1st Century Gospel of Mark Text Found?


A very early manuscript of the Gospel according to Mark, may have been found:

Earliest manuscript of Gospel of Mark reportedly found

Christian Post – Feb 20, 2012

Dallas Theological Seminary professor Daniel B. Wallace has said that newly discovered fragments from the Gospel of Mark could be the oldest New Testament artifacts ever found and date from the first century A.D., or during the time of eyewitnesses of Jesus’ resurrection.

Wallace announced his findings at UNC Chapel Hill on Feb. 1, 2012, during a debate in front of 1,000 people, where he unveiled that seven New Testament papyri had recently been discovered – six of them he said were probably from the second century, and one of them, the Gospel of Mark, probably from the first. The records will only be published next year, however…

Craig A. Evans, Payzant Distinguished Professor of New Testament at Acadia Divinity College, shared with The Christian Post that this find may indeed be of very great importance.

“If authenticity and early date are confirmed, this fragment of the Gospel of Mark could be very significant and show how well preserved the text of the New Testament really is. We all await its publication,” Evans stated. http://in.christiantoday.com/articles/earliest-manuscript-of-gospel-of-mark-reportedly-found/7074.htm

Well, perhaps such a first century document has been found.

The following from a related interview may be of interest:

BAPTIST PRESS: Some readers may be wondering: If we don’t have the original copy of Mark’s Gospel, how can we trust that what we have is what Mark wrote?

KOSTENBERGER: The fact is that the earliest manuscripts of all or parts of Mark that we do have show remarkable consistency and stability. And none of the minor variations between different manuscripts affect any major doctrine of Christianity at all. Of course, there is no way to prove positively one way or another what might have happened during the period between the original writing of Mark and the first available copies. Knowing what we do know about the care with which ancient Jews as well as early Christians took to preserve the original wording of what they believed to be authoritative and sacred writings — in fact, the very words of God — inspires a high degree of confidence. First the apostles, and then those after them carefully guarded the reliability of the eyewitness testimony to Jesus contained in the four canonical Gospels.

The reality is that there is more proof and consistency of most of the New Testament writings than other documents purportedly from the same time frame.  The recently claimed find, whether accurate or not, will not change that, other than adding more documents as proof to the reliability of the New Testament writings.

It may be of interest to note that the Gospel according to Mark, and all the other books of the New Testament, were directly or indirectly, also referred to by Polycarp of Smyrna in something he wrote in the early second century.

Some articles of possibly related interest may include:

The Bible: Fact or Fiction? This is a booklet written by Douglas Winnail that answers if the Bible is just a collection of myths and legends or the inspired word of God.
Read the Bible Christians should read and study the Bible. This article gives some rationale for regular bible reading.
Polycarp’s Letter to the Philippians Did Polycarp refer to all the books of the New Testament in the early 2nd century? This is Roberts and Donaldson’s translation, corrected by me in one place, where they made a small error in translating Latin by omitting one word.
The Martyrdom of Polycarp This was written shortly after Polycarp died; likely involving Papirius. A mistranslation is corrected in this version.
Polycarp of Smyrna: The Heretic Fighter Polycarp was the successor of the Apostle John and a major leader in Asia Minor. Do you know much about what he taught?
Polycarp, Fragments from Victor of Capua This may have been written by Polycarp or “pseudo-Polycarp.”
Biblical Archaeology This is a website that has more information on biblical archeological as is sometimes known as the Bib Arch site.

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