Earliest papyri nt dating
Not all books of the New Testament are equally well-represented in our manuscripts, especially early on.There are several early papyri of Matthew and John, but before this new fragment was published, there was only one existing copy of Mark’s gospel produced before the 300s.Finally, a first-century manuscript of Mark would be the earliest manuscript of the New Testament to survive from antiquity, written within 40 years of when the Holy Spirit inspired the original through the pen of the evangelist himself.Needless to say, a first-century fragment of Mark was a bombshell.Its date range makes it likely the earliest copy of Mark’s gospel.
He later signed a non-disclosure agreement and was bound to silence until the Mark fragment was published.In late 2011, manuscript scholar Scott Carroll—then working for what would become the Museum of the Bible in Washington D.C.—tweeted the tantalizing announcement that the earliest-known manuscript of the New Testament was no longer the second-century John Rylands papyrus (P52). Wallace, senior research professor of New Testament at Dallas Theological Seminary, seemed to confirm Carroll’s statement. Ehrman, Wallace reported that a fragment of Mark’s gospel, dated to the first century, had been discovered.As a general rule, earlier manuscripts get us closer to the original text than later manuscripts because there are assumed to be fewer copies between them and the autographs (the original copies of the NT writings, most likely lost to history).Naturally, this news of a first-century copy of Mark generated a great deal of interest.