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Why Are Evangelical Scholars So Interested in Finding a First-Century Manuscript?

I have thought of a couple of scenarios that would make the discovery of a first -entury papyrus copy – even a small fragment of Mark – VERY interesting, for all of us, not just for evangelical Christian scholars intent on destroying antiquities in order to get their hands on it.   (Well, I’ve thought of these scenarios as others have suggested them….)   I’ll give the scenarios at the end of this post.  But first, assuming, as it is *relatively*, but not absolutely probable that we should, that the fragment in question is simply of a few verses in the middle of Mark’s Gospel that do not vary significantly from what we already have, I’m still obsessing with the question of why evangelical scholars would be so bound and determined to get their hands on it.   I’ll deal with that question first. It may not be obvious why it is a puzzle.  Here is why. As a rule (a rule to which I do not know a single exception), evangelical scholars of the New Testament who [...]

2020-04-03T14:08:13-04:00January 27th, 2015|New Testament Manuscripts|

Jesus Sweating Blood: Transcriptional Probabilities

I’ve been discussing the kinds of evidence that textual critics appeal to in order to make a decision concerning what an author originally wrote, when there are two or more different forms of the text – that is, where a verse or passage is worded in different ways in different manuscripts.  And I have been using the passage found (only) in (some manuscripts of) Luke of Jesus’ bloody sweat as an example.  Yesterday I discussed one kind of “internal” evidence.    Remember: external evidence deals with figuring out which manuscripts have which reading: how many manuscripts (not so important), age of the manuscripts, geographical distribution of the manuscripts, and (something I didn’t discuss) quality of the manuscripts.   And recall that internal evidence is of two kinds, the first of which is “intrinsic probabilities,” which seeks to establish which form of the text is more likely to have been written by the author himself. The second kind of internal evidence is a kind of flip side of the coin, and it’s called “transcriptional probabilities.”   With arguments/evidence of [...]

2020-04-03T16:29:24-04:00October 17th, 2014|Canonical Gospels, New Testament Manuscripts|
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