2015-01-24

A Papyrologist On the Reported Discovery of the 1st Century Gospel of Mark Fragment

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by Neil Godfrey

If you are frustrated by Bart Ehrman hiding behind a paywall the views of the only expert in papyrology he has found to comment on the current Gospel of Mark fragment controversy behind his blog’s paywall (An Expert Talks About Mummy Masks and Papyri) I suggest we turn to that expert’s own updated blog page:

Mummy masks, papyri and the Gospel of Mark

Screen Shot 2015-01-24 at 10.29.48 am

https://facesandvoices.wordpress.com/

I am not sure now but I think this page was linked from one of the sites I posted here a few days ago.

Roberta Mazza‘s expertise is spelled out at http://robertamazza.com/ 

Before looking at her latest remarks here is a snippet from something she posted in November last year on the discovery (my formatting and emphasis):

I should report on the resurfacing of the sadly famous papyrus fragment of the Gospel of Mark from mummy mask cartonnage. . . . [N]obody answers questions with any clarity. (Sometimes I feel I am talking to members of a gnostic sect rather than Protestant scholars…).

. . .  I wrote emails to Wallace . . . Dan Wallace has always kindly answered to my emails, but without adding details because, he says, “ I have signed a nondisclosure agreement about the Mark fragment”. Craig Evans’ talk took place at the 2014 Apologetics Canada Conference (7-8 March, Vancouver).

It is clear that papyri have officially entered into the rhetoric of apologists as the means through which they sell the idea that we can recover the original texts of the Gospels.

These people are not doing any good service to the public and to our cultural heritage patrimony. The audience who attend their talks are told fantasy stories on the retrieval of papyrus fragments and their date, and on the quest for Christian original texts; apologists’ speeches are not only misinformed, but can even encourage more people to buy mummy masks on the antiquities market and dissolve them in Palmolive soap – a method suggested publicly by one of them, Josh McDowell, close friend of the ex-director of the Green Collection, Scott Carroll. All this said, I must confess this pseudo-scholarship is procuring me endless, astonished entertainment…

From her most recent post (emphasis original):

Of course we would be very excited to learn that there is a massive shift in the current state of research, but without access to the evidence of this shift (images, data and publications) it is impossible to comment if this is really happening or not. These are not conditions in which a serious public debate on the topic can take place. These are perfect conditions, however, for the flourishing of ignorance and propaganda as a consequence.

The full post is at Mummy masks, papyri and the Gospel of Mark — I doubt there would be much more to learn from her comments for Bart Ehrman.

 

2 Comments

  • Reader
    2015-01-24 02:16:01 UTC - 02:16 | Permalink

    She is shooting from the hips ala Neil and Tim!

  • C.J. O'Brien
    2015-01-24 02:34:03 UTC - 02:34 | Permalink

    I’m glad you linked to it. I followed the link from one of the other blogs you cited the other day and thought it was excellent, the clearest and most impassioned analysis I’ve read of what seems to be a sorry spectacle.

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