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A First-Century Fragment of Mark’s Gospel?

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While perusing Article VI blog this afternoon, I noted the headline suggesting a new discovery of a fragment of the Gospel of Mark from the first century A.D.

Early in my broadcast career I interviewed Robert Funk, founder of the Jesus Seminar which was for a time considered an interesting and important revisionist project which purported to sort the Gospels into reliable v. unreliable categories. Preparation for that interview and then for the work on Searching for God in America, my mid-90s series for PBS, led me to the scholars who had rather quickly discredited the Seminar, including my friend Dr. Mark D. Roberts. Roberts’ work “Can We Trust The Gospels” is a wonderful example of accessible yet very scholarly apologetics which demolishes the pseudo-science of the Seminar and similar undertakings.

This background and friendship equipped me with a fairly well-developed radar for a layman when it comes to stories about manuscript evidence for the reliability of the Gospel accounts of the life of Christ. If true, this alleged discovery is one of those stories that will reverberate through the world of New Testament scholars very quickly and then into the popular culture soon thereafter.

I look forward to reading Mark’s assessment of this story, as well as that of Dr. Wayne Grudem and Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. and other serious scholars of the New Testament, and wonder if MSM quite understands the ordinary American’s interest in such a development which, while unnecessary to faith, would be yet another piece of evidence about the accuracy of the accounts on which so many base their lives.

I hope the estimable Mr. Dalrymple will organize a quick symposium on the subject over at Patheos.com. Given the controversies surrounding the long time it took for the Dead Sea Scrolls to reach the public, I am particularly interested in what the scholarly community thinks of sitting on the details of such a discovery if it in fact exists? At first glance, it seems almost unconscionable to withhold such a discovery from a community that would be so impacted by new evidence.

And if you missed it, Tim D. has the most unique stuff on Jeremy Lin going.

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