Dating gospel of mark
The publication of P137 was prepared by Oxford papyrologists Daniela Colomo and Dirk Obbink.Although news releases from the EES about individual papyri are highly unusual, the organization issued a statement last week reporting that P137 was excavated probably in 1903, that Obbink had previously shown the papyrus to visitors to Oxford, and that it had been preliminarily dated to the first century.As a general rule, earlier manuscripts get us closer to the original text than later manuscripts because there are assumed to be fewer copies between them and the autographs (the original copies of the NT writings, most likely lost to history).Naturally, this news of a first-century copy of Mark generated a great deal of interest.Obbink and Colomo admit in the edition that the handwriting is difficult to date. It contains a few letters on each side from verses 7–9 and 16–18 of Mark 1.Scott Carroll stated that P137 is indeed the manuscript he had spoken about as “first-century Mark,” and Dan Wallace finally broke his six-year silence on the matter. Lines of writing preserved on each side indicate that this fragment comes from the bottom of the first written page of a codex—a book rather than a scroll.In late 2011, manuscript scholar Scott Carroll—then working for what would become the Museum of the Bible in Washington D.
The fact that the text presents us with no new variants is partially a reflection of the overall stability of the New Testament text over time.
When pressed for more information, Wallace refrained from saying anything new.
He later signed a non-disclosure agreement and was bound to silence until the Mark fragment was published.
Finally, a first-century manuscript of Mark would be the earliest manuscript of the New Testament to survive from antiquity, written within 40 years of when the Holy Spirit inspired the original through the pen of the evangelist himself.
Needless to say, a first-century fragment of Mark was a bombshell.
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Six years came and went, and there was no “first-century Mark” fragment. On stage at a conference in 2015, Scott Carroll told Josh Mc Dowell that the manuscript had been for sale at least twice, after the first attempt was unsuccessful.