Thursday, March 08, 2012

More on those early NT mss

DANIEL WALLACE is interviewed by Hugh Hewitt and reveals a little more about those early New Testament manuscripts. Excerpt:
HH: I’ve got to tell you, Professor, you turned a lot of heads when you alluded in your recent debate with Bart Ehrman to a new manuscript, or fragment of a manuscript concerning the Gospel of Mark. I know you’ve got scholarly restrictions on what you can and cannot say, but can you tell the audience what you’re allowed to disclose about that?

DW: I’ll be happy to. First of all, there is a fragment of Mark, and it’s a very small fragment, not too many verses, but it’s definitely from Mark. And the most amazing thing about this is that it’s from the 1st Century. We don’t have any other New Testament manuscripts that are written within the same century that the Gospels and the rest of the New Testament were written in. This is the first. And it’s dated by one of the world’s leading paleographers, whose name I’m not allowed to reveal yet. It will be published in a book with six other manuscripts that are either probably or definitely from the 2nd Century in about a year from now. And this is very, very exciting news, frankly. To have a fragment from one of the Gospels that’s written during the lifetime of some of the eyewitnesses to the resurrection is just astounding.

HH: Now when you say verses, can you tell us how many verses are in the fragment?

DW: Well, not really. I can say we have fragments, some of our fragments are so small that it might be part of one verse. This is bigger than that. And we have some of these early papyri, this is on papyrus, that are as much as, well, P-46, which is our oldest manuscript, or was our oldest manuscript for Paul’s letters, has nine of Paul’s letters in it almost intact. That’s a pretty large papyrus. So all of our papyri are fragmentary because of the nature of the material, and because of the age of the material. There’s leaves that just got eaten away or just eroded. But this is one leaf, I should say, or part of one leaf. So it can’t be very many verses on it.
That "one of the world's leading paleographers" is still keeping his head behind the parapet. Again, it's very odd that a scholar would announce a conclusion like this by proxy and not want to be named as the source. I wonder what that is about.

Professor Wallace also talks a little about the six other NT manuscripts that are supposed to be dated to the second century. Four are of Pauline letters (he declines to say which), one is of the Gospel of Luke, and one is a homily on Hebrews. (This paragraph was incomplete at first and I have now corrected it.)

Read it all. Via Larry Hurtado.

Background here and links.