More Info on the Discovery of the 1st Century MSS Fragment of Mark

Recently, Dr. Dan Wallace made news about the discovery of what is possibly the earliest NT MSS fragment ever found. I gave details on the find here. [And we reported on that here at this blog, too.]

Well, Dr. Wallace was recently interviewed by Hugh Hewitt on his radio show about the discovery and gave additional details. We now know the MSS contains part of one papyrus leaf, written on both sides. From the sound of it, it is most of one leaf so several verses but not much more. It was also found in Egypt — all seven of these MSS finds were found there. Dr. Wallace will also be on of the authors of the book that will publish all seven papyri fragments in early 2013.

Wallace continues to consider this a truly monumental manuscript find, as the following snippet from the full interview makes clear:

HH: Wow. Now in terms of, for the lay audience, Professor Daniel Wallace, the significance of this work when it appears, how would you grade it, with an A being a Dead Sea Scroll sort of significance, and you know, flunking, it just doesn’t matter?

DW: I would grade it at least an A, maybe an A+.

HH: And will the rest of the scholarly world agree with you on that assessment, do you think?

DW: I think that when they understand the ramifications of the entire nature of this manuscript that I’m not at liberty to mention, yes. They’re going to understand. At least those that will accept that date. Since the manuscript doesn’t have a date stamp on it, it says it was done this year, there are always going to be dissenters. But to do the work of paleography takes thousands and thousands of hours of research to do one.

I’m not sure the discovery will prove to be the equal of the Dead Sea Scrolls, but I’m cautiously optimistic that it will prove to be very consequential.

I also got an update from Matthew Hamilton who I quoted in my earlier post on this. From his information and that of Wallace from this interview, the following looks to be the list of the 7 manuscripts. Many of these would be the earliest textual witness we have of that Biblical book, if the dates hold true.

  1. 2nd century homily (sermon) on Hebrews 11
  2. 2nd century frg. with I Corinthians 8-10
  3. 2nd century frg. with Matthew
  4. 2nd century frg. with Romans 9-10
  5. 2nd century frg. from Hebrews, one side contains 9:19-22
  6. 2nd century frg. with Luke
  7. 1st century frg. [part of one leaf] with Mark

For more details read the entire transcript of the Hewitt – Wallace interview, and keep an eye on the Evangelical Textual Criticism blog.

~cross posted from my personal blog,


3 thoughts on “More Info on the Discovery of the 1st Century MSS Fragment of Mark

  1. Nazaroo July 15, 2012 / 10:27 am

    Seriously, was that photo supposed to be the actual early fragment of Mark? or was it just a fun filler/eye-candy teaser?
    And why if recently discovered, can’t we see real hi-res pics?
    Do we really have to wait and buy another $300 book from “Evangelical Textual Criticism”? Their last offering, at 90 British pounds (for a paperback!?!?) was a ridiculous enough price to boycott.
    Even Museums and University libraries don’t have the kind of deep pockets we saw in the early 80s.
    Please, people, price paperbacks accordingly:
    With Online ‘print-as-they-are-ordered’ publishing,
    we don’t need the absurd prices previously justifiable
    due to high printing costs and low volumes.
    The printing industry was revolutionized by computer decades ago.

    $50-80 max for a book is reasonable. Book pricing isn’t based on “recouping research costs” or “recouping printing costs” anymore.
    This is just gouging, built upon mythology.
    Scholars are subsidized heavily by University budgets,
    and at the same time make truckloads of money compared to ordinary readers.

    Get real ivory-tower people.
    Book buyers aren’t going to take it.


  2. Cicero Ril July 24, 2012 / 1:48 am

    “ramifications of the entire nature of this manuscript that I’m not at liberty to mention”? Aren’t we being a teeny tad sensationalist here? Or is this just marketing…

  3. Eric Shierman January 13, 2014 / 12:06 pm

    Well “early 2013” came and went. A year after the promised publication date can we get some kind of update? Was this just a hoax? Was it submitted for peer review and found wanting? Why such secrecy? If its significance lives up to its hype, isn’t open academic transparency called for?

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