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Thread: 1st Century Fragment of Mark

  1. #11
    Must...have...caffeine One Bad Pig's Avatar
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    He signed a confidentiality agreement covering that and the several other early fragments found, so he can't talk about it until the publisher gives the okay (presumably when the book is published).
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  2. #12
    tWebber shunyadragon's Avatar
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    When the publication finally comes out I will predict that it is likely a fragment of Q or possibly Mark if it is legite. The dating will likely be the problematic issue, and the possibilities would be between 50 AD and 150 AD. My biggest question would what is the provenance of this fragment or fragments. Usually if it is from a legitimate archeological source the discovery of the fragments are publicized as they were found, and then researched, and published. Other sources like under the table black market is highly questionable and suspect. The track record of such discovers have a bad track record.
    Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
    Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
    But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

    go with the flow the river knows . . .

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  3. #13
    tWebber robrecht's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shunyadragon View Post
    When the publication finally comes out I will predict that it is likely a fragment of Q or possibly Mark if it is legite. The dating will likely be the problematic issue, and the possibilities would be between 50 AD and 150 AD. My biggest question would what is the provenance of this fragment or fragments. Usually if it is from a legitimate archeological source the discovery of the fragments are publicized as they were found, and then researched, and published. Other sources like under the table black market is highly questionable and suspect. The track record of such discovers have a bad track record.
    The dating is already problematic, no need for a prediction about that. But, I'm curious why you think it might be a fragment from Q? That seems most unlikely.
    βλέπομεν γὰρ ἄρτι δι᾿ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι, τότε δὲ πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον·
    ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους, τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην.

    אָכֵ֕ן אַתָּ֖ה אֵ֣ל מִסְתַּתֵּ֑ר אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מוֹשִֽׁיעַ׃

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    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by shunyadragon View Post
    When the publication finally comes out I will predict that it is likely a fragment of Q or possibly Mark if it is legite. The dating will likely be the problematic issue, and the possibilities would be between 50 AD and 150 AD. My biggest question would what is the provenance of this fragment or fragments. Usually if it is from a legitimate archeological source the discovery of the fragments are publicized as they were found, and then researched, and published. Other sources like under the table black market is highly questionable and suspect. The track record of such discovers have a bad track record.
    I attended a talk by Dan Wallace two days ago in Palo Alto. I asked him about this before the talk; he said that because of the confidentiality agreement he could say nothing about it. He did not mention it during the talk. Then during the Q&A, the first question was on this fragment. Dan Wallace briefly summarized what he had said in the debate with Bart Ehrman, and said that he could say no more because of signing the confidentiality agreement. But he suggested that folks don't usually sign confidentiality agreements unless something is pretty important (so far as I know, folks in this field usually don't sign confidentiality agreements at all).

    I had a brief talk with him about dating such things. Paleography is probably the best method at the moment. Radiocarbon on a small fragment of the document would get us error-bars of 50-100 years, but could be misleading since the ancients often reused their writing substrates. Dan Wallace mentioned the newer "non-destructive" radiocarbon method being worked on at Texas A&M. This would potentially be a nice way to date the ink itself, but the method is not yet very well developed, and does not seem to be much further along than when I first heard of it about 20 years ago. (it uses a plasma to pull off carbon particles from the surface. It was originally being looked at for cave paintings, but perhaps could be applied to writing. All sorts of issues would have to be addressed, such as how to discriminate against surface contamination, how to discriminate between ink and paper/papyrus, fractionation issues, etc.)

  5. #15
    tWebber shunyadragon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robrecht View Post
    The dating is already problematic, no need for a prediction about that. But, I'm curious why you think it might be a fragment from Q? That seems most unlikely.
    Not unlikely, the early gospels were unauthored, and the hypothetical Q was earlier then the other gospels.
    Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
    Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
    But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

    go with the flow the river knows . . .

    Frank

    I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

  6. #16
    tWebber shunyadragon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kbertsche View Post
    I attended a talk by Dan Wallace two days ago in Palo Alto. I asked him about this before the talk; he said that because of the confidentiality agreement he could say nothing about it. He did not mention it during the talk. Then during the Q&A, the first question was on this fragment. Dan Wallace briefly summarized what he had said in the debate with Bart Ehrman, and said that he could say no more because of signing the confidentiality agreement. But he suggested that folks don't usually sign confidentiality agreements unless something is pretty important (so far as I know, folks in this field usually don't sign confidentiality agreements at all).

    I had a brief talk with him about dating such things. Paleography is probably the best method at the moment. Radiocarbon on a small fragment of the document would get us error-bars of 50-100 years, but could be misleading since the ancients often reused their writing substrates. Dan Wallace mentioned the newer "non-destructive" radiocarbon method being worked on at Texas A&M. This would potentially be a nice way to date the ink itself, but the method is not yet very well developed, and does not seem to be much further along than when I first heard of it about 20 years ago. (it uses a plasma to pull off carbon particles from the surface. It was originally being looked at for cave paintings, but perhaps could be applied to writing. All sorts of issues would have to be addressed, such as how to discriminate against surface contamination, how to discriminate between ink and paper/papyrus, fractionation issues, etc.)
    The reason I give for my range is that there is a range in both carbon dating and paleography have ranges in dating. If you reach to the bottom of this range to justify a date, there will be academic skepticism. I believe this is the controversial issue that will be razed when it is released in publication. I also believe provenance is an issue for documents revealed in the vacuum of secrecy.
    Last edited by shunyadragon; 01-29-2014 at 06:44 PM.
    Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
    Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
    But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

    go with the flow the river knows . . .

    Frank

    I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

  7. #17
    tWebber robrecht's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shunyadragon View Post
    Not unlikely, the early gospels were unauthored, and the hypothetical Q was earlier then the other gospels.
    Earlier and did not survive as a separate document long enough to be noticed by anyone, as far as we know, but 'Matthew' & 'Luke' (if the hypothetical document did indeed exist) and maybe Papias. All of those factors millitate against this being the find, but not as much as the fact that it has already been announced as a fragment of Mark's text, which is not a very likely mistake.
    Last edited by robrecht; 01-29-2014 at 06:59 PM.
    βλέπομεν γὰρ ἄρτι δι᾿ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι, τότε δὲ πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον·
    ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους, τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην.

    אָכֵ֕ן אַתָּ֖ה אֵ֣ל מִסְתַּתֵּ֑ר אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מוֹשִֽׁיעַ׃

  8. #18
    tWebber shunyadragon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robrecht View Post
    Earlier and did not survive as a separate document long enough to be noticed by anyone, as far as we know, but 'Matthew' & 'Luke' (if the hypothetical document did indeed exist) and maybe Papias. All of those factors millitate against this being the find, but not as much as the fact that it has already been announced as a fragment of Mark's text, which is not a very likely mistake.
    Unless it includes the name, it is likely that conclusion is hypothetical. Noticed by anyone? We do not have early authored documents to notice.
    Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
    Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
    But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

    go with the flow the river knows . . .

    Frank

    I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

  9. #19
    tWebber robrecht's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shunyadragon View Post
    Unless it includes the name, it is likely that conclusion is hypothetical. Noticed by anyone? We do not have early authored documents to notice.
    It is a really easy determination. One merely reads the text to see if it agrees with any existing texts and variants. There is sometimes so much literal agreement between two gospels in a particular passage that a very small text fragment could belong possibly to a couple of different gospels. And occasionally there is a text that is so different that one might posulate a very free rendering or another unknown literary work is postulated. I can only think of a couple of cases where such an identification could not be agreed upon. But the fact that it has already been identified as Mark makes such speculation very unlikely.

    I am not speaking of authored documents, just Wirkungsgeschicte of Q. Basically, who is it quoted by? In our known literature, Q, if it existed at all, is only quoted by 'Matthew' and 'Luke' and it is possibly referred to by Papias, but not directly quoted.
    Last edited by robrecht; 01-29-2014 at 08:20 PM.
    βλέπομεν γὰρ ἄρτι δι᾿ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι, τότε δὲ πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον·
    ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους, τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην.

    אָכֵ֕ן אַתָּ֖ה אֵ֣ל מִסְתַּתֵּ֑ר אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מוֹשִֽׁיעַ׃

  10. #20
    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by shunyadragon View Post
    Unless it includes the name, it is likely that conclusion is hypothetical. Noticed by anyone? We do not have early authored documents to notice.
    If the text contains a long enough phrase that matches only with extant copies of Mark, it's almost certain to be from Mark. And if it's from Mark, it's not from Q, by definition of Q.
    Last edited by Kbertsche; 01-29-2014 at 08:19 PM.

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