Saturday, February 11, 2012

More about the New Testament fragments

Larry Hurtado has a post suggesting caution with regard to the new manuscripts. He says, “With many others, I await further news, and even more so I await more forthcoming scholarly work on these mooted items.  Additional early New Testament fragments?  As someone said when asked what he thought of the French Revolution:  “Too soon to tell.”

Hurtado provides a link to the owner of the collection, Green Collection, whose scholarly impetus is provided by Scott Carroll, PhD. The story is, “Using a new technology developed by The Green Collection in collaboration with Oxford University, scholars have uncovered the earliest surviving New Testament written in Palestinian Aramaic — the language used in Jesus’ household — found on recycled parchment under a layer in this rare manuscript”.

That said, here’s what’s going around:

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From what I’ve been able to glean there are now in the Green Collection 7 unpublished NT papyri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, it appears most of these have been recently extracted from mummy cartonnage, but I don’t know any details as to where these were found.

As Hurtado notes, “With regard to NT writings, we are already in an enviable and unparalleled situation, with substantial early papyri copies of a number of them (e.g., the Chester Beatty papyri, and the Bodmer papyri).” Still, the early word is, “caution”. 

Edit: Links fixed, 10:00 am


  1. This is only a month old, but it is rather recent for me who sometimes comments to blog posts much older.

    I just wanted to say that like the rest of the Biblical mss, including the ones which antedate the Qur'an by hundreds of years, i am sure that this also substantiates the Islamic contradictions of the Bible that we now hold. /sacr

  2. And regarding which, rather than simply making some alteration as Islam charges, changing Scriptures to say that Jesus is the Son of God and God manifest in the flesh, and who died for our sins and rose again - and all that is related to that - would virtually require a complete rewriting of the Bible in all its mss!

    And besides Rome not having the power to do so, if they did change the Bible then they did a very poor job - presuming the ante Nicene church was the Roman Catholic church as they assert - as just a few easy changes (like one example of praying to departed saints, or Mary being a perpetual sinless virgin, or a word of a successor to Peter to fill the chair) would be expected. But this is not the case.

    Instead it is likely that, as Islam contends, Muhammad could not read. Thus he received his knowledge of the Bible from traders and others who were also rather Biblically illiterate, and so he thought that he was consistent with the Bible, and actually thought that the Christian Trinity was God, Jesus and Mary, which is not hard to imagine in the light of the Catholic exaltation of her.