Over the last several years, there has been much discussion in the blogosphere (and beyond) about the possibility that a fragment of Mark’s Gospel had been discovered which could reliably be dated to the first century.
Most notably, the fragment was alluded to by Dan Wallace in his 2012 debate with Bart Ehrman (though no details were offered due to Wallace having signed a non-disclosure agreement). But it has also been mentioned by Scott Carroll, Craig Evans, and Josh McDowell. There was an even article about the fragment in Forbes.
Needless to say, many scholars were skeptical about the possibility of a first-century Mark for a number of reasons. For one, we have no other NT manuscripts from the first century. Our oldest is still the infamous P52, a fragment of John’s Gospel dated c. 125. Though, I think a good case could be made that P104 (P.Oxy. 4404), a second-century fragment of Matthew, is as early.
Second, we have very few early copies of Mark. [Read more…]