Friday, May 17, 2019

First Century Mark: Better Pictures

            Several months have passed since the publication of the small papyrus fragment that was called “First-Century Mark” prior to its release.  This small two-sided fragment, which contains text from Mark 1:7-9 and Mark 1:18-19, is now regarded as the remains of a codex which was produced in the late 100s or early 200s, which would imply that it is about as old as Papyrus 45.
            Shortly after the official publication of the-fragment-formerly-known-as-First-Century-Mark (a.k.a. P. Oxy 5345), the Egypt Exploration Society kindly released their analysis of the fragment’s text, including images of the fragment.   Recently, it came to my attention that other images of the fragment have been online for a while:  almost a year ago (on June 6, 2018, to be precise), Eternity News published a news article by Kaley Payne, reporting about John Dickson’s encounter with the fragment.  This report included two photographs of the fragment.
            Almost a year has gone by, and it seems that no one has objected to the publication of the photographs in Eternity News.  When P. Oxy 5345 was initially published, there seemed to be some protectiveness about the EES’ images.  But since the photographs at the Eternity News website are distinct from the EES’ black-and-white plates, and since it seems that the EES’ own pictures are unlikely to lose their usefulness, I went through the effort of digitally enhancing the images in the Eternity News report for those who might want full-color images of the manuscript.  The pictures on which these digitally enhanced images are based remain online at the Eternity News website.
            The result is shown here; in the second picture, the contrast has been digitally altered so as to show the text a little more clearly.

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