redated the Magdalen papyrus together with former deputy editor of The Sunday Telegraph and current editor of The Spectator, Matthew d'Ancona, which bears a fragment in Greek of the Gospel of Matthew, to the latter part of the 1st century on palaeographical grounds; this too provoked much debate and was highly publicised, most notably with a front page headline in The Times.

It should be kept in mind that paleography is an imprecise science - especially when it comes to this era, so if this thesis relies only on a fragment dated by one paleographer, I wouldn't get too excited. I would also be surprised if Brill is going to publish such an endeavor. There has to be more meat to it than that for Brill to be interested.

Let us not forget the brouhaha over the so-called Jesus Family Tomb, the James Ossuary, the Tomb of Peter and a thousand other relics and artifacts that have turned out not to be what they are purported.

Let us also keep in mind that our enthusiast Daniel Wallace - who has clarified that the text in question is merely a fragment, just as in the Thiede episode - is a devout evangelical Christian who therefore undoubtedly has absolute faith in the orthodox timeline of early Christian history.

Quote:
Wallace was born in California and graduated from Biola University in 1975 and later attended Dallas Theological Seminary. He graduated in 1979 with a Master of Theology in New Testament Studies. He taught at Dallas Seminary from 1979–81 and afterward at Grace Theological Seminary from 1981-83. In 1995, he earned his Ph.D. from Dallas Theological Seminary where he continues to teach full time.

Wallace is considered an evangelical authority on Koine Greek grammar and New Testament textual criticism among conservative New Testament scholars.

In that regard, this situation resembles the Thiede episode all the more: "A devout Anglican who was ordained priest in 2000, [Thiede] was also Chaplain to Her Majesty's Forces."

Whether or not the paleographer is a Christian is immaterial if he too believes the mainstream timeline, since, similar to carbon-14 dating, paleography has a + or - factor of about 25 to 50 (or more) years. As New Testament scholar Dr. Larry Hurtado remarks:

Quote:
...because paleographical dating can rarely be more precise than +/- 25 to 50 years, the proposed dating of many manuscripts will lie across two centuries...

So, if the paleographer dates the manuscript to the first century, it could be as late as, say, 99 AD/CE. With a factor of e.g. +50 years, that would put it into the precise era we've dated Ur-Markus to, around the middle of the second century.

And speaking of Larry Hurtado, he has already weighed in on this issue, with a caution:

Quote:
The identification and palaeographical dating of manuscripts requires huge expertise specific to the period and texts in question. Let’s wait and see whose judgement lies behind the claims.

Palaeographical dating can ever only be approximate, perhaps as narrow as 50 yrs plus or minus. Expert palaeographers often disagree over a given item by as much as a century or more. It’s never wise to rest much upon one judgement, and confidence will be enhanced only when various experts have been given full access to the items.

It is particularly difficult to make a palaeographical dating of a fragment, the smaller it is the more difficult. For such dating requires as many characters of the alphabet as possible and as many instances of them in the copy as possible to form a good judgement about the “hand”.

Although it ratchets up potential sales of a publication to make large claims and posit sensational inferences about items, it doesn't help the sober scholarly work involved. It also doesn't actually accrue any credit or greater credibility for the items or those involved in handling them.

The editor of The Biblical World Blog likewise cautions against jumping to conclusions:

Quote:
The origin of this latest fragment is not yet known. And it will be a least a year until we learn anything more about it. The possibility that we now have a first century copy of Mark is quite exciting, but I think it is wise to handle this with caution. As we have seen many, many times before, artifacts and manuscripts that surface with fantastic claims tend to be much less than they are claimed to be. I am confident that Dan Wallace would not mention this fragment unless he truly thought it was of significance. Once it has been published and can be properly studied by a number of scholars we should know more about what this fragment can teach us.

Even our uncritically devout Christian critic James McGrath expresses skepticism:

Quote:
The first thing to be said is that this news is like any archaeological, historical or scientific proposal that grabs headlines – exciting, perhaps, but to be viewed with caution and above all patience, allowing time for the details to be published and the claims to be double-checked and cross-examined.

Of course, McGrath has to get in his dig at mythicists - we really get under his skin, apparently:

Quote:
As for the question on Joel’s mind, will it spell the end of mythicism if it turns out to be true that a first century manuscript of the Gospel of Mark has indeed been found? Of course not. Has any evidence for evolution ever spelled the end to young-earth creationism or Intelligent Design?

Right, it's much more intelligent and scientific to believe blindly in tales of a supernatural Jewish man who purportedly was born of a virgin, walked on water, performed healing miracles, transfigured on a mount, raised himself from the dead and flew off into heaven, than it is to question such stories! Welcome to topsy-turvy world!

Like I say, I wouldn't get too excited just yet. One must take the enthusiasm of a zealous Christian with a grain of salt. Now, if these other fragments date to the second century, that WILL be interesting to see. I'd like to know if any of them use the word/abbreviation for "Chrestos," rather than "Christos," for example. Also, if this fragment contains any anachronistic words or grammatical differences that date to a later period, it matters not one whit what the paleographer thinks, since it clearly dates to the later era.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 11:57 am 
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Acharya wrote:
Whether or not the paleographer is a Christian is immaterial if he too believes the mainstream timeline, since, similar to carbon-14 dating, paleography has a + or - factor of about 25 to 50 (or more) years. As New Testament scholar Dr. Larry Hurtado remarks:

Quote:
...because paleographical dating can rarely be more precise than +/- 25 to 50 years, the proposed dating of many manuscripts will lie across two centuries...

So, if the paleographer dates the manuscript to the first century, it could be as late as, say, 99 AD/CE. With a factor of e.g. +50 years, that would put it into the precise era we've dated Ur-Markus to, around the middle of the second century.

And speaking of Larry Hurtado, he has already weighed in on this issue, with a caution:

Quote:
The identification and palaeographical dating of manuscripts requires huge expertise specific to the period and texts in question. Let’s wait and see whose judgement lies behind the claims.

Palaeographical dating can ever only be approximate, perhaps as narrow as 50 yrs plus or minus. Expert palaeographers often disagree over a given item by as much as a century or more. It’s never wise to rest much upon one judgement, and confidence will be enhanced only when various experts have been given full access to the items.



Well, even a fundamentalist Christian would have to admit that the Gospel of Mark can certainly be no earlier than the 30s CE, right? LOL.

But it's also unlikely it pre-dates Paul as he never quotes from it or in any way even so much as alludes to its existence, or the existence of any of the canonicals for that matter.

If Paul's career ended during the reign of Nero, then that would be the earliest that any of the canonicals could possibly be, no? So the 60s CE would actually be the starting point, the very earliest end of the range. And so if the full range is only as narrow as 50 to 100 years, then yeah, most definitely this fragment could at best have an overlap of centuries in it's date rage, i.e., late 1st to early 2nd.

So it indeed takes more than paleography to nail down a 1st century date/a narrower date range. A 2nd century origin hypothesis is still on the table.

For the time being.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 12:41 pm 
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Quote:
But, if this Mark fragment is confirmed as from the first century, what a thrill it will be to have a manuscript that is dated within the lifetime of many of the eyewitnesses to Jesus’ resurrection!

That says it all. Obviously this is another fiasco akin to the Jesus family tomb and the others aimed at trying to shore up the faith. Time will tell...

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 6:50 pm 
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A Facebook friend of mine posted a pic. He knows his Koine pretty well and he says it's definitely from Mark 5:15-18.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 8:02 pm 
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It would be nice to know where that display is and what the provenance is for the papyrus fragment.

Let's look at Mark 5:15-18, first in English, followed by the original Greek (textus receptus):

Quote:
And they came to Jesus, and saw the demoniac sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, the man who had had the legion; and they were afraid. And those who had seen it told what had happened to the demoniac and to the swine. And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their neighborhood. And as he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him.

καὶ ἔρχονται πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν καὶ θεωροῦσιν τὸν δαιμονιζόμενον καθήμενον καὶ ἱματισμένον καὶ σωφρονοῦντα τὸν ἐσχηκότα τὸν λεγεῶνα καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν καὶ διηγήσαντο αὐτοῖς οἱ ἰδόντες πῶς ἐγένετο τῷ δαιμονιζομένῳ καὶ περὶ τῶν χοίρων καὶ ἤρξαντο παρακαλεῖν αὐτὸν ἀπελθεῖν ἀπὸ τῶν ὁρίων αὐτῶν καὶ ἐμβάντος αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸ πλοῖον παρεκάλει αὐτὸν ὁ δαιμονισθεὶς ἵνα ᾖ μετ᾽ αὐτοῦ

Recall that ancient Greek was originally written "as the ox plows" or in boustrophedon, which means back and forth from line to line, with no spaces or punctuation between words. In the Codex Sinaiticus (c. 330–360), one of the earliest extant Bible manuscripts, the writing is left to right, but it still has no punctuation and no spaces between the words. The lines are divided not at the end of words but according to syllables.

Here is how these passages (Mk 5:15-18) look in the Codex Sinaiticus:

καιηρχοντοπροϲ
τονινκαιθεωρου
ϲιτονδαιμονιζο
μενονκαθημε
νονϊματιϲμενο
καιϲωφρονουν
τατονεϲχηκοτα
τονλεγιωνακαιε
φοβηθηϲαν
καιδιηγηϲαντο
αυτοιϲοιϊδοντεϲ
πωϲεγενετοτω
δαιμονιζομενω
καιπεριτωνχοι
ρωνκαιηρξαντο
παρακαλιναυτο
απελθιναποτω
οριωναυτων
καιεμβαινοντοϲ
αυτουειϲτοπλοιο
παρεκαλειαυτο

Also, the Mark inscription appears to be in uncial script, which is all caps and which was used mostly from the 3rd to 8th cents. AD/CE. IMHO, it's not possible to pinpoint this fragment to the first century based on the paleography, especially if it's uncial. (In this regard, it should be noted that the uncial lettering here is not all caps. The omega, for example, is lowercase, as is the alpha, after a fashion, and the lambda.)

Here are the Greek uncials:

Image

Here's an image of the papyrus fragment with the text I can make out, with the capitalized Codex Sinaiticus text next to it. I have highlighted the word fragments in red.

Image

I should note that the rho Image in the fragment "αρακα" is the wackiest looking rho I've ever seen.

The demoniac and the swine

Let us take a look at the motif recorded on this fragment:

Quote:
And they came to Jesus, and saw the demoniac sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, the man who had had the legion; and they were afraid. And those who had seen it told what had happened to the demoniac and to the swine. And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their neighborhood. And as he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him.

This chapter (5) of Mark concerns a man with an "unclean spirit" who "lived among the tombs" who possessed supernatural strength and could not be bound. The possessed man wanders about forlornly until he sees Jesus, whom he worships and who rebukes the unclean spirit, which identifies itself as "Legion, for we are many."

Nearby is a "great herd of swine," and the legion beg Jesus to send them into the swine, which he does, driving the pigs into the sea, thus killing the demons as well. After the townsfolk freak out, Jesus goes to leave in a boat, and the demoniac begs to go along.

There are many reasons why this story cannot possibly be historical, not the least of which is the supernatural possession of a man by demons who identify themselves as "legion" and who are driving into swine and then somehow killed, even though they are already from the land of the dead.

I have turned my comments here into a blog post:

1st-century Gospel of Mark fragment discovered?

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:54 pm 
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Wow, that was quite a powerful response, Acharya. Quick too. Your knowledge of Greek as well as comparative mythology pays-off nicely once again. Well, it's a kick in the pants or wind out of the sails for the bible thumpers and even the evemerist atheists who still want to cling on to that historical baby Jesus. :lol:

It would be a blemish on the record of Brill if they published what these guys are claiming i.e. a 1st century Mark fragment, which looks more like 2nd/3rd century or later. But, as if that's not enough, there's a clear ancient Egyptian parallel to boot. This could turn out to support the mythicist argument once again; a mythical Jesus and a mid to late 2nd century gospel origin with plenty of "borrowing" from ancient Egypt and elsewhere. You've already been demonstrating that for many years now.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 1:45 pm 
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Here's some additional information, from someone named Matt Hamilton:

Quote:
From what I’ve been able to glean there are now in the Green Collection 7 unpublished NT papyri
1. 2nd century frg. with Hebrews 1
2. 2nd century frg. with I Corinthians 8-10
3. 2nd century frg. with Matthew
4. 2nd century frg. with Romans 9-10
5. 2nd century frg. with part of a Pauline Epistle, from what I know it is from Hebrews
6. 2nd century frg. with Luke
7. 1st century frg. with Mark

This list apparently refers to the original seven MSS, but Wallace later stated that there are some 19 MSS fragments. In any event, we see "our" Mark fragment on this original list.

It's useful to know that it's part of the Green Collection, headed by Dr. Scott Carroll, a devout Christian professor at the Christian institute Baylor University. Here's more information about the "Green Scholars Initiative":

Quote:
The Green Scholars Initiative is an international project involving institutions in several countries. The recently assembled Green Collection is among the world’s largest holdings of ancient texts and items related to the Judeo-Christian story. From thousands of cuneiform texts and papyri, Dead Sea Scrolls, Torah scrolls, Coptic biblical texts and medieval manuscript Scriptures and commentaries through to Gutenberg, Wyclif, Tyndale and King James translations, as well as early texts of Thomas à Kempis, Erasmus, Thomas More, Henry VIII and other important works of Reformation and post-Reformation biblical scholarship and theology, the Green Collection will provide [ten] Senior Scholars and their research clusters rare hands-on original research opportunities. Already, some very early un-researched Greek papyri codices have already yielded early Christian Scriptures and extremely rare texts of Greek classics in both poetry and philosophy.

If these fragments are part of codices, that fact alone casts doubt on the earliest dates, since such books, having been first described in the first century AD/CE, remained relatively uncommon until around the fourth century. Although codices were apparently preferred by Christian scribes, there remains little reason to push these texts into the first century, when they could as easily be from the second or third. Note this bit about codices:

Quote:
The pages of parchment notebooks were commonly washed or scraped for re-use, called a palimpsest; and consequently writings in a codex were considered informal and impermanent.

The Mark fragment image provided by GA that I reproduced and that is now all over the blogosphere appears to be a palimpsest, which would likely make of it part of a codex. Again, if this fragment is from a codex, changes are high that it is not from the first century.

Mark fragment a Facebook hoax?

Speaking of devout Christian professors, here's a new blog post by James McGrath who sincerely and uncritically believes that God as a superhuman was born through the womb of a 13-year-old Jewish virgin 2,000 years ago, walked on water, raised the dead, multiplied fishes and loaves, transfigured on a mount, resurrected himself from the dead and flew off into heaven.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringo ... ebook.html

McGrath calls me "infamous," and then he and his cronies imply that I or one of you here fabricated the purported papyrus fragment - all because we don't believe in a supernatural, virgin-born Jewish savior who is omnipresently floating around the cosmos. These are the kinds of scholars teaching young people in our universities.

That would be a good trick to fabricate a palimpsest. And why would this image be a forgery if these fragments have been around long enough for so many people to have discussed them already? It would be great, GA, to have more information about where your friend got the image, of course.

Heck, at least I'm infamous - means he's heard of me. (I'm told he's made disparaging remarks previously - again, because I don't mindlessly believe in supernatural fairytales without proof! Very scientific sources of knowledge for our college-bound youngsters!)

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 3:22 pm 
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The Green Collection



McGrath rants on and on about his anti-mythicist views and attempts to smear us all with broad stroke generalizations at his blog by comparing us to ... I'm not sure what all now: young/flat earthers and creationism etc., but what he fails to comprehend is that it was Christians who came up with all that crap. Another 99 IQ'er tossing stones from a glass house. Our little buddy, McGrath, needs to read Religion and the Ph.D.: A Brief History. McGrath is simply not the goto guy for anything at all.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 9:25 pm 
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Being new here I thought I would examine this topic as I have an interest in History and the Bible.

What do I find?

I find it interesting that many reject it outright. That is an indication of either a closed mind or .. well never mind.

I have seen arguments about Uncial script, yet such existed in the 1st century as is known.

Others will take the potential date range to the extreme end to reject it, yet ignore that it could easily fit within the needed time frame.

Some descend to ad hominem attacks as though a man of faith cannot tell the truth, but those with no faith can????? Typical; when no real argument actually exists, so denigrate the supporters.

Even questionable comments by some who evidently have a decent knowledge of the language and seem to be willing to dismiss it, with marginal evidence against it.

Many just heap scorn it with their own unsubstantiated opinions.

Question it, challenge it, but what I have read from many seems to be motivated by an urgent desire to discredit it so that even if true it can't support anything that disagrees with their position.

So far the wisest course is simply to see what is found by the scholars who are investigation it and then address, dare I say it, the facts.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 11:53 pm 
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^ So, how's it going Mcgrath? Could you have made your first appearance here any more obvious...

:lol:

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:33 am 
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anotherpaul wrote:
Being new here I thought I would examine this topic as I have an interest in History and the Bible.


Welcome to the forum. Reading over your post, it seems more that you "examined" comments & opinions you've read about the topic, and not really examining the points of the topic itself, at least, not with any depth, which is what would be inferred from the word "examine", no?

anotherpaul wrote:
What do I find?

I find it interesting that many reject it outright. That is an indication of either a closed mind or .. well never mind.


Fair enough. I haven't taken a poll on it, so I'll take you at your word on this one for the moment.
But is it not also the case that some have accepted it outright, and that being an indication of a gullible a mind?

anotherpaul wrote:
I have seen arguments about Uncial script, yet such existed in the 1st century as is known.


Indeed, which is why Acharya for one never even so much as insinuated that it didn't.
She did however point out that it was most commonly used from the 3rd century onward.

Plus she pointed out the usage of lowercase uncial in the fragment, and according to scholar Linda I. House in her book Introductory Phonetics and Phonology: A Workbook Approach, page 242-
"Lowercase Miniscule Letters

Lowercase or miniscule letters date to Uncial writing in the 3rd century. It was used from the 4th to the 8th centuries and the letters were derivatives of the capital version."

anotherpaul wrote:
Others will take the potential date range to the extreme end to reject it, yet ignore that it could easily fit within the needed time frame.


I suppose. Can you cite a comment of someone doing so? I'm curious to see what they wrote. But this in itself is weird. Why would someone both accept the "extreme end" (I assume you mean the latter extreme end as opposed to the extreme early end of the range, yes?) and yet "reject" it? If they are "rejecting" it, they wouldn't need any date range, whether early or late, because they are REJECTING it. So yeah, definitely re-post one of those comments here so I can see it because that's so weird to reject it yet accept its date range.

Moreover, what exactly is the "needed" time frame? Needed for what?

Does academia have an apriori "need" into which they try and stuff the evidence? Some round hole for which they only allow round pegs and ignore the squares? Or do they just let the facts speak for themselves and build & reform their model upon that? I should hope the latter.

I mean, if this particular fragment does date to the 2nd or even 3rd century CE, what "need" would be left desired?
The gospel itself could still have been authored in the 1st century, regardless of when this particular copy of it was written down, no?

anotherpaul wrote:
Some descend to ad hominem attacks as though a man of faith cannot tell the truth, but those with no faith can????? Typical; when no real argument actually exists, so denigrate the supporters.


Yeah, I feel you on this one.
I immediately saw ad hominem attacks myself as soon as I linked to this thread on Facebook. They were ad hom attacks against Acharya though. The typical comments along the lines of 'pffft, that fringe nut-job, I'll just wait until a REAL scholar comments on it, hahaha!', which we've all seen time and again. The people leaving these ad hom comments never addressed her actual points. They just tried to smear her in a sentence or two and then punched out for the day.

anotherpaul wrote:
Even questionable comments by some who evidently have a decent knowledge of the language and seem to be willing to dismiss it, with marginal evidence against it.


Marginal evidence against what? The 1st century dating of it, I assume?

Well, on that same note, there is so far only marginal evidence FOR such an early date, which is exactly the point Acharya has been making. She's never forbade a 1st century dating, she is simply correctly pointing out that such an early date can't be pinned down for certain until more evidence comes forward, so be cautious about jumping on the bandwagon right now. That's it. And that is a warning echoed by professionals in the field as well, and she even cited one or two as I recall.

anotherpaul wrote:
Many just heap scorn it with their own unsubstantiated opinions.


Indeed, just as many have heaped praise & hope upon it with their own unsubstantiated opinions (even though further evidence and even an exact date is still pending).
Good thing Acharya never did either.

anotherpaul wrote:
Question it, challenge it, but what I have read from many seems to be motivated by an urgent desire to discredit it so that even if true it can't support anything that disagrees with their position.


"even if true", I assume you mean if the 1st century dating is true? What position would that disagree with?

anotherpaul wrote:
So far the wisest course is simply to see what is found by the scholars who are investigation it and then address, dare I say it, the facts.


And how.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:31 pm 
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anotherpaul / Mcgrath? wrote:
Question it, challenge it, but what I have read from many seems to be motivated by an urgent desire to discredit it so that even if true it can't support anything that disagrees with their position.

What position would that be? Certainly not the Mythicist Position brought forward by Murdock in CiE. In actuality this is what she wrote concerning speculation about the origins of the gospels starting on page 455:
DM Murdock wrote:
The solution to these various problems with identifying the Therapeuts and the first Christians in Egypt, as well as their texts as the basis of the canonical gospels and epistles, lies in a "radical" analysis of the data concerning Christian origins along strictly scientific lines, without fervent faith or blind belief in the gospel story preventing us from seeing the facts. What we discover when we look closely at the evidence is that the gospel story represents a largely fictional account begun towards the end of the first century, and reworked and reformatted until the end of the second century, at which point it was solidly written into history and backdated to the beginning of the first century.

There's nothing about the Mark fragment in question which would even stand to contradict the MP in the first place, obviously.

That's not the point. The point is that the Mark fragment is probably not even from the late first century to begin with and proper analysis must be made before people run around chanting praise for what appears to be nothing more than another edition to the usual knee jerk Christian reaction to ancient artifacts. Time and again these knee jerk reactions prove wrong. And there are plenty of sound reasons to suspect this Mark fragment of being more of the same old, same old...

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The Jesus Mythicist Creed:
The "Jesus Christ" of the New Testament is a fictional composite of characters, real and mythical. A composite of multiple "people" is no one.

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Jesus: Hebrew Human or Mythical Messiah?


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 3:37 am 
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The issue of the codex form being unlikely to have come from the first century is verified by scholars Bernard Grenfell and Arthur Hunt (6), discoverers of the "Sayings of Jesus" text found at Oxyrhynchus, Egypt, in 1896–7:

Quote:
...the fact that the papyrus was in book, not roll, form, put[s] the first century out of the question, and make[s] the first half of the second century unlikely. The date therefore probably falls within the period 150-300 A.D.

It seems that the same could be said about this fragment of Mark, if it is indeed in codex form, as suggested above.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2012 10:02 pm 
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I need to check my Yahoo mail more often. I'm subscribed to their group textualcriticism, and there the group administrator had started a thread about this a few weeks ago, and Ehrman himself replied to Wallace's comments.

In reply to where Wallace was quoted as having stated:

Quote:
“Bart had explicitly said that our earliest copy of Mark was from c. 200 CE, but this is now incorrect. It’s from the first century. I mentioned these new manuscript finds and told the audience that a book will be published by E. J. Brill in about a year that gives all the data. (In the Q & A, Bart questioned the validity of the first-century Mark fragment. I noted that a world-class paleographer, whose qualifications are unimpeachable, was my source. Bart said that even so, we don’t have thousands of manuscripts from the first century! That kind of skepticism is incomprehensible to me.)”


Ehrman wrote the following:

Quote:
I don't have a transcript of the debate, but I certainly don't remember

saying anything about not having thousands of fragments of the first century.

As I recall, I instead asked Dan a series of questions, which he was not able to

answer (he intimated that he had signed some kind of nondisclosure agreement. I

understand all about that, but I think it's unfortunate for all of us --

scholars in the field who are interested). My questions (at least in my head:

I'm sure I asked some of these!): what is the extent of the papyrus? I.e. how

much text is in it? Who has provided the palaeographical dating? Has the

dating been corroborated by other experts? [Dan says it is a world-class

palaeographer; I don't recall him saying that in the debate. He simply said

that it was someone who was not theologically biased, a point I didn't entirely

understand [what matters is the person's expertise]. I did point out that other

"experts" had given first century dates for other biblical papyri, and that

these other datings are not to be trusted. Palaeography, especially on scraps,

is a highly tricky business. Dan responded -- about this I'm sure -- that those

other scholars were "quacks.") I'm also interested -- as we all are -- about

the provenance and history of the discovery, and so on. I am loathe to accept

one scholar's dating of the text (I did mention this in the debate) when it has

not been subject to public scholarly scrutiny. But of course I and everyone

would be absolutely delighted to have some first century evidence! Even if it's

just a tiny scrap.



This was not a particularly key moment in our debate, but I think we should

be hesitant to appeal to evidence from a first century text that no one has been

able to see, evaluate, date, or even locate. But in particular I think it is

highly unfortunate that the publication of this fragment will first appear in a

monograph instead of in a peer-reviewed journal where experts can make other

evaluations. I wonder whose decision it was to go this way. If I knew who it

was, I would strongly urge him/her to reconsider and publish the findings in a

more conventional medium first. Of course, all of us are deeply interested, and

if the material is available, it should be made *widely* available sooner rather

than later.



- Bart Ehrman



Bart D. Ehrman

James A. Gray Professor

Department of Religious Studies

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill



http://www.bartdehrman.com




Update:
Hmmm... apparently Wallace himself also posted in that thread, and he says that the picture my friend posted "looks rather like someone decided to copy out a portion of Sinaiticus onto a made-to-order fragment of rather recent vintage."

So it seems that isn't the correct fragment. And this is assuming Wallace himself has seen the actual fragment he referenced to Ehrman. I don't know.

Here's the link- http://groups.yahoo.com/group/textualcriticism/messages/6991?threaded=1&m=e&var=1&tidx=1


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