On and off of the past few months I’ve posted on which books from early Christianity — from the time of the New Testament! — I’d love to get my grubby paws on.  Here is a related question I received.  What are the chances?

QUESTION: What do you think are the odds that a really startling discovery like Q or an early Paul letter is still out there and likely to be discovered?

RESPONSE: This is a really great question, and like many really great questions, there is no really great answer.  It is, of course, impossible to come up with any actual “odds.”   The best we can say is “pretty slim indeed.” But let me put some flesh on the bare bones of that answer.

The first thing to say is that there are indeed instances in which a modern discovery has been made of a book that we had reason to suspect at one time existed.   But that very rarely happens. In virtually every case that it *has* happened, it is not a document that has been hypothesized by scholars (e.g., Q, the source thought by many scholars for the sayings found in Matthew and Luke but not in Mark; or, say, Paul’s letter to the Christian church of Laodicea).   It is a document that is actually named in an ancient source.

And so, for example, the fourth-century church father Eusebius tells an intriguing story about

Some interesting stuff here.  You would never guess how one of the “apostolic fathers” one day showed up in a fish shop.  Join the blog and you can read on! Click here for membership options