Breaking News in the World of Biblical Studies

Posted: February 20, 2012 by boydmonster in Biblical Studies
Tags: , , ,

During a debate with Dr Bart Ehrman, the agnostic chair of religious studies at UNC Chapel Hill, Daniel Wallace announced that a first century manuscript of Mark’s Gospel has been recovered. If this is true, it’s kind of a big deal.  Many people believe that the Bible is a collection of basically unreliable texts that have been so changed over the years that we cannot even be sure that they bare any resemblance to the original documents.  Beginning in the 1800’s, critical scholarship began to cast official doubt upon the reliability of the Bible, giving this thought credence.  What was surprising to me to find out was that while this movement gave significantly later dates to the New Testament documents than traditionally given, scholarship has slowly turned this back.  One example of this is John’s Gospel.  Liberal critical scholars in the early 1900’s said that John’s Gospel could have been written as late as 100 years after Jesus’  death.  This idea was shattered in the 1930’s when p-52 was discovered.  This piece of ancient papyrus contained the oldest known piece of any of the Gospels.  And it was from John’s Gospel!  The piece dated to around 125 A.D.  Which meant that the document had to be in circulation a long while before this document was transcribed in or around Egypt.  Today, liberal critical Biblical scholars generally date the synoptic Gospels around the 80’s and 90’s A.D.  If this fragment is genuine, it could cause these scholars to reexamine many of their assumptions about a late date for the writing down of the details of Jesus’ life.  It really is amazing when you look to find out that the accounts of Jesus’ life in the Gospels continue to withstand criticism.  If there’s anything we can be sure of, it’s Jesus.  That’s true in every sense possible.

  1. nannykim says:

    Pretty cool! Hope you tell us if this is true as far as the finding of a first century manuscript goes!

  2. boydmonster says:

    We’ll know more when the book is peer reviewed.

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