Has Mark’s (near) Original Autograph been found?

Dan Wallace, in part, writes,

We have as many as eighteen second-century manuscripts (six of which were recently discovered and not yet catalogued) and a first-century manuscript of Mark’s Gospel! Altogether, more than 43% of the 8000 or so verses in the NT are found in these papyri. Bart had explicitly said that our earliest copy of Mark was from c. 200 CE, but this is now incorrect. It’s from the firstcentury. 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, a man who had no religious affiliation and thus was not biased toward an early date, 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.)

…“This papyrus fragment—just like the other new discoveries that we are preparing for publication—strongly confirms what most scholars have already said is the original text.”…

So a book is coming out in a year which purports to relate a manuscript of Mark which predates P52, dated roughly between 100 and 150. If this manuscript is really before that, we can expect some rebuttals, although as they usually are, nonsensical, from the mythicists. How will this affect my thesis work? Not sure. First, we have to see if it is a complete Mark and, then, what the date is.

Dear Lord, what an exciting time!

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Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

16 thoughts on “Has Mark’s (near) Original Autograph been found?”

  1. Are these the same manuscripts that Wallace declared ‘I can also mention that Hitler had shown an interest in one or two of these manuscripts during WWII.?’

  2. In one of the comments Steven Carr notes “You can already read about this frament …” The link is to an article that discusses 7Q5 – a fragment that has so little extant that its identification is generally held ot be questionable, and that has nothing to do with the Green Collection papyri that Dan Wallace was referring to.

    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 8-9
    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

    Rearding Mark Stevens question as to where they were found, iIt appears most of these have been recently extracted from mummy cartonnage, but I don’t know any details as to where these were found

      1. Jeff is correct – my typographical error regarding Romans 9-10 (not Romans 8-9).

        Also, a second typographical error, the first listed fragment should be Hebrews 11 (not Hebrews 1)
        For a probable photograph of the Hebrews 11 fragment see http://www2.baylor.edu/baylorproud/2011/04/exhibit-of-rare-bibles-displayed-at-baylor-before-heading-to-vatican-permanent-museum/ where it is the in the 13th photograph, next to P39 in the display. Althought the photograph is too fuzzy to identify the text it does illustrate the size of NT fragments that can be found in cartonnage. This fragment was discussed at http://evangelicaltextualcriticism.blogspot.com.au/2011/04/early-manuscript-of-hebrews-discovered.html

        Photographs of the 5 other NT fragments don’t seem to be available yet.

        1. Matthew,
          Can you share the sources of your information on the other four fragments (besides the Mark, Romans, & Heb fragments)? You’re the only person I’ve seen to list dates and contents of the other four fragments. Thanks.

          1. Jeff,

            much of the information is ephemeral – on the web for a short while then gone again. While I usually have recorded for my own use screen shots that I may refer to, I can’t share copies of these for copyright reasons, and there is no point in listing dead links.

            Relevant current links include
            Dr Scott Carroll’s facebook at http://www.facebook.com/drscottcarroll where there is a photograph of a frg. of Hebrews in “London Papyri Collection. I haven’t had time to determine what passage it is yet or if it is on of the four 2nd century Pauline frgs. that Daniel Wallace referred to
            For frg. with I Corinthians 8-10 see http://seminary.bethel.edu/www/news-events/news/2011/may/spring-faculty-accomplishments
            For frg. with Matthew see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UtDWQsby_0g

            Matthew Hamilton

          2. Thanks, Matthew. So the Matthew papyrus sounds like it has text from the Sermon on the Mount, according to what Scott Carroll says on the youtube clip.

            Do you have a source for information that one of the fragments is from Luke? I don’t think I’ve seen anyone mention that but you.

            Thanks again,

          3. Update on the Pauline Epistle. It appears it is probably NOT the Hebrews fragment whose photograph is found on Dr Scott Carroll’s facebook. That frg I’ve looked at more closely and it is of Hebrews 9:19-22 – which would probably be the same Hebrews 9 fragment referred to by the anonymous former student of Bill Warren as “I am working on an early Heb 9 fragment that is untouched. Certainly, I am inclined to date later rather than early” – see the comments under “New fragment of Romans 9 and 10″. But it may be the other Hebrew frg in the Green Collection as the caption under the photograph of the Hebrews 9:19-22 frg is “This private papyri collection contains a number of unknown biblical and classical texts. This is one of six (including another in the Green Collection) known papyri of the Book of Hebrews”. A problem with Dr Carroll’s statement is that there are more than 6 papyri of Hebrews

            Update on the Luke frg. Dan Wallace refers to six 2nd century frgs. of which from the totality of souces are Hebrews 11, I Corinthians 8-10, Matthew, Romans 9-10, a Pauline Epistle, and one other. The content of this one other is Luke as Stephen Joyner’s comment at “New fragment of Romans 9 and 10″ included this “He mentioned a manuscript of Luke that rivals the date of P52″.

            So the latest list of NT papyri that appear to be in the Green Collection (apart from P39 which was purchased) is as follows:
            1. 2nd century frg. with Hebrews 11
            2. Undated (later) frg. with Hebrew 9:19-22 on one side, unknown content on other side
            3. 2nd century frg. with I Corinthians 8-10
            4. 2nd century frg. with Matthew
            5. 2nd century frg. with Romans 9-10
            6. 2nd century frg. with part of a Pauline Epistle
            7. 2nd century frg. with Luke
            8. 1st century frg. with Mark

            Matthew Hamilton

          4. Yet a further update on the Hebrews 9 fragment. I assumed that the Hebrews fragment the former student of Bill Warren dated as ‘”later” was a different fragment to the Pauline fragment that Daniel Wallace dates as 2nd century. But this not need be the only interpretation of the snippets of information available. It is possible the former student and Daniel Wallace are referring to the same fragment but either there is disagreement in the dating or the former student is dating the fragment of Hebrews to the 2nd century but later in the 2nd century than the Romans fragment.

            Also, the Hebrews 9 fragment, according to Dr Carroll’s facebook – was purchased

            My error in this assumption is that rather thI’ve been able to track down where I saw Daniel Wallace’s comments – it is a comment at http://www.biblicalfoundations.org/ehrman-wallace-debate-wrap-up/ where at point 8 Daniel Wallace says “… four of the new fragments – all of Paul’s letters”. This infomration, combined with the information on Dr Scott Carroll’s facebook

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