Saturday, January 31, 2015

First-century Mark: A Timeline

Are you braced for the impact of the Green Scholars Initiative’s work on newly discovered New Testament papyri?  The most famous (or infamous) of these papyri is a fragment from the Gospel of Mark which has been assigned a production-date in the first century – but there are several important papyri among the documents which are scheduled to be published – hopefully – within a year.  Maybe two.  Or three.  In the meantime, here’s a timeline of events leading up to this eventual important event. 

Late 1970’s-1990’s – Jaakko Frösén (Philology professor at the University of Helsinki) develops methods to extract literary papyri from cartonnage.  A video of his conservation-technique is accessible at http://www.helsinki.fi/hum/kla/papupetra/papyrus/cartonnage.html .  (You may need an up-to-date version of RealPlayer to watch the video.)

August 9, 2007 – Robert A. Kraft (currently the Berg Professor of Religious Studies, Emeritus, at the University of Pennsylvania) expands his report on the appearance on eBay of papyrus fragments extracted from mummy cartonnage, at http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/rak/papyri/ebay/report-2007/report-frame.html and
http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/rak/publics/papyri/pKraft/studies/cartonnage.html
A papyrus fragment, from Dr. Kraft's report
Kraft’s report, Studies in the (Mis)uses of Papyrus Cartonnage, and Recovery/Conservation of Its Layers, shows that readable papyri are being extracted from cartonnage, as shown by the example at http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/rak/publics/papyri/pKraft/images/cartonnage/078-2w-scan.jpg .

March 30, 2010 – Hobby Lobby founder and CEO David Green discusses the Green Collection and the plans for a Museum of the Bible.  (At the time of the interview, Dallas was the planned location of the Museum of the Bible, but that has changed; it is being constructed in Washington, D.C.)  Codex Climaci Rescriptus, previously housed at Westminster College, Cambridge, is among the items in the collection.

Scott Carroll
November 6, 2010 – Scott Carroll, at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAnAKKJ7mCs , describes his philosophy of Christian scholarship.  The video includes footage of manuscripts and artifacts.

Codex Climaci Rescriptus (0250)
May 19, 2011 CBN reports (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4L_TP6O_Q4 ) about Scott Carroll, the rapid growth of the Green Collection, and plans for the Museum of the Bible.  The reporter states that the Green Collection already contains over 30,000 items.  Several collection-items are in view in the report, including a Dead Seas Scroll fragment, an illustrated Ethiopic codex, and Papyrus 37.  At about 2:55, pages of the Codex Climaci Rescriptus are featured.  Dr. Carroll describes it as the fifth-oldest near complete Bible in the world.  He also claims, “The handwriting betrays that it actually was copied from something in the 100’s.”

Summer 2011 Baylor Magazine describes “an unconventional research project” in which exterior mummy-coverings were “dissolved” and in which “More than 150 papyri texts” were extracted.  The report mentions that the Green Collection “provided the items for the study.”  The report names Scott Carroll as the “principal investigator” of the research; specialists involved in the research include David Kyle Jeffrey and Jeffrey Fish. 

Fall 2011 – In a newsletter of Baylor University, Scott Carroll’s work on manuscript-extraction from mummy cartonnage is described.  Jeff Fish was interviewed for the report:  “One day I received a call on the phone from Dr. Scott Carroll, who told me about a vast new collection of unedited papyri. . . . I have since found that Byron Johnson, director of Baylor’s Institute for the Study of Religion, was instrumental in getting Baylor involved with the Green Scholars Initiative.”

November 27, 2011 – Scott Carroll, known to be acquiring artifacts and manuscripts for the rapidly growing Green Collection, states on Twitter:  “Finished exhibit and lectures in West Africa with over 21,000 registered.  Now in Istanbul looking at a collection of unpublished papyri.”  Later the same day:  “My eyes feasted on classical texts, royal decrees, and Biblical and Gnostic texts; nearly 1,000 papyri hidden in this private treasure-trove.”

December 1, 2011 – Scott Carroll states on Twitter:  “For over 100 years the earliest known text of the New Testament has been the so-call John Rylands Papyrus. Not any more.”  [The John Rylands Papyrus to which he refers is P52.]  On Facebook, Carroll states:  “For over 100 years the earliest-known text of the NT has been the so-called John Rylands papyrus.  That is about to change with a sensational discover[y] I made yesterday.  Stay tuned for the update.”

February 1, 2012 – Daniel Wallace mentions the existence of “a fragment from Mark’s Gospel that is from the first century” during a debate with Bart Ehrman about the reliability of the New Testament text.  The debate is online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kg-dJA3SnTA&feature=youtu.be (uploaded to YouTube on February 13, 2012).  One hour and 13 minutes into the debate, Dr. Wallace mentions the existence of the first-century fragment of Mark: 

“In the last few months several very early fragments of the New Testament have been discovered.  These will be published by an international scholarly publishing house in a book one year from now. . . .  Among the finds was also a fragment of Luke that is from the early second century. . . .  The oldest manuscript of the New Testament is now a fragment from Mark’s Gospel that is from the first century. . . . How accurate is the dating?  Well, my source is a papyrologist who worked on this manuscript – a man whose reputation is unimpeachable.  Many consider him to be the best papyrologist on the planet.  His reputation is on the line with this dating, and he knows it, but he is certain that this manuscript was from the first century.”

February 15, 2012 – Ben Witherington III (New Testament professor at Asbury), after a lecture by Scott Carroll at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary – Charlotte, writes at his blog (at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/bibleandculture/2012/02/15/the-ripening-of-the-green-collection/ ), “ The brief lecture by Scott Carroll at GCTS Charlotte last Friday night highlighted some of the most exciting aspects of the Green Collection. It is possible that a very early copy of the Gospel of Mark in Greek, possibly the very earliest is a part of this collection. An epigrapher from Oxford has already prepared to say that it is a first century copy!”  (Witherington also notes, “Sadly it does not include Mark 16.”)

[It so happens that Dirk Obbink is a papyrologist who works at Oxford.  He has been working with Jerry Pattengale (who is currently the Green Scholars Initiative’s Executive Director of Education) as General Editor for the Brill Papyrus Series, in which, it is hoped, the first-century papyrus fragment will be published, along with the other early manuscripts Scott Carroll has described.]

Daniel Wallace
February 24, 2012 – Hugh Hewitt’s interview of Daniel Wallace is published at
http://www.hughhewitt.com/new-testment-scholar-daniel-wallace-on-the-gospel-of-mark-discovery-and-other-biblical-papyri-with-it/ .  Near the beginning of the interview, Wallace states:  “First of all, there is a fragment of Mark, and it’s a very small fragment, not too many verses, but it’s definitely from Mark.  
And the most amazing thing about this is that it’s from the first century.  We don’t have any other New Testament manuscripts that are written within the same century that the Gospels and the rest of the New Testament were written in.  This is the first. And it’s dated by one of the world’s leading paleographers, whose name I’m not allowed to reveal yet.”

Asked for an “absolute last date” when the newly discovered fragments will be published, Wallace states, “I have been told that a book should be out, a multi-author book, should be out early next year.  Now publishers sometimes take longer.  Scholars sometimes take longer.  So I’m not going to bet anything on that. But I’m pretty darned confident 2013 is going to be the year all of this is going to be published.” 

March 22, 2012Daniel Wallace posts the following at his blog:  “At my debate with Bart Ehrman (1 Feb 2012, held at UNC Chapel Hill) over whether we can recover the wording of the New Testament autographs, I made the announcement that a probable first-century fragment of Mark’s Gospel had been recently discovered. I noted that a world-class paleographer had dated this manuscript and that he was pretty darn sure that it belonged to the first century. All the details will be coming out in a multi-author book published by E. J. Brill sometime in 2013.”  And, “When the fragment is published along with six other early New Testament papyri (all from around the second century), the scholarly vetting will do its due diligence.”

April 6, 2012Bart Ehrman, at his blog, expresses some frustration about the secrecy surrounding the first-century papyrus fragment of  first-century papyrus of Mark:  “I don’t understand why there is so much secrecy about this “manuscript.” Why NOT tell us where it was found, who found it, how extensive it is, who has examined it, what his grounds for dating it were, whether his views have been independently corroborated?”   

 August 13, 2013 – Updates are made to the Bibliographical Test Update (which is accessible at 
Recto:  Mt. 6:33 Verso:  Mt. 7:4
https://s3.amazonaws.com/jmm.us/Bibliographical+Test+Update+-+08.13.14.pdf ).  Items are added to the list of Coptic New Testament manuscripts and Greek New Testament manuscripts.  Photos of some fragments are included; however, even though “The photos have been purposely obscured to protect copying of manuscripts before their publication,” some of them have a modicum of usefulness, such as a photo of a Coptic fragment containing text from Matthew 6:33 and 7:4.  Another photo shows a Coptic fragment with text from First John 2:21. 

Beginning on page 23 of the Bibliographical Test Update, there is a report of the contents of non-Biblical papyri from the second century B.C., extracted from a mummy-mask that is not the same mask that was featured in McDowell’s video.

Text:  First John 2:21
(from the Bibl. Test Update)
September 6, 2013 – A presentation given by Scott Carroll at the University of the Nations is uploaded to YouTube (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSUzWsuLpso 2013  UofN WS: S11 Dr. Scott Carroll).  In the course of this video, Carroll describes the process that was used to extract literary papyri from mummy cartonnage.  Things get interesting about 23 minutes into the video.  (At 25:04, bottles of Palmolive are visible in the background as a mummy-mask is being prepared for deconstruction in a sink.  This appears to be the same extraction-method that was presented by McDowell.)  Carroll makes the following statements:
Min. 28:  Carroll announces his discovery of the earliest known text of Romans, lost works of Sappho, and “tons of Homer.”
Min. 29:  Carroll describes the multi-spectral imaging technology that is being used to read the underwriting of Codex Cimaci Rescriptus.  Other subjects are also covered, such as the use of lasers to recover text by measuring the microscopic imprint of the stylus where no ink has survived on the page.
Min. 33:  Carroll mentions that a text of Euripides has been recovered.   
Min. 36:  Carroll mentions that he has (there in the room) the earliest text of Exodus 24.
Min. 37:  Carroll states that texts from “many of the Old Testament books,” have been discovered, “with New Testament books,” – “including a first-century text of the Gospel of Mark.  That will be the earliest text of the New Testament.”
Min. 38:  Carroll states, “We’re looking now at a text of Mark that dates between 70 and 110.  And there’s even something more important than that, that I’ve not even told David Hamilton.  And I’m not going to.”
Min. 39:  Carroll displays a Powerpoint-graphic with a list of manuscripts, including: 
            22.  Gospel of Mt c. 140
            23.  Mt 6 mid-2c
            24.  Gospel of Mark late 1c-early 2c
            25.  Gospel of Luke mid-2c
            26.  Gospel of Luke mid-to-late 2c
            27.  John 8 early-3c
            29.  Early 4c fragment of John 3 in Coptic
            30.  Acts 19 in Coptic
            31.  Romans early-3c.
The next slide includes:
            32.  Romans 14 early 4c papyrus in Coptic
            33.  I Corinthians 9 mid-2c
            35.  Codex quire of 2 Corinthians and Galatians 4c in Coptic
            36.  Ephesians 4 Coptic
            37.  Hebrews 9 early-3c
            38.  Hebrews 11 mid-2c (the earliest text of Hebrews)
            39.  2 Timothy 3 papyrus (only surviving evidence for the epistle)

In the course of describing these items and others, Carroll mentions the existence of an ancient fragment that is a portion of Matthew 27-28 and “The earliest text in the world of Luke 16,” “the earliest text of Timothy,” a manuscript containing Second Corinthians chapter 6 through Galatians 3 (which would necessarily be several pages long), “The earliest text in the world of Genesis 17,” and “The earliest text of Second Kings 9.”  Referring to a text of First Samuel, Carroll states, “This text came from a mummy mask,” and says that it was found along with a fragment of the Iliad.

Min. 51:  Carroll refers to a fragment of Matthew 12 which will be the second-earliest New Testament manuscript when it is published, to a fragment of Matthew and Luke “dating to around 150,” to the earliest surviving manuscript of Luke 2, “dating to around 140,” and to a fragment of Luke 12, “dating to before 200.”

Other items mentioned in Carroll’s description of the newly discovered manuscripts:  “The earliest text of Acts 19,” the “earliest text of Romans, found in a mummy mask,” “earliest of Romans 14,” and the “earliest copy of any of Paul’s writings – First Corinthians 9.”  He seems to say that last-mentioned item (a manuscript of First Corinthians 9) was produced in 140 to 160, and was found in a box.  [Therefore we ought to keep in mind that some of the new finds are not from mummy cartonnage!]

 March 24, 2014 – Josh McDowell, in a lecture (online at http://vimeo.com/62646535 ) given at Gracespring Bible Church, describes an experience at the Discover the Evidence seminar (which took place Dec. 5-6, 2013) at which a mummy-mask was deconstructed to obtain literary papyri that were among its component-parts. 
Josh McDowell
Beginning in the 26
th minute of the video, the deconstruction of the mummy-mask is clearly shown:  it is submerged in a sink at specific temperature-levels, a gentle detergent (Palmolive) is applied, the material is massaged, and then the layers of papyri are gently separated.  This results in the destruction of the artwork on the surface of the mask.  In the 28th minute of the video, McDowell mentions that “three classical scholars” were involved in the identification of texts derived via this method of papyrus-extraction.  (Footage of the mask-deconstruction and papyrus-extraction is at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_gwgGcpD1M .)
  
The Discover the Evidence seminar is described at http://www.josh.org/discover/ .  The webpage includes detailed bios of Scott Carroll (Ph.D., Miami UniversityOhio) and Josh McDowell (M.Div., Talbot Theological Seminary).

April 23, 2014 – [Unverified Data] Josh McDowell, in a lecture at Wheaton Bible Church, refers to some new manuscript-discoveries.  At about one hour and 12 minutes into the video (formerly at http://vimeo.com/92964208 but no longer available), according to a comment at a blog, McDowell stated that the text of the fragment is from the first chapter of the Gospel of Mark.  (This was reported by comment-contributor Jeff at the blog of Brice C. Jones on May 5, 2014, at http://www.bricecjones.com/blog/the-first-century-gospel-of-mark-josh-mcdowell-and-mummy-masks-what-they-all-have-in-common .)

May 5, 2014 – Tommy Wasserman, at the Evangelical Textual Criticism blog, using information from Brice C. Jones, posts photos of some of the manuscripts featured in Josh McDowell’s video.  One of the photos is of a fragment containing First Corinthians 10:1-6.  Peter Head (who currently is a scholar involved in the Green Scholars Initiative, according to the list at http://www.greenscholarsinitiative.org/scholars-staff  ) refers to McDowell’s “outlandish claims” and describes the process of papyri-extraction as “slapdash” and “deplorable.”  Wasserman (who is also currently a scholar involved in the Green Scholars initiative) concurs, briefly stating, “Slapdash is the word.”

May 7, 2014Paul Barford offers a collection of online articles and videos related to the papyrus manuscripts that have been obtained via extraction from mummy-cartonnage.  The heading:  “US Christian Apologist Fanatics Destroy Ancient Artefacts.”    

May 15, 2014 – Jerry Pattengale, in a video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLCNIZ3z_vk , describes the work of the Green Scholars Initiative, as well as plans for the opening of the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C. in 2017.  

September 13, 2014 – Dorothy King compares Josh McDowell to the Taliban in a blog-post at   
http://phdiva.blogspot.com/2014/09/i-come-to-bury-green-not-to-praise-him.html , stating, “If islamic fundamentalists destroy cultural property to propagate religious propaganda – whether it’s the Taliban or ISIS – we’re metaphorically up in arms.  Why do we treat Christian fundamentalists differently? Why do we make allowances for the Green Collection scholars destroying ancient Egyptian mummies?  If this ain’t religious discrimination, I don't know what is.” 

 November 7, 2014 – Michael Holmes, the compiler of the SBL-GNT, becomes the Executive Director of the Green Scholars Initiative.  

December 5, 2014 - Scott Carroll appears in a chapel-service at Dallas Theological Seminary (where Dan Wallace is a professor), online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htXrOgDahAQ , beginning at about 23 minutes into the video.  His title, in a caption in the video, is “Director, Manuscript Research Group, Grand Haven, MI.”

December 7, 2014 – Roberta Mazza, who has repeatedly expressed candid dismay about the operation of the Green Scholars Initiative’s research and manuscript-acquisitions on her blog, requests a presentation of “acquisition documents” for the mummy-mask that was the source of papyri depicted by Josh McDowell, in a blog-post at https://facesandvoices.wordpress.com/2014/12/07/josh-mcdowell-scott-carroll-and-the-green-collection/ .

January 9, 2015 – Dirk Obbink releases information on newly discovered texts of Sappho, including a statement that these particular fragments were not obtained from mummy cartonnage.  In his report (which includes photos), Obbink refers to the material as “industrial papyri,” and offers a guess that it existed as a book-binding.  [However, I note that his basis for this is that “none of the fragments showed any trace of gesso or paint prior to dissolving or after.”  It seems to me that this does not preclude an origin in mummy cartonnage; it only implies that the fragments were not from its outer layer or layers.]  He mentions that his fellow-researchers included Simon Burris and Jeffrey Fish.  [These may be the “three classical scholars” alluded to by Josh McDowell in his 2013 lecture.] 

Scheduled for 2017:  the opening of the Museum of the Bible.  The museum has a website at http://www.museumofthebible.org .  Passages, a traveling exhibit featuring items from the Green Collection, continues to draw public attention to the collection.  The current director of the museum’s collections is David Trobisch.  Dr. Trobisch is currently listed online as a Fellow of the Center for Inquiry at http://www.centerforinquiry.net/jesusproject/fellows/trobisch_david ; interestingly, the stated mission of the CFI, as stated at http://www.centerforinquiry.netabout , is “to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanistic values.”  [This seems very different from the candid Christian commitment that has been expressed by Dr. Carroll.  It also seems diametrically opposed to the priorities of the Green family.]  

[UPDATE:  July 14, 2017:  footage comes to light of a discussion between Josh McDowell and Scott Carroll, from November of 2015, in which Carroll confirms that Dirk Obbink is the papyrologist studying the manuscript, that he (Carroll) has seen the manuscript twice, that the Green Collection does not own the manuscript, and that Obbink has assigned a tentative production-date for it between A.D. 70 and 120.]


____________________


That about covers it.  We are still awaiting the publication of the first-century papyrus of the Gospel of Mark; I expect that it will be published by Dirk Obbink (perhaps along with Jeffrey Fish) in late 2015 or 2016, and that it will turn out to be a small fragment with text from Mark chapter one.  It is very possible that some of the other fragments to be published in the same series, which is expected to be prohibitively expensive, will turn out to make a much more significant text-critical contribution than the Mark fragment.  (Note to the GSI and Brill:  affordable digital copies would be a nice compensation for making everyone wait so long!) 




18 comments:

James E. Snapp, Jr. said...

The saga continues. Roberta Mazza, on Jan. 25, 2015, described McDowell and Carroll as follows:

"People like Josh McDowell and Scott Carroll are a threat not only for the damages they have procured to cultural heritage patrimony, but also for their misuse of ancient manuscripts in public discourses on the Bible. Their faith must be very weak if they need scraps of papyrus in order to prove the value of the Scriptures."
(from https://facesandvoices.wordpress.com/2015/01/25/destroying-mummy-masks-since-we-own-its-ok-maybe-not/ .)

I think she's missing a few points:

First, the mummy-masks had already told us everything they were going to tell us as mummy-masks.

Second, the value of written papyri from the 100's or early 200's is greater than the value of masks, in terms of their literary contributions.

Third, since we are dealing with artifacts (the masks) made out of other artifacts (the manuscripts), one could say that Carroll, by deconstructing the masks, was recovering otherwise lost artifacts that are earlier than the ones being deconstructed. Granting that it would be better not to destroy anything at all, isn't the net gain of materials worth it, like when one has to break an ancient lock to open an ancient treasure-chest?

Fourth, Carroll was not establishing his faith via his research. He has explained this plainly and openly. Instead, his research overlaps his faith, informs it, and in some cases confirms it. Whatever is the problem with that? Does Mazza just have a problem with Christians having their faith confirmed/informed by research? Why do I get the feeling that some folks feel threatened by the prospect that Christian apologists will be equipped by new discoveries?

Drastic Plastic said...

It is incredibly annoying to have people start shrieking religious insults as Barford etc have done. That does not help; and indeed raises suspicions that religious animosity underlies the criticism.

Darrell said...

If is true that Brill will publish the book, then we can see from their list of forthcoming volumes that there is nothing released for new NT papyri through January 2016

http://www.brill.com/search/availability/forthcoming-title

James E. Snapp, Jr. said...

Perhaps publication is planned to happen at the same time as the opening of the Museum of the Bible in 2017.

Darrell said...

James, you seem to have missed an entry in your chronology, as on May 6, 2014 Dan Wallace spoke again on his blog regarding the McDowell event. Wallace seems to distance himself a little.

http://danielbwallace.com/2014/05/06/josh-mcdowells-discover-the-evidence/

Darrell said...

You could also include this recent blog post...

http://michaelwholmes.com/posts-and-comments-2/

...where Michael Holmes comments and mentions "it" (presumably the FCM.)

Darrell said...

and the absolute last mention I can find from Dr. Wallace is a December 22, 2014 reply found here:

http://danielbwallace.com/2012/03/22/first-century-fragment-of-marks-gospel-found/#comments

...where he says "Unfortunately, I’m not allowed to speak about the publication date.'

James E. Snapp, Jr. said...

Darrell,
Thanks for these additions. I didn't want the timeline to get cluttered with an overload of information, and thus did not list every single thing that could be included in an exhaustive list of blog-posts and so forth.

Peter M. Head said...

Thanks for this helpful collection

Roberta Mazza said...

Thank you for this extremely helpful timeline. The idea I may feel threatened by apologists – Josh McDowell in particular: I mean, have you seen his performances? Seriously…– made me really laugh, loudly. The only threat is the amount of ignorance they are promoting for desperately keep people in their churches and making some money out of it. Do you really need a piece of papyrus to be sure that Jesus, the son of God, was in this world and made what he did? I don't. You, as McDowell and others, must be in serious troubles.
Your attitude towards texts versus other artefacts reflects your fear for anything different from you and your own culture. You are looking only for one little thing, your canon of texts, missing all the world surrounding those texts. By the way, you're missing a lot, there is an entire world of different cultures, different artefacts, different religions, different texts outside the cage you live in. A pity for you to miss all this otherness, towards which you are exercising also a form of subtle violence. Who is entitled to decide what comes first, you or let's say the Egyptologist interested in other aspects of that artefact? I bet your answer is that you have that right because in your world, you come first.
I go back laughing now, it's too entertaining. Roberta Mazza

James E. Snapp, Jr. said...

Roberta Mazza,
Thank you for interacting here.

I see the situation sort of like this: some folks find a locked treasure-chest, purchase it, and, thinking it might be full of gold coins, break the lock and open the chest. The curator for the Museum of Ancient Locks shows up and says, "You shouldn't have destroyed that lock. That was irresponsible. Yes, it was like a lot of other locks, but nevertheless it was a valuable artifact."

The response: "We know it's valuable, because we paid a lot for it. But we think the gold coins are more valuable. We're not locksmiths, and the easiest way to get to the coins was to break the lock. So we did."

Now, I reckon that in that analogy, a reasonable Curator of Ancient Locks would sigh and say, "Well, it is a pity about the lock. But I see your point. That's a lot of gold coins." If, instead, the Curator of Ancient Locks responded, "Who are you to say that the lock is not as valuable?" and goes on and on about how the treasure-hunters must be desperate beggars on the brink of starvation to consider it worthwhile to break a lock to get to gold coins, I would conclude that the Curator has a downright unwholesome attachment to ancient locks, or else that the Curator resents the notion of the treasure-hunters becoming wealthy.

RM: "The only threat is the amount of ignorance they are promoting for desperately keep people in their churches and making some money out of it."

Whatever shortcomings are in McDowell's video-presentations, I think the quirks and inaccuracies will get sorted out. They do not diminish the importance of the finds.

RM: "Do you really need a piece of papyrus to be sure that Jesus, the son of God, was in this world and made what he did?"

Of course not. Do you really need that mummy-mask to be intact to believe that ancient Egypt existed?

RM: "You, as McDowell and others, must be in serious troubles."

Rather, while I don't *need* additional empirical evidence to maintain my beliefs, if significant additional evidence is obtainable, at the cost of a mummy-mask, let's have it!

RM: "Your attitude towards texts versus other artefacts reflects your fear for anything different from you and your own culture."

No it does not. You might not realize this, but such an accusation sounds like silly extremist rhetoric. If the mummy cartonnage had contained, say, a fragment of Pindar, I would be saying the same thing: that was worth losing a mummy-mask.

RM: "There is an entire world . . . outside the cage you live in."

. . . And that didn't sound like something an elitist snob would say at all.

RM: . . . towards which you are exercising also a form of subtle violence."

Horsefeathers. Insisting that it is acceptable to destroy one artifact in order to obtain one that is more valuable is not an act of violence. Ideally both would be conserved, but the world is not ideal.

RM: "Who is entitled to decide what comes first, you or let's say the Egyptologist interested in other aspects of that artefact?"

Neither; the legal owner is entitled to do as he pleases with his own property.

Now then, in the interest of transparency: are you a Christian?

Hugh McCann said...

Per Ms Mazza & Mr Snapp,

But why the need to trash a perfectly good mask for a bit of what we already have (or don't need!)?

I certainly see James' point about ownership and the mask not being as important as God's word, but I also agree with Roberta that this seems unnecessarily destructive of an artifact. What exactly is being gained thereby?

How could such scraps "inform," much less, "confirm" one's faith?

Thanks,
Hugh

The White Man said...

Grand Haven is suspiciously close to where Robert Van Kampen lives, his basement having been the former home of the Van Kampen collection of biblical manuscripts.

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Charles May said...

Per Hugh McCann; (How could such scraps "inform," much less, "confirm" one's faith?)

For me it is more of finding that “Dead Sea Scrolls” moment for the New Testament.

Let’s say they find Mark 16:9 or they don’t, that would tend to consign a large amount of printed matter into the waste bin.

On reflection this does seem to have a parallel to the DSS as it was more than 20 years that all information was close hold until the 1970’s when the restrictive dam finally broke. Hopefully the Mummy Mask Papyri (MMP) does not take that long this time around!

Thomas Overmiller said...

Have the 1st-century Mark document(s) been released to the public yet?

Daniel Buck said...

Thomas,
This is what textual critic Larry Hurtado posted yesterday to his blog:
Brent [Nogbri] refers also to the claim that surfaced a few years ago that a “first-century” fragment of the Gospel of Mark had been acquired by the Green family project. I posted about this a couple of years ago here. Things haven’t changed since then: (1) No such papyrus fragment of Mark has been produced; (2) my limited inside-information is that none is likely to be produced, and that the earlier claim was not based on any competent analysis; so (3) the alleged “first-century” fragment of Mark is the papyrological equivalent of an urban myth.

Thomas Overmiller said...

Thank you, Daniel, for the status update and helpful clarification! If what you say is true, its a bit disappointing. I was looking forward to seeing the "first-century" fragment!