On Wednesday, February 1, 2012, I debated Bart Ehrman on his home turf at UNC Chapel Hill. The topic: Is the original New Testament lost? The format was a 30-minute opener from each of us (Bart, then me), followed by two rounds of 5-minute responses to the other man. Then, questions from the floor and, finally, a one-minute closing statementfrom each of us. Miles O’Neill was the moderator and the debate was sponsored by the Ehrman Project, which Miles heads up. Over 1000 people were in attendance.

Bart Ehrman is well known as a superb debater. He was on a national championship debate team in high school and has been debating ever since. This was my fifth everdebate—three now with Bart. I still have a lot to learn about debate technique. But in all three of my debates with Bart I recognized that they would either be recorded or turned into a book (the first one is now available as The Reliability of the New Testament: A Dialogue between Bart D. Ehrman and Daniel B. Wallace (Fortress Press, 2011). The second debate—the largest such debate in history with over 1400 people in attendance—was professionally filmed and edited and is available at www.csntm.org as a DVD for a modest priceI was as concerned for those who would be able to study the arguments in some detail as I was for those who attended each debate. Therefore, I geared my responses to those who would study these issues later on.

Andreas Köstenberger, an erudite professor at Southeastern Baptist Seminary, attended the debate and wrote up a review of it. You can access that here. Köstenberger offered a critique more on me than on the debate, and on the debate tactics of each of us more than on the substance of what was said. My response to him has been posted as a comment on his blogpost.

For P&P readers, I would like to summarize the debate from my perspective. If you attended the debate, your comments are especially welcome (but of course so arecomments by others!).

Bart’s opener focused on three questions:

  1. What do we mean by original text?
  2. Where are all the early manuscripts?
  3. Why do scholars disagree so much about the wording of the original New Testament?

He answered the first by arguing that several NT books were composite works and that it’s impossible for us to get back to the original wording of those books. His examples included 2 Corinthians, John, Acts, Mark, and Luke. Among other things, he argued thatall critical scholars recognize that 2 Corinthians was never sent out by Paul in that form, that it was originally two different letters that Paul wrote which were later fused together. But this is not true: not all critical scholars believe this (e.g., Raymond Brown argues against it, as do Carson & Moo, Ellis, Guthrie, and a host of others). Regarding John’s Gospel, Bart said that chapter 21 was added later. I argued that this is by no means a settled belief, and that a doctoral student at Dallas Seminary, Charles Cummings, is writing his dissertation on this very topic. We also discussed Mark’s Gospel, which Bart claimed has a lost original ending. He was presupposing that the text after Mark 16.8 was lost and that scribes filled it in with what they could. I agree that later scribes added to the Gospel (there are multiple endings), but that the last leaf was almost surely not lost. The reason is that Mark almost surely wrote on a scroll rather than a codex (the modern book-form with binding on one side and individual pages). The codex form was invented late in the first century, but the best scholars on the codex-form, T. C. Skeat and C. H. Roberts, in their book The Birth of the Codex, argued that Mark’s Gospel was written on a scroll. If on a scroll, then the last leaf would be the most protected. I believe that Mark intended to conclude his Gospel at 16.8, as do most scholars of the last fifty yearsBart was overstating his case.

This first question really addresses composition criticism rather than textual criticism. It struck me that Bart was using this tactic as a way to win the debate, simultaneously detouring us from the real discussion. Yet even a scholar the stature of Kurt Aland, unquestionably the finest German textual critic of the last sixty years, said that there is zero evidence in the manuscripts for such compositions and that all the variants that ever came down the pike are still to be found in the existing manuscripts. Bart did not respond to this point.

He answered the second question by saying that we really don’t have any early manuscriptsBut this again is a huge overstatement. We have as many as eighteen second-century manuscripts (six of which were recently discovered and not yet catalogued) and a first-century manuscript of Mark’s Gospel! Altogether, more than 43% of the 8000 or so verses in the NT are found in these papyri. Bart had explicitly said that our earliest copy of Mark was from c. 200 CE, but this is now incorrect. It’s from the first century. I mentioned these new manuscript finds and told the audience that a book will be published by E. J. Brill in about a year that gives all the data. (In the Q & A, Bart questioned the validity of the first-century Mark fragment. I noted that a world-class paleographer, whose qualifications are unimpeachable, was my source. Bart said that even so, we don’t have thousands of manuscripts from the first century! That kind of skepticism is incomprehensible to me.)

Further, in comparison with other ancient literature, the NT has far more early copies than any other work. In the first two hundred years after the composition of the NT thereexist today well over sixty manuscripts. That’s three times the amount of manuscripts that exist for the average classical author in two thousand years.

He answered his third question by claiming that scholars have done all they can but still can’t come to agreement over the wording of the original text. Again, this is not true. Bart had acknowledged that we don’t know the exact number of variants yet because we haven’t examined all the manuscripts in detail yet. We also don’t know the exact number of Latin, Coptic, and Syriac manuscripts (our earliest and most important translations of the NT), let alone what they all say in detail. Bart further argued that a Greek NT that came out in 2005 which claimed to have the original wording differs from other texts in over 6000 places. This is true, but he was not telling the whole story: That text is one that both Bart and I would seriously disagree with, as would most textual critics and NT scholars. It is the majority text, which is based on Greek manuscripts that for much of the NT are only from the ninth century and later. I also pointed out that Ehrman and Metzger would only disagree in about two dozen places as to what the original text said. And Metzger represents pretty much the standard view today among NT scholars.

In my opener, I raised four questions:

  1. How many textual variants are there?
  2. What is the nature of the variants?
  3. What theological beliefs depend on variants?
  4. Is the original NT lost?

On the first question, I agreed with Bart that we have a huge number of variants—my estimate is about 400,000. But we have a lot of variants because we have a lot of manuscripts: over 20,000 in various languages, and about one million quotations of the NT from the church fathers, reaching back as early as the first century. And these thousands of manuscripts come from all over the Mediterranean region, showing that noearly conspiracy to conform the manuscripts to one text-form existed. I also made comparisons with other Greco-Roman literature, noting that we have on average 1000 times more manuscripts of the NT than we do for the average classical author. If Bart was going to be skeptical about the NT manuscripts, that skepticism would have to be multiplied a thousand-fold for the average classical author. If scholars actually did this, we would immediately go back into the Dark Ages.

On the second question, I noted that the vast majority of variants can’t even be translated and that less than one percent of all variants are meaningful and have a decent chance of reflecting the original wording.

On the third question, I quoted from Bart’s Misquoting Jesus, where he says that no essential Christian belief is affected by any of these variants. This is the most crucial point for most Christians and it was an important point to make, even though it was technically not within the purview of the debate topic.

On the fourth, I gave five reasons why we can be relatively confident that we have the wording of the originals somewhere in the manuscripts today:

(1) If the early MSS exhibit wild copying practices, then we are in an excellent position for recovering the original since there was no conspiracy to make just one kind of text. Further, those that were carefully produced in Alexandria reveal a careful copying process that reaches back to the earliest times. I illustrated this with Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, and P75, and noted that when all three of them agree they probably reflect the original wording. Bart did not challenge this statement. I spoke at length about P75 and B, noting that the common ancestor was older than P75 and that B actually reflected a purer stream of transmission.

(2) The standard critical text used today, the Nestle-Aland 27, only follows conjecture in ONE place, and even there the two senior editors disagreed with the rest of the committee. This shows that conjecture is not needed for the NT like it is for virtually all other Greco-Roman literature. And when the MSS display coherence, this indicates that there are not gaps in the MS tradition.

(3) Not a single new reading from any of the 134 papyri has proven to be autographic. In the last 135 years, not a single new reading of any MS has such a pedigree. This shows that the autographic wording is to be found among the MSS somewhere. I concluded this point by saying, “So, what would happen if we found MSS even earlier than our earliest papyri? They will no doubt confirm the wording that we already considered to be original. If all the NT papyri that have been discovered have not been able to introduce a single original reading, why should we think that more discoveries would be any different?” This cut into Bart’s main argument, and he did not respond directly to the point.

(4) The copy of Mark that Matthew used is a first-century Mark, and yet it differs from what scholars think the original Mark said in only a handful of non-translatable places. (One of my interns, Jason Stein, is writing his master’s thesis on this very topic.One of Bart’s doctoral students, Jared Anderson, is also writing on this same topic, and he is coming to quite different conclusions. I wrote to him and asked about what methodological controls he is using.) Bart himself had indicated (in Misquoting Jesus) that we have a first-century copy of Mark, but he concluded that Matthew and Luke were ‘just like the scribes’ in that they changed the text significantly. I argued that they were not like the scribes and that the scribes hardly changed the text at all.

(5) The first-century fragment of Mark was my final point. Not only does its existence contradict Bart’s claim that we don’t have anything from the first century of Mark, but This papyrus fragment—just like the other new discoveries that we are preparing for publication—strongly confirms what most scholars have already said is the original text.

In the give-and-take that followed, I failed to ask Bart to lay out what he needed to believe that we had the original text of the NT. This was asked in our debate last October, and Bart said that he would need to see ten MSS of Mark, written within a week of the autograph, and having no more than a 0.001% deviation. I called him on that skepticism in the TC-List, and he conceded that he was speaking off the cuff and that it was an exaggeration. I noted that the question asked had to do with the minimum he would need to believe, so if he gave an exaggeration he was not really answering the question. Further, I noted that since there are only 57,000 letters in Mark, to require no more than 0.001% deviation would mean half a letter at most!

had asked in my opening statement, “How does [Bart know that these early MSS do not give us the original wording]? What criteria does he use to determine that they made mistakes? Either such errors are patently obvious—like ‘Onion’ for ‘Union’ [I used the illustration of the preamble to the Constitution in which a scribe wrote, ‘We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Onion…’]—or he is judging these early papyri by later MSS that have an excellent pedigree—later MSS whose wording reaches back to the time before our earliest papyri. Bart said I pitched him a softball because he was able to determine that the MSS were defective by patristic comments from the second century. I responded that this was overstated—that is, he was using the great uncials as well as patristics to point to the autographic wording. And precisely because of the majuscules of the fourth century scholars have concluded—with Metzger—that the wording of their texts is hundreds of years older than the MSS themselves.

We each had a one-minute closing statement. Bart had said, during the Q&A from the audience, that the bloody sweat passage in Luke 22.43–44 was not part of Luke’s Gospel originally and that it changed Luke’s passion narrative significantly. I agreed. In my closing statement I pointed out that this presupposed that Bart knew what the original text of Luke was saying. I think this was perhaps my strongest point in the debate. Even Bart ultimately has to claim that the original wording is available to us. Further, I noted that the scholarship of the last two thousand years has presupposed that we have the original wording in broad strokes and even in most particulars. To assume otherwise is to be radically skeptical.


    129 replies to "Ehrman vs Wallace: Round Three"

    • Greg M

      Dr. Wallace,

      I’m interested in hearing more about the newly found 1st century manuscript of Mark’s gospel. Is there anything more you can tell us about it?

    • Steve

      Dr. Wallace, excellent post and very informative. I can testify to all who read this that you are both a scholar AND a gentleman. Keep up the great work!

    • Daniel B. Wallace

      On the first-century fragment of Mark: I wish I could tell you more, but scholarly subjects of this sort frequently are kept hush-hush until publication. I have shared all that I have been given permission to share. A year from now the book will be out and everything will be known.

    • Mark Bass

      Thank you Dr. Wallace for your time and effort in engaging with Dr. Ehrman. I have listened to several of his debates with you and Dr. Licona, and Dr. Bock, and it seems to me that you all have the much more difficult job in the debates. It is always easier for him to tear down the faith and Scriptures than it is for you to build up the faith and Scriptures. I guess that’s just like life…easier to tear down than build up. So, I just wanted to say thanks for standing firm and allowing the Lord to use you to defend the faith.

    • Mary

      The new testament has to many contradictions to see it as written with the help of the holy spirit or god breathed.

    • […] papyrus manuscripts from the 2nd century have also been found. You can read Dan’s report here. Dan is an expert in the field of textual criticism and directs the Center for the Study of New […]

    • […] Wallace, in part, writes, We have as many as eighteen second-century manuscripts (six of which were recently discovered […]

    • […] to Daniel B. Wallace the earliest manuscript of the Gospel of Mark has been discovered (see “Ehrman vs. Wallace: Round Three”). He writes the following in reference to a recent debate he had with Bart D. […]

    • Tony Hicks

      Dr. Wallace,
      A first century fragment of Mark? Wow. That is one of the greatest finds in the history of textual criticism. Congratulations. It couldn’t have happened to a more deserving guy.

    • Ed Babinski

      Dr. Wallace,

      1) Can you say how many letters/word of a “first century” Mark we are talking about? And which scholar is doing the research?

      2) One of your fellow evangelicals, an apologist by the name of McGrew, told me that he is certain Mark’s original ending was lost because he says Mark 16:8 “ends in mid-sentence.” What would be your reply to McGrew’s statement?

      3) It seems to me that such a discovery as a fragment of first-century Mark would add to the idea of Markan priority (rather than the traditional Church Fathers’ view of Matthean priority), but prove little concerning the historicity of miracle stories in Mark.

    • Greg Rhodea

      Dr. Wallace: “more than 43% of the 8000 or so verses in the NT are found in these papyri.” That is incredible!

      Dr. Ehrman: “we don’t have thousands of manuscripts from the first century” That is also incredible–talk about unrealistic expectations!

      Thanks for your hard work on this topic.

    • Steven Carr

      ‘A first century fragment of Mark? Wow. That is one of the greatest finds in the history of textual criticism.’

      And one announced in a blog report on a different subject, rather than on CBS or the New York Times.

      Not even a picture of it.

      Such modesty.

      Why , if I found a first-century manuscript, I would be at the British Museum by about 2 pm and on national news by 6 pm

    • Daniel B. Wallace

      Friends, let me clarify a couple of things. First, the Mark manuscript is just a small fragment. Second, I didn’t discover it; I make no claims whatsoever for having done so. Third, exact news of the fragment will have to await its publication about a year from now.

    • […] sensational new discovery of a first century manuscript of the Gospel of Mark has been quietly announced on a Blog (as is the way such rare and monumental finds are typically announced, of course). We have as many […]

    • […] first century manuscript fragment of the Gospel of Mark that Dan Wallace mentioned in a recent debate with Bart Ehrman is getting all kinds of cautions, skepticism, etc., from Jim […]

    • […] to Daniel B. Wallace the earliest manuscript of the Gospel of Mark has been discovered (see “Ehrman vs. Wallace: Round Three”). He writes the following in reference to a recent debate he had with Bart D. […]

    • John C. Poirier

      Dr. Wallace,

      Why do you say that “If [Mark was written] on a scroll, then the last leaf would be the most protected”? After being read, scrolls were more often shelved *without* being re-rolled, which means that the last bit of text was the *least* protected.

    • […] According to Daniel Wallace, in debate with Bart Ehrman: […]

    • […] Wallace describes his third debate with Bart Ehrman about the reliability of the New Testament in EHRMAN VS WALLACE: ROUND THREE, February 1, 2012; posted February 5, 2012 (courtesy of Parchment & Pen […]

    • Steven Carr

      ‘Third, exact news of the fragment will have to await its publication about a year from now.’

      Where is it being kept in the meantime?

    • consulscipio236

      Why do you waste your time debating him? No one’s mind is going to change, and his comments are routinely misleading or outright wrong.

    • […] might have been found. Today I read of another, potentially even more significant, discovery. Daniel Wallace has shared the information that an upcoming publication will announce that a first-century(!) […]

    • Ed Babinski

      Dr. Wallace, You wrote, “We have as many as eighteen second-century manuscripts (six of which were recently discovered and not yet catalogued) and a first-century manuscript of Mark’s Gospel!”

      Which “manuscripts” *cough* are you speaking about? Surely you mean fragments in the majority of cases?

      And how accurate is the dating of those fragments?
      Even the dating of the Johnnine fragment, P52 is doubtful:

      Papyrus 52: Do We Actually Know How Old It Is? http://mjburgess.wordpress.com/2009/08/13/papyrus-52-do-we-actually-know-how-old-it-is/

      On or about Aug. 13th, 2009, the Textual Criticism Group hosted a lively debate concerning the contents and date of P52 (P. Ryl. 457), generally regarded as the earliest manuscript witness to the text of the New Testament: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/textualcriticism/

      According to Carrier’s presentation http://www.richardcarrier.info/NTReliabilitySlideshow.pdf on what scholars agree that we know about the NT text, we have no first century “documents” but only fragments in the 2nd century, and only beginning with the 4th century do we have complete Gospels that we can compare with one another. This info is old hat. But what’s interesting in Carrier’s presentation is his assertion illustrated by a graph (I do not know whether the graph is original with Carrier or not) that the number of edits in known manuscripts from the fourth century onward continued to diminish, implying that prior to the fourth century, the rate of edits was probably higher rather than lower. It’s a simple enough notion to consider, i.e, if the edits that we know about grew “less abundant” over time in known manuscripts, then as you work backwards in time to the fragmentary and unknown manuscripts of the first century, the edits would probably have been “more abundant.” not less abundant. (Take the case of the added ending to Mark, possibly made early in the second century).

      Lastly, there was a case in which a few fragments from the Dead Sea Scrolls were said to be portions of “The Gospel of Matthew.” But further study indicated it was not verses from Matthew at all, but from the Book of Enoch: “That No Gospel, It’s Enoch!” http://books.google.com/books?id=liCJbBDwnQQC&pg=PA7&lpg=PA7&dq=%22That's+No+Gospel,+It's+Enoch%22+%22Bible+Review%22+2003&source=bl&ots=wZSN0Kcn8T&sig=nlsiTbEVMSxPfPrmqwub-vrbqIk&hl=en&sa=X&ei=6P4vT8ikLMLUgQfo2OHaDw&ved=0CDAQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q&f=false http://www.documentacatholicaomnia.eu/03d/sine-data,_Nebe._Wilhelm,_Fragments_Of_The_Book_Of_Enoch_From_Qumran_Cave_7,_EN.pdf

    • Ed Babinski

      Dr. Wallace, It seems to me that what today’s conservative Christians are reduced to doing to “defend the Bible,” is scrounge up fragments found in Cave 7 at Qumran (the only cave featuring exclusively Greek fragments), and try to match them up via computer imagery with lines from the Gospels. You have yourself written about the inconclusive nature of such “finds” http://bible.org/article/7q5-earliest-nt-papyrus

      So far the “Gospel of Matthew” fragment has been identified as being from The Book of Enoch. And the fragment you wrote about had 16 possible identifications other than a Gospel. But that’s not stopping continued scrounging.

      And why all the scrounging around involving fragments, trying to “see Gospels” in them? Don’t you think God could have preserved more distinct evidence than disputed fragments?

      Archaeologists have also been combing the middle east seeking signs of a grand exodus of over a million Hebrews and a mixed multitude (approx. two million), sacrificing and burning animals and spilling blood and pot shards and God knows what else around the desert for forty years, and archeologists have come up nil. Though archaeologists have successfully dated ancient remains of a tiny fire even further back than the so-called Exodus, they can’t find the trail of the biblical one. Expecations have been revised. Even Evangelical experts, including F. F. Bruce, were not averse to lowering the numbers for the so-called Exodus, even down to 2,000. And a grad student at DTS has argued in a similar fashion.

      P.S., Didn’t the church canonize the final chapter of Mark, the whole chapter? There was no debate concerning its authenticity back then was there? It’s a chapter that contains such divine commands and promises as, ““Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”

    • Bill Combs

      “Not a single new reading from any of the 134 papyri has proven to be autographic. In the last 135 years, not a single new reading of any MS has such a pedigree.”

      Dan, I wonder if you could amplify on this statement, particulairly on the 135 years? Taken literally, 135 yeas ago would be 1877, but maybe you are just using a round number. Are you referring to some manuscript discovered at that time whose reading has been adopted, or is this some general reference to Westcott and Hort, or something else?

    • James S

      I agree with #16.
      It seems there is a whole little sub-culture of debaters who get into these but nothing comes of it. Nobody changes their minds. They just pick their side and cheer their guy on as if it were a sporting event, but there is no real victor.

      I stand by Romans 1:18-32 which says that everybody KNOWS the truth, but those who don’t like it just suppress it and fool themselves into believing un-truth.

      So why debate them? They already know deep down they are deliberately fooling themselves, and will have to answer for it to Jesus Christ Himself on their day of judgment.
      And then there will be no debate, as their mouths will be stopped as they are forced to reckon with the truth. It will be cool to watch it, but even that will become monotonous after the first 2 or 3 people do it.

    • Adam

      Dr. Wallace,

      I took a class in OT textual criticism at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and understanding the state of OT textual criticism, it is almost sickening to see the skepticism of Mr. Ehrman towards the NT. I can only wish that we had the kind of material that is available to Ehrman for the NT. Consider that the earliest manuscripts of the Pentateuch were copied around 1000 years after it was written, and that is the case even if you take a late date for the Exodus. In fact, there are some time periods in the transmission of the Hebrew Bible in which we know next to nothing about the state of the text. We have to rely heavily upon translations, targums, Rabbinic writings, and even, in some places [unlike the NT] conjectural emendations.

      To put all of this in perspective, the parallel in OT textual criticism to the find of a first century papyrus of Mark would be about like finding a copy of the Pentateuch from 1200 B.C. The problem is that the earliest Hebrew writing ever found has been from the time of King David, from about 975 B.C. In other words, not only do we not have manuscripts of the Pentateuch from the time period parallel to the finding of this Mark papyrus, but we don’t even have any Hebrew writing from this time period! The best we may have from this time period are an abecederary, and, of course, those could be in any language, since several languages in the area used the exact same alphabets.

      Hence, to put it bluntly, Ehrman’s skepticism simply makes my eyes roll. He has such an incredible amount of material to work with that he has no idea what it is like to work in the mess of OT textual criticism. So much work is yet to be done in the field of OT textual criticism that my professor told us that most OT textual critics have to focus on one particular area of inquiry [Septuagint, Peshitta, Masoretic studies, Qumran, etc.]. To have the blessing that NT textual critics have, and shun it with “we don’t know” is simply reprehensible.

    • […] Davila is among many who pick up on a claim made by Dan Wallace that a first-century manuscript of Mark’s gospel has been discovered. I think his […]

    • […] have a first century fragment of the gospel of Mark has recently caught alot of attention (see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, add your link in the comments if I […]

    • Daniel

      #26, James S:

      You can stand by Romans 1:18-32 if you want, but your convictions in it will not make it true. It’s very easy to claim “I’m right and anyone who disagrees is just in denial.” Even the Qur’an has statements to the same effect of Romans 1:20. All non-Muslims are allegedly just ingrates in denial of Allah’s existence. Even you.
      If I knew that Christianity was the truth, I would not suppress it, even if I disliked it. If we disagree with something, we tend to acknowledge it’s reality and argue against it, rather than pretend it doesn’t exist.
      I apologize if it seems that I “protest too much,” but I take the Romans 1:20 argument as a serious insult to those of us who struggled in our loss of faith. I’ve tried to force myself to just believe that Christianity was true, it doesn’t work, I cannot honestly believe in it. And that is the whole truth.

      Religious troll comments aside, thank you Dr. Wallace for this informative blog post. I read a lot of Ehrman, and I like to keep his views balanced by the counterarguments. I look forward to learning more about this early fragment of Mark. It’s a shame we have to wait about a year for it!

    • […] Dan Wallace here. Posted in Theology | No Comments » Leave a […]

    • Matthew Hamilton

      1. Could the people who keep referring to the Dead Sea Scrolls, Qumran Cave 7 and 7Q5 please inform themselves better! And could they also read more carefully the papers they cite – the papers about 7Q5 discuss a possible identification with the Gospel of Mark NOT the Gospel of Matthew.

      2. The Mark frg. in the Green Collection has nothing to do with the Dead Sea Scrolls, Qumran Cave 7 or 7Q5.

      3. It is common for papyri and other MSS to be mentioned BEFORE they are properly published and is a practice that goes back about a century. Those who are dismissive of the Mark frg. because it has not been published yet need to study the history of publication of previous finds and perhaps suspend judgement until they have read the publication when it comes out in a year or so.

    • Daniel B. Wallace

      #10 Ed Babinski:
      1) Can you say how many letters/word of a “first century” Mark we are talking about? And which scholar is doing the research?
      2) One of your fellow evangelicals, an apologist by the name of McGrew, told me that he is certain Mark’s original ending was lost because he says Mark 16:8 “ends in mid-sentence.” What would be your reply to McGrew’s statement?
      3) It seems to me that such a discovery as a fragment of first-century Mark would add to the idea of Markan priority (rather than the traditional Church Fathers’ view of Matthean priority), but prove little concerning the historicity of miracle stories in Mark.

      1. Sorry; I wish I could tell you more—I really do!

      2. Mark’s ending was lost because 16.8 ends in mid-sentence? This has been repeatedly debunked, most recently by Kelly Iverson, fellow at St Andrews University. His article is, “A Further Word on Final Gar,” CBQ 2005. See my chapter in Perspectives on the Ending of Mark: Four Views, D. A. Black, editor (B&H, 2008). There are actually four standard arguments for why Mark’s last leaf was lost, all of which have been answered adequately.

      3. I’m not so sure it would even do much to add to Markan priority (which I believe). It would show that Mark’s Gospel was copied in the first century. Of course, the earlier the date of such finds, the closer the time to the writing of the Gospels, and that, in a sense, strengthens the view that the historicity in them could still have been checked by eyewitnesses.

    • Daniel B. Wallace

      #17 John Poirier:
      Why do you say that “If [Mark was written] on a scroll, then the last leaf would be the most protected”? After being read, scrolls were more often shelved *without* being re-rolled, which means that the last bit of text was the *least* protected.

      I’d like to see your documentation of this point, John. Among the Dead Sea Scrolls—documents that are from the same milieau as the NT, only one of the hundreds of scrolls was found not rolled up.

    • Daniel B. Wallace

      #23 Ed Babinski:
      Regarding the dates of the MSS: I have argued for some time that we have as many as a dozen NT MSS dated to the second century. My source on this point is the Kurzgefasste Liste of the INTF and supplemental sources. INTF lists four MSS definitely from the second century, and another six that are on the cusp of second/third century. Eldon Epp in his essay, “Are Early New Testament Manuscripts Truly Abundant?” in Israel’s God and Rebecca’s Children: Christology and Community in Early Judaism and Christianity, ed. David B. Capes and et al. (Waco: Baylor University Press, 2007), 77-117, employed the same method: those MSS that could be assigned to two different centuries he assigned to the earlier one. I also looked at Comfort and Barrett’s work, but felt that they were too conservative in their dating most of the time, though two or three MSS I believe have now been shown to be second century.

      My list of a dozen potential or actual second-century MSS includes: P4, P32, P52, P46, P64+67, P66, P77, P90, P98, P103, P104, 0189. These dates are being disputed again, especially by Nongbri and Bagnall, and their voices need to be listened to. It should be noted that when Bart spoke of four second-century papyri, he noted that fewer than 50 verses collectively were found in them. But when you look at all the possible second-century MSS, they collectively have portions of more than 43% of all NT verses. I do not know how many more verses will be added to that list when the seven new papyri are published.

    • Daniel B. Wallace

      #24 Ed Babinski:
      No, the fragment found in Qumran’s Cave 7 was not identified with Matthew, but with Mark. Most scholars have rejected that identification, but it should be noted that even one as careful as Metzger originally thought it correct.

    • Daniel B. Wallace

      PS on #24: The church canonize the whole of Mark 16? Hardly. First, there has never been a universal counsel that spoke authoritatively as to what the books of the Bible were. Second, even Eusebius spoke of most MSS ending at 16.8, and a few MSS have in their margins at this place, “Eusebius canonized the text to here.”

    • Daniel B. Wallace

      #25 Bill Combs:
      Bill, regarding the 135 years: I was referring to the supposed knowledge of P1 prior to Westcott and Hort’s magisterial volumes of 1881–82. But I have not yet seen proof that it was known before they published their NT. The discovery and publication of Sinaticus had already occurred in 1869.

    • […] Apparently Daniel Wallace of Dallas Theological Seminary recently debated the infamous Bart Ehrman at Ehrman’s home campus, at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Wallace isn’t the only Evangelical biblical scholar who has taken the podium against Ehrman; Craig Evans, along with Darrell Bock (also of Dallas Theological) have debated Ehrman as well. You can read Wallace’s recap of his debate with Ehrman over at the Parchment and Pen blog wher… […]

    • Xcntrik

      “But this again is a huge overstatement. We have as many as eighteen second-century manuscripts (six of which were recently discovered and not yet catalogued) and a first-century manuscript of Mark’s Gospel!”

      Someone made a “huge overstatement”, that’s for sure. You claim that a first century manuscript of Mark’s Gospel exists, but you can’t provide the manuscript.

      Do you not see the flaw in this empty claim?

      I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see where this goes.

    • […] fragment of the Gospel of Mark has recently been discovered. The cat was let out of the bag by Dan Wallace during his debate with Bart Ehrman. According to Wallace, the papyrus fragment is going to be published in a book next […]

    • […] On February 1, 2012, Dr. Daniel B. Wallace made a claim in a debate with Dr. Bart D. Ehrman that went something like this:  ”We have as many as eighteen second-century manuscripts (six of which were recently discovered and …“ […]

    • Jon Bennett

      Thank you for your service to the kingdom in this area Dr. Wallace. I am just one more of your many unknown Greek Grammar graduates. I think anyone concerned about NT studies has to be able to face the work of Bart Ehrman in a very serious and compelling way. Letting the cat out of the bag on an early Markan piece sure seems like a coup d’état, time will tell. Thanks again.

    • Steven Carr

      I think people have learned from the Lead Codices not to publish photographs of artefacts too early.

      We wouldn’t want just anybody to check this dating, would we?

    • John C. Poirier

      Dr. Wallace,

      I’m afraid you misunderstood what I meant when I said that scrolls were usually not re-rolled. I didn’t mean they were left open. I meant that the lefthand coil newly created through the act of reading (as opposed to the righthand coil, which the act of reading diminished), which had the beginning of the text *at its center*, usually represented the way in which the scroll was left for the next reader. Readers usually didn’t bother rewinding the scroll to its original shape, but left the scroll in a manner that was inside-out in comparison to how the next reader would have needed it.

      This is all noted in L. Avrin, Scribes, Script and Books: The Book Arts from Antiquity to the Renaissance (Chicago: American Library Association: 1991) 153. As Harry Y. Gamble recognized, the failure to reroll texts may account for the placement of titles at the end of a writing (Books and Readers in the Early Church: A History of Early Christian Texts [New Haven: Yale University Press: 1995] 48). (The continuation of this practice into codices would then be a case of unreflective adaptation [see Francesca Schironi, TO MEGA BIBLION: Book-ends, End-titles, and Coronides in Papyri with Hexametric Poetry [American Studies in Papyrology 48; Durham, NC: American Society of Papyrologists: 2010] 80.)

      If a scroll of the Gospel of Mark was treated the same way as most scrolls in the Greco-Roman world, then the end of the text would have been on the outside of the scroll more often than on the inside.

    • […] Over the last couple of days have appeared numerous postings on reports that fragments of several early NT manuscripts have been identified (e.g., http://sheffieldbiblicalstudies.wordpress.com/2012/02/06/first-century-fragment-of-mark/).  A statement by  Dan Wallace in a recent debate with Bart Ehrman seems to be the source of these reports.  In the debate, Wallace says that he referred to a fragment identified as part of a first-century copy of the Gospel of Mark (http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2012/02/wallace-vs-erhman-round-three/).  […]

    • Nazam Guffoor

      Dan Wallace appears to make a false comparison of the New Testament manuscripts by comparing it with other ancient writings, by saying that we have well over 60 manuscripts for the first 200 years. But this is false because he is not comparing each book of the New Testament on a case by case bases, for example Acts does not even come close to having 60 manuscripts for the first 200 years of it’s composition and same thing could be said of other books . In fact for the first 100 years, with the exception of 6 books, we have no manuscripts existing of the New Testament.

    • Steven Carr

      It would be much better to compare the attestation of the New Testament with that of the Old Testament.

      I still don’t know why this story is not on Fox News or some other medium.

      Isn’t it quite big and newsworthy?

    • […] Daniel Wallace made during his most recent debate with Bart Ehrman at UNC Chapel Hill.  In his summary of the debate at Parchment and Pen, Wallace writes: We have as many as eighteen second-century […]

    • Bryan

      I find it interesting that Providential Preservation of the scriptures has not been discussed in this matter.

    • […] this is a fragment, dated by a neutral party, older than P52. Wallace has made some comments at various blogs to assure us that he was neither the discoverer not the examiner of said document, but was […]

    • […] is Wallace’s account of the exchange taken from his blog: “We have as many as eighteen second-century manuscripts (six of which were recently […]

    • Matthew Hamilton

      #48 by Steven Carr

      Firstly: The major media outlets are not likely to run with the story as it lacks the most important ingredients in news stories – sex, media personalities, death, and sporting heros. The importance of the fragment to biblical studies and the importance of the fragment to the media are not the same so don’t evaluate the fragment by the inaction of the media.

      Secondly: If your argument is that if it isn’t on Fox/CNN/ABC/NBC/CBS then the fragment must be a forgery or wrongly identified or wrongly dated – then may I suggest to you that the media are NOT the arbitrators of what is true and are terrible when it comes to accurate reporting on biblical manuscripts.

    • Nazam Guffoor

      I think the obvious reason that it’s not been in the press is because the these has not yet been published and peer review.

    • Matthew Hamilton

      #50 by Nazam Guffoor

      Whether a papyrus has been published or not is of little relevance to the media – and the peer review aspect is of NO relevance to the media

      Consider the example of a papyrus MS found by looters in Israel and recovered by the police in 2009. It was not published, the peer reviewed publications date to a year and more later – yet it made the media immediately. Why? Firstly the “sexy” part of the story was not the papyrus, it was the conflict between Israelis who recovered the papyrus and Palestinians who had looted it. Secondly, the information about the papyrus was released to the media with colour pictures. And when the papyrus was published in peer reviewed journals the media paid no attention to it as there was nolonger any aspect to it that would attract readership or advertising revenue.

    • […] reflected later  on the exchange about Ehrman's skepticism: In the Q & A, Bart questioned the validity of […]

    • C Michael Patton

      Keep things on topic. This is not a surragate blog to wax elequent about all your knowledge. Get your own blogs. They are cheap!

      Read the rules. I have been having to delete posts.

    • Steven Carr

      NAZAM GUFFOR
      I think the obvious reason that it’s not been in the press is because the these has not yet been published and peer review.

      CARR
      That is much better than what I was thinking! I had come up with the explanation that the media was not interested in 1st century manuscripts of the Gospels.

      With hindsight I can see how wrong I was.

    • Steven Carr

      BABINSKI
      Dr. Wallace, It seems to me that what today’s conservative Christians are reduced to doing to “defend the Bible,” is scrounge up fragments found in Cave 7 at Qumran (the only cave featuring exclusively Greek fragments), and try to match them up via computer imagery with lines from the Gospels.

      CARR
      SO texts are selected for further examination if they match lines from today’s accepted text of Gospels?

      Is this a statistically accurate way of seeing if any texts were produced which vary from today’s accepted text of the Gospels?

    • Matthew Hamilton

      Has anybody else noticed that the fragment of Mark has provided opportunity for grenade throwers to make (ill informed) attacks on Christianity? As an example of one of these web lurkers, Steven Carr has made a number of posts on different blogs such as the one found on Exploring Our Matrix where he said “Picture 11 of 19 gives some idea of the size of these ‘manuscripts’ that are being found, and the ethical nature of Wallace claiming that these sorts of manuscripts should be accepted by Ehrman as proving that the text has not been changed”

      In one short comment fragments are dismissed as they as not manuscripts, the evidence against the text of the Bible being changed as Ehrman claims is dismissed, and the ethics of a Christian scholar are questioned.

      Steven failed to tell the readers of his comment that “Picture 11” is of a fragment that is NOT of the NT, is NOT in Greek, and is NOT on papyrus – it was of the OT, in Hebrew, on either parchment or leather – so the two obvious options are either Steven is unethical or Steven is ignorant.

      Either way, can we expect more of the same up until the fragment is published – and perhaps even afterwards?

      Regards,
      Matthew Hamilton

      Unfortunately until the fragment is published we can probably expect

    • Steven Carr

      Sorry for linking to a picture put up by the Baylor Institute showing the sorts of fragments the Green Collection put up on display as illustrating the sort of fragments they are collecting and exhibiting.

      If I had known what sort of objections would be raised to publicising the exhibits the Green Collection puts on display, I would not have bothered.

      Was it supposed to be a secret that the Green Collection puts tiny scraps of manuscript on display?

    • […] comentário do Dr. Wallace, no terceiro encontro da série de debates com Barth Ehrman a respeito do texto do Novo Testamento, […]

    • Matthew Hamilton

      Steven Carr in comment 61 is playing the martyr who was only sharing information – gosh, we should be thankful that he was “publicizing (sic) the exhibits the Green Collection puts on display” and making sure we all know that “the Green Collection puts tiny scraps of manuscript on display” – but this is NOT what he was doing. The point of his comment on Exploring the Matrix was not informative about the size of early biblical manuscripts in the Green Collection, it was (1) to dismiss manuscripts because of their size (2) which means no evidence against the claims of Ehrman (3) and at the same time question the ethics of a Christian scholar who used the evidence of the manuscripts.

      Most early biblical manuscripts are small although there are exceptions such as the Bodmer Psalms Codex (parts of which are displayed in the Green Collection – or did Steven fail to inform people of that?), yet that does not stop textual critics such as Daniel Wallace (and even Bart Ehrman) from making good use of them. If Steven does not know this then he is ignorant. And if Steven does know this then he has attempted to mislead readers of his comments – which is unethical.

      So Steven, are you being ignorant or unethical?

    • Max Doubt

      […] Daniel Wallace spilled the beans in a recent debate with Bart Ehrman that there has now been discovered a papyrus fragment of Mark that has been dated to the 1st […]

    • […] Mark Goodacre’s NT Blog: “it is worth noting that Wallace remarked that the “world-class paleographer” in question had “no religious […]

    • Gary Simmons

      Dr. Wallace: thank you for entering the ring with Ehrman. Somebody has to.

      On a related note, what is the Koine Greek word for Schadenfreude?

    • […] Bart Erhman about the discovery of several New Testament papyri. Dr. Wallace has already written a summary of the debate, and below he clarifies what these papyri might […]

    • […] a digitalizar e tornar disponível a todos os estudiosos os vários manuscritos bíblicos. Neste debate, a pergunta direcionada a Bart Ehrman foi: Onde estão todos os primeiros manuscritos? Ele então […]

    • BradK

      The debate over whether we have the original wording of the New Testament somewhere in the manuscripts seems strange. Even if we assumed for the sake of argument that (for example) NA27 was exactly the wording of the original NT, what does that matter? The argument that it is necessary to have the original wording is silly considering that throughout probably over 90% of the history of Christianity that original wording has not been available. And probably over 90% of all Christians have never had access to that original wording. If Ehrman’s argument is that the original wording is necessary for the NT to be considered reliable, then it is a silly one and not worth debating. Although Ehrman is a skeptic, he still seems to think like a fundamentalist inerrantist. Why play his own game rather than just dismissing his underlying assumption? He admits himself that no significant theological position depends on the variants. There is more theological debate within Christianity on scriptural passages on which there is no dispute regarding their text than on the variants that seem to concern Ehrman so greatly.

      I have not seen the debate, so maybe Dr. Wallace focused on the irrelevance of Ehrman’s argument for all I know. His comment about Ehrman’s skepticism and the Dark Ages seems quite apt. If we need the kind of evidence that Ehrman seems to want in order to accept something as true, then we can believe nothing we have learned of history. In fact, there is really nothing we can believe at all. Life is not a carefully controlled, double blind, scientific experiment.

    • […] Dan Wallace recaps his recent debate with Bart Ehrman. This post mentioned the discovery of what is believed to be the earliest manuscript of the Gospel […]

    • Daniel B. Wallace

      Recently, on another blogpost, some unsavory things were said about me regarding this Mark fragment. Here’s what I wrote in response:

      I have to take issue with you how you’ve represented things, XCNTRIK. First you said, “This experience is a good example of the difference between Biblical Studies and Christian Apologetics.” The implication is that I’m an apologist, not a biblical scholar–and you explicitly called me an apologist later. No, I’m not an apologist. I take offense at that term being used of me. My realm is biblical studies.

      Second, you said, “It is not fantastic when a Christian apologist makes an empty claim as an attempt to rebut a factual statement made by a credible scholar. Without evidence, Wallace has debunked himself instead, and now his credibility in question.” Really? I think I would be debunked if it was demonstrated that what I said was NOT based on good authority; that’s what debunking means–that I was definitely speaking with hollow words. But as I said in the debate, the book on this manuscript and other new finds will appear in about a year. And it’s to be published by E. J. Brill, a scholarly publisher with an exceptionally good reputation.

      You also quoted someone who said, “It is really frustrating when people spill ‘news’ of a manuscript discovery to score a point for themselves (e.g., in a debate) but then can only say, ‘Trust me. I got my info from a ‘world-class paleographer; and oh, by the way, he’s entirely unbiased because he’s not a fundamentalist.” Here’s the situation: I learned about the MS a couple of weeks before the debate. I got it from a good source. I was told not only that the paleographer was sure that it was from the first century but also that this fragment, along with the other six fragments, all confirm the general stability of the New Testament. Are you saying that it would be right for me not to mention this in the debate? I know the paleographer and consider him to be an excellent scholar. But I was also asked not to reveal his name yet, and I kept my word on that. And I explicitly added in the Q&A time that we will all have to wait to see what the evidence is for this in the book next year. Now, how is that scoring a point for myself?

      As for backpedaling, here’s what I said at Chapel Hill: “The oldest fragment of the NT is now a fragment from Mark’s Gospel that is from the first century! How accurate is the dating? Well, my source is a papyrologist who worked on this MS—a man whose reputation is unimpeachable. Many consider him to be the best papyrologist on the planet. His reputation is on the line with this dating, and he knows it. But he is certain that this MS was from the first century. This papyrus fragment—just like the other new discoveries that we are preparing for publication—strongly confirms what most scholars have already said is the original text.” A careful reader will note that I am hinging the date on the paleographer’s reputation, not mine. But since some did not see it that way, I have softened the language subsequently because I’m just the messenger, not the paleographer. I will make comments on the date of the MS when it is published, but for now–as I said in the debate–we will all have to wait and see. I really don’t think that that’s overstatement, nor did I backpedal.

      It may be enjoyable to some to poke holes at a scholar who offers information that would be relevant for biblical studies–with the caveat that the book is not yet out but will be. Others have dismissed what I’ve had to say by linking it to the fantastic claims of Carsten Peter Thiede on the identification of 7Q5 as from Mark’s Gospel or his dating of P64+67, or to claims by Young Kyu Kim that P46 was written before the reign of Domitian. These manuscripts are not what I am talking about. I have gone into print about 7Q5 and P46, and argued that the former was not from Mark and the latter’s date should still considered to be c. 200 CE. That some would think that I was resurrecting a minority position that has been soundly rejected by biblical scholars is incredible to me, especially since I published TWO articles against Thiede’s identification!

      But I understand the natural skepticism of some who are unfortunately tempted to turn their skepticism into potshots instead of taking the sober position that “We need to see the manuscript. The paleographers have to do their work. The text needs to be subjected to stringent tests. And most of all, the provenance of the manuscript has to be fully disclosed. In these days when frauds and fakes flood the market and claims of authenticity are bantered about with ease and aplomb, everyone should be especially cautious.” I agree with that assessment fully. All I can say is, “wait and see.” Is that too much to ask?

    • Steven Carr

      The reputation of an anonymous person is on the line, so people have to take Daniel’s word for it that this fragment confirms the reliability of the text, without asking to see it or know how big it is.

      That’s fair. After all, people in other fields have to rely on expert opinion without ever being told who this expert is, and to accept new evidence without ever seeing it.

    • Steven Carr

      Out of interest, does this fragment of the Gospel known as Mark have the word ‘Jesus’ written on it anywhere?

      Are we allowed to know that?

    • Daniel B. Wallace

      Steven, you’ve really misrepresented what I said. I can’t stop you from doing that, but I would hope that you would read my comments more carefully. I ended with a paragraph emphasizing that we all should wait and see. Again, is that too much to ask?

    • Steven Carr

      We should all wait and see.

      No, no, we should use this evidence as debating points against Ehrman as though it had all been settled.

      Then we can tell everybody to wait and see.

      That is the correct course of action.

    • Steven Carr

      I wonder why we are not allowed to know if the word ‘Jesus’ appears on this fragment.

    • Daniel B. Wallace

      Steven, talk about scoring a debating point! Once again, you’ve glossed over what I said. I’m afraid I’m going to be out of pocket for awhile, but I would ask you to read much more carefully people you are criticizing.

      Again, I said, “i learned about the MS a couple of weeks before the debate. I got it from a good source. I was told not only that the paleographer was sure that it was from the first century but also that this fragment, along with the other six fragments, all confirm the general stability of the New Testament. Are you saying that it would be right for me not to mention this in the debate? I know the paleographer and consider him to be an excellent scholar. But I was also asked not to reveal his name yet, and I kept my word on that. And I explicitly added in the Q&A time that we will all have to wait to see what the evidence is for this in the book next year. Now, how is that scoring a point for myself?”

      Are you saying that if you had some reliable information that could not YET be verified, but would be in a year, you would simply sweep it under the rug without comment? I thought we were supposed to be seekers of truth.

    • Steven Carr

      DANIEL
      ‘Are you saying that it would be right for me not to mention this in the debate? ‘

      DANIEL
      ‘I ended with a paragraph emphasizing that we all should wait and see. Again, is that too much to ask?’

      CARR
      Is it too much to ask that you wait and see?

    • Steven Carr

      I wonder why we are not allowed to know if the word ‘Jesus’ appears on this fragment.

    • BradK

      Steven, did you see the debate?

    • Steven Carr

      ‘Steven, did you see the debate?’

      No, but I rely on Mr. Wallace to give an accurate account of events, and I’m sure he has.

    • […] Link to Dr. Wallace’s summation (with 82 comments) […]

    • Ed Babinski

      Directed at #36 Daniel B. Wallace:

      The case I am speaking about had nothing to do with Mark or Cave 7. It had to do with a different cave and a fragment that was claimed to be from Matthew:

      Bible Review 19:02, Apr 2003
      That’s No Gospel, It’s Enoch!
      Identification of Dead Sea Scrolls challenged
      By Peter W. Flint

      In 1972 the Spanish scholar José O’Callaghan startled the world of biblical scholarship when he announced that he had identified nine New Testament fragments among the Dead Sea Scrolls.1 In the 30 years since, O’Callaghan’s findings have annoyed many scholars, excited a few and left most scratching their heads—wondering if they will ever know for sure what these tiny fragments contain.

      But now, thanks to the painstaking research of two European scholars and one Disney World carpenter, all this has changed. It seems certain that two of the nine fragments are definitely not New Testament texts, that the same likely holds true for the other seven, and that at least some of these fragments and several other unidentified pieces from the same cave can now be positively identified: They come from the First Book of Enoch!

      As for Theide and his rummaging through cave 7 scraps in Greek, it’s the same Theide who wrote a book claiming to have found a piece of the true cross.

      So the fact remains there is one cave in particular with lots of Greek fragments that some scholars, notably Theide, continue rummaging through hoping to discover a “match” with some words in a Greek Gospel, any Gospel, though I suppose they have concentrated their efforts on Matthew and Mark, the ostensibly earliest two Gospels. But such a search among a cave of scroll fragments seems to amount to seeing faces in clouds.

      Based on the relative futility of the search outlined above I certainly suspect an infinite Being could have provided (and preserved) FAR clearer and more enduring evidence from the first century of a host of items pertaining to Jesus’ sayings and doings if that Being’s purpose was to prove a particular religion was true — as so many of today’s Evangelical apologists are attempting to prove. Alas, the preservation of evidence for a crazy first century apocalyptic sect remains far better than for the Gospels of the one true faith.

    • Ed Babinski

      Sorry, that previous post was over 1000 characters. Here’s a broken down version.

    • Ed Babinski

      Directed at #36 Daniel B. Wallace:

      The case I am speaking about had nothing to do with Mark or Cave 7. It had to do with a different cave and a fragment that was claimed to be from Matthew:

      “That’s No Gospel, It’s Enoch! Identification of Dead Sea Scrolls challenged,” by Peter W. Flint, Bible Review 19:02, Apr 2003- – “In 1972 the Spanish scholar José O’Callaghan announced that he had identified nine New Testament fragments among the Dead Sea Scrolls. His claim left most scratching their heads—wondering if they will ever know for sure what these tiny fragments contain. But thanks to the painstaking research of two European scholars and one carpenter, It seems certain that two of the nine fragments are definitely not New Testament texts, and the same likely holds true for the other seven, and that at least some of these fragments and several other unidentified pieces from the same cave can now be positively identified: They come from the First Book of Enoch.”

      As for Theide and his rummaging through cave 7 scraps in Greek, it’s the same Theide who wrote a book claiming to have found a piece of the true cross.

      So the fact remains there is one cave in particular with lots of Greek fragments that some scholars, notably Theide, continue rummaging through hoping to discover a “match” with some words in a Greek Gospel, any Gospel, though I suppose they have concentrated their efforts on Matthew and Mark, the ostensibly earliest two Gospels. But such a search among a cave of scroll fragments seems to amount to seeing faces in clouds.

    • Ed Babinski

      Directed at #36 Daniel B. Wallace:

      The case I am speaking about had nothing to do with Mark or Cave 7. It had to do with a different cave and a fragment that was claimed to be from Matthew:

      “That’s No Gospel, It’s Enoch! Identification of Dead Sea Scrolls challenged,” by Peter W. Flint, Bible Review 19:02, Apr 2003- – “In 1972 the Spanish scholar José O’Callaghan announced that he had identified nine New Testament fragments among the Dead Sea Scrolls. His claim left most scratching their heads—wondering if they will ever know for sure what these tiny fragments contain. But thanks to the painstaking research of two European scholars and one carpenter, It seems certain that two of the nine fragments are definitely not New Testament texts, and the same likely holds true for the other seven, and that at least some of these fragments and several other unidentified pieces from the same cave can now be positively identified: They come from the First Book of Enoch.”

    • Ed Babinski

      That last comment should be less than 1000 characters, including spaces.

    • Ed Babinski

      As for Theide and his rummaging through cave 7 scraps in Greek, it’s the same Theide who wrote a book claiming to have found a piece of the true cross.

      So the fact remains there is one cave in particular with lots of Greek fragments that some scholars, notably Theide, continue rummaging through hoping to discover a “match” with some words in a Greek Gospel, any Gospel, though I suppose they have concentrated their efforts on Matthew and Mark, the ostensibly earliest two Gospels. But such a search among a cave of scroll fragments seems to amount to seeing faces in clouds.

    • Ed Babinski

      Based on the relative futility of the search outlined above I certainly suspect an infinite Being could have provided (and preserved) FAR clearer and more enduring evidence from the first century of a host of items pertaining to Jesus’ sayings and doings if that Being’s purpose was to prove a particular religion was true — as so many of today’s Evangelical apologists are attempting to prove. Alas, the preservation of evidence for a crazy first century apocalyptic sect remains far better than for the Gospels of the one true faith.

    • […] 1 February 2012, I debated Bart Ehrman at UNC Chapel Hill on whether we have the wording of the original New Testament today. This was our […]

    • johnrob bantang

      I’m glad i became a catholic. My life now revolves around trying to live the faith instead of debating whether the Bible is reliable or not. My Mother has already told me that it is. Just as the Father told her through the Son.

    • Tom Zelaney

      All this textual argumentation ignores a single basic but paramount fact, a point made by Benedict XVI in his Jesus of Nazareth. When we approach the new testament we come face to face with two dimensions 1) the text and it integrity and its authority but 2) more importantly we come face to face with Christ Jesus who reaches across time to meet each of us and we must ask with the Apostle the same question that all men past present and future will ask and answer “Who do you say that I am?” there is no escaping the faith dimension of the New Testament and critical textual analysis really misses the whole in focusing on iota’s and miss-spellings, etc.

    • Roy

      When reading Mark 16:1-8 and comparing to verses 9-20 it is obviously clear that 9-20 contradict 1-8. That’s a textual given that’s independent of any “1st century newly found manuscripts”. It is clear that a redactor provided a lengthier ending so as to provide a resurrection appearance and more. I can live with that….but don’t tell me that 9-20 was connected to 1-8 from the outset. Unless of course the author couldn’t see the glaring problems of such a connection. It’s o.k. to accept scripture by faith….faith and a certain uncertainty seem to naturally go hand and hand!

    • […] It’s also interesting that the announcement was made during a debate with Bart Ehrman in which Bart claimed that the earliest manuscripts of the NT were from the second century. Au contraire, Daniel Wallace was able to answer. It seems that we now have a first century fragment. Bart was apparently unimpressed by this news. (Credo House) […]

    • […] [Over the last couple of days have appeared numerous postings on reports that fragments of several early NT manuscripts have been identified (e.g., http://sheffieldbiblicalstudies.wordpress.com/2012/02/06/first-century-fragment-of-mark/).  A statement by  Dan Wallace in a recent debate with Bart Ehrman seems to be the source of these reports.  In the debate, Wallace says that he referred to a fragment identified as part of a first-century copy of the Gospel of Mark (http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2012/02/wallace-vs-erhman-round-three/). […]

    • J.W. Peterson

      @Tom Zelaney
      First of all, I want to agree with you that the text of the New Testament brings you face-to-face with Christ. But I would like to point out a couple of problems with your comment. First of all, is that the bible demands of us thorough critical and historical research; text criticism being no exception to this. Our faith must not be purely blind faith, but a reasoned faith. Secondly, very few text critics spend all that much time “focusing on iota’s and miss-spellings, etc” where I assume you mean other meaningless variants with “etc.” While it is good to recognize these types of variants, I don’t think anyone loses sleep over John spelling the same word three different ways in a handful of verses, and the like. Text critics are far more concerned with variants that are meaningful and viable. If you watch the debate(s), you will see this in the rhetoric of both Dr. Ehrman and Dr. Wallace.
      And finally, I think you lack an understanding of the shoulders you stand on when you pick up your English Bible. It did not just pop into existence, but rather depends on the work of text critics. The real question you must ask yourself is this: “Do I trust the words that are in my Bible just because they are in my Bible, or do I trust them because they are found in and supported by the best manuscripts?” If it is the former, I think you need to reevaluate your understanding of Scripture, and what it means to be the Word of God.

    • Nate

      Ed Babinski:

      Your most recent diatribe has only demonstrated that you are completely confusing the issue. Dr. Wallace will be the first person to tell you that he is most certainly not an apologist. As one in the field of biblical studies, his purpose is not to prove something right but rather to investigate it thoroughly and properly.

      Furthermore, rummaging in caves to “match” manuscripts has never had anything to do with Dr. Wallace’s research or argumentation, so I’m curious as to why you find that to be (continually) relevant to the conversation. When Dr. Wallace and his organization photograph and examine manuscripts, they do so in order to contribute to the field of biblical studies, not so they can prove something about the Bible. No one disagrees that there have been (and continue to be) mistakes made by some Evangelical apologists in their over-zealous attempts to defend the Bible, but that is not the issue here.

    • Michael Hansen

      James, I certainly respect your use of Scripture and agree whole-heartedly with most of what you stated. We all need to realize someone’s salvation is ultimately not dependent upon our wisdom or logic. For this reason we must accompany all our actions with prayer and love for those with whom we speak.

    • Michael Hansen

      James

      I have been to multiple areas of the world where Christianity and proselytizing is prohibited. Though we do not see similar outward pressures upon our faith we must realize there is a war going on here in America. It is won and lost on the college campuses as the next generation of leaders have their views molded and shaped. Unfortunately, because believers have not responded, a majority today believe Dan Brown’s fictional writing is an intellectual pursuit. When there is no intellectual voice for Christ many believe the church ultimately has no answers. This is false and Christians have too often propagated this deception. The church has responded to Kantian modernism on multiple levels that have discolored the truth. Fundamentalism has rejected modern liberalism and turned its back on the world and intellectual responses to it. Existentialism has responded to modernism with a blind leap of faith that is in no need of rational and is, in some cases, viewed as irrational by nature (i.e. Kierkegaard’s view of Abraham). Though many will not believe because their hearts are hardened (c.f. John 12.10), many in the world desire a view of Christ that transcends the authority of a pastor. The announcement of a manuscript penned before the canon was closed, as well as a plethora of other early manuscripts has begun to shape history. If we love the lost we will humbly seek to answer them in a manner they can best receive. God’s grace does not move independently of the mind.

    • […] that.The debate has been triggered not at least by this blog: http://csntm.org/  See also here: Credo House. Here Daniel B. Wallace says that seven New Testament papyri had recently been discovered—six of […]

    • […] this means that these early copies are within 100 years. Just recently, Dan Wallace announced that a new fragment from the Gospel of Mark was discovered dating back to the first century A.D., placing it well within 50 years of the […]

    • Jeremy O

      Dr. Wallace — After watching the debate, which was recently uploaded to Youtube, I’m curious to know what accessible editions of the Church Fathers are available concerning their quotations of the New Testament.

      Is it a tedious sifting of numerous volumes of their writings or is there something available that is more succinctly focused on their NT quotations? If so, is there a critical apparatus included? Thanks very much.

    • Ed Babinski

      Dr. Wallace, Keeping in mind Mark’s added ending, and the addition of three Gospels after Mark, I’d say that THE TEXT NEED NOT CHANGE MUCH IN ORDER FOR IT TO BE SEEN THAT THE STORY CHANGED OVER TIME, such as

      1) The changes in the story about Jesus being “anointed by a woman” in all four Gospels.

      2) The changes that the resurrection story underwent in all four Gospels starting with Mark’s version being the earliest.

      3) After Mark, the earliest Gospel, a nativity story was added latter Gospels, not just one nativity story but two different ones.

      4) Add to that the fact that in those places where Matthew and Luke could not follow Mark, where they added material to their beginnings, and endings (post-resurrection stories) that is where Matthew and Luke differ the most from each other.

      5) Even the final Gospel adds material to both the beginning and ending of Jesus’ ministry, such as the turning of water into wine, heralding it as Jesus’ first miracle, and the raising of Lazarus story, Jesus’ final miracle that cements the priests decision to see him crucified (rather than the table-turning episode which was the deciding factor in earlier Gospels).

      In literature as in movies, people expect to know more about what happened before and after the main story. So prequels and sequels are composed. It seems that the Gospel authors and their readers also expected to know more, and built on the main story in Mark, they added new beginning and ending…

    • J. Bob

      A most interesting book was written some time ago, by the French priest Fr. Jean Carmignac, “The Birth of the Synoptics”.

      Fr. Carmignac was one of the Dead Sea scholars, & fluent in 1st cent. Hebrew & Greek.

      As a side interest, he translated Greek Mark to Hebrew. It was his contention, that Mark was based on a earlier Hebrew version.

      One of the metrics he used was just in the reading. Hebrew sounded “smooth”, whereas in Greek, it sounded “rough”.

      In essence he dated all of the Gospels were pretty much complete prior to the fall of Jerusalem.

    • J. Bob

      A follow up, is the book by Claude Tresmontant, “The Gospel of Matthew”. This book gives a version of his gospels as it may have been written in Hebrew, and a commentary.

    • […] to Bart Erhman about the discovery of several New Testament papyri. Dr. Wallace has already written a summary of the debate, and below he clarifies what these papyri might mean.On 1 February 2012, I debated Bart Ehrman at […]

    • […] this means that these early copies are within 100 years. Just recently, Dan Wallace announced that a new fragment from the Gospel of Mark was discovered dating back to the first century A.D., placing it well within 50 years of the […]

    • […] this means that these early copies are within 100 years. Just recently, Dan Wallace announced that a new fragment from the Gospel of Mark was discovered dating back to the first century A.D., placing it well within 50 years of the […]

    • Morgan

      “What emerges from this survey is nothing surprising to papyrologists: paleography is not the most effective method for dating texts, particularly those written in a literary hand. Roberts himself noted this point in his edition of P52. The real problem is the way scholars of the New Testament have used and abused papyrological evidence.” (Nongbri, Brent (2005) “The Use and Abuse of P52: Papyrological Pitfalls in the Dating of the Fourth Gospel.” Harvard Theological Review 98:23-52.)

      Nongbri concluded “What I have done is to show that any serious consideration of the window of possible dates for P52 must include dates in the later second and early third centuries. Thus, P52 cannot be used as evidence to silence other debates about the existence (or non-existence) of the Gospel of John in the first half of the second century. Only a papyrus containing an explicit date or one found in a clear archaeological stratigraphic context could do the work scholars want P52 to do.”

      The same applies to this supposed 1st century manuscript. Unless this thing has an actual date or clear archaeological stratigraphic it is more wishful thinking pure and simple.

    • […] a debate that the fragment is the earliest known New Testament text. (You can read Wallace’s account of the debate and the surprising announcement at the Parchment & Pen […]

    • […] a debate that the fragment is the earliest known New Testament text. (You can read Wallace’s account of the debate and the surprising announcement at the Parchment Pen […]

    • sam

      Babinski – your comments simply show that you are way out of your depth. Stop pretending your comments are somehow conclusive or that someone of the caliber of Daniel Wallace hasn’t already thought of whatever refuse you find browsing the internet.

      Morgan – Without an explicit date, what you have is not wishful thinking but an educated conclusion based on good historical research and a little scholarly imagination. If you can’t respect that then you have no idea what the scholarly enterprise is about.

    • […] this means that these early copies are within 100 years. Just recently, Dan Wallace announced that a new fragment from the Gospel of Mark was discovered dating back to the first century AD, placing it well within 50 years of the […]

    • […] this means that these early copies are within 100 years. Just recently, Dan Wallace announced that a new fragment from the Gospel of Mark was discovered dating back to the first century AD, placing it well within 50 years of the […]

    • […] this means that these early copies are within 100 years. Just recently, Dan Wallace announced that a new fragment from the Gospel of Mark was discovered dating back to the first century AD, placing it well within 50 years of the […]

    • […] […]

    • Visit us

      Your style is very unique compared to other folks I have read stuff from. Thank you for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I’ll just bookmark this web site.

    • […] in February, Daniel Wallace announced that an early manuscript fragment of Mark’s gospel had been found, and that some were dating […]

    • […] this means that these early copies are within 100 years. Just recently, Dan Wallace announced that a new fragment from the Gospel of Mark was discovered dating back to the first century A.D., placing it well within 50 years of the […]

    • […] Three.” Parchment & Pen Blog. Credo House Ministries, 5 Feb. 2012. Web. 26 Dec. 2012. <http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2012/02/wallace-vs-erhman-round-three/ […]

    • Ali

      So, did you date the Mark Manuscripts? Is it first Century? It’s been over a year!

    • […] this means that these early copies are within 100 years. Just recently, Dan Wallace announced that a new fragment from the Gospel of Mark was discovered dating back to the first century AD, placing it well within 50 years of the […]

    • Claudio Marcelo Della Corna

      Estimado Dr. Wallace: quería saber en que localidad y país hallaron los manuscritos y que aportan como elementos nuevos a los Evangelios y restantes Cartas del Nuevo Testamento….Gracias

    • Linford

      Hi Dr Wallace.
      I was wondering after watching your debate Bart Erhman if you have any material that is available to people like myself who don’t have the time to get involved in these topics but would love to read about them.

      In our area there are lot of Muslims who attack the bible because they are getting information Mr Erhman and most Christians don’t have the academic level of knowledge to compete in the area of textual criticism.

    • BradK

      February 5, 2012 at 12:24 pm

      Daniel B. Wallace says:

      “On the first-century fragment of Mark: I wish I could tell you more, but scholarly subjects of this sort frequently are kept hush-hush until publication. I have shared all that I have been given permission to share. A year from now the book will be out and everything will be known.”

      Dr. Wallace, it has been 18 months since this comment. Has there been any update regarding the status of this fragment of Mark?

    • Gene W

      “On the first-century fragment of Mark: I wish I could tell you more, but scholarly subjects of this sort frequently are kept hush-hush until publication. I have shared all that I have been given permission to share. A year from now the book will be out and everything will be known.” Feb 2012

      Has anyone got an up date? There is a complete blackout for information on this. Was it a lie during the debate? I have only read one source about this fragment.

    • […] Ehrman vs Wallace: Round Three | Parchment and Pen. […]

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