Is This a Photo of the Earliest NT Manuscript?

If there is anywhere in the world that one can find bad information, it’s the internet. Having said that, I noticed that someone is purporting to have a photograph of the earliest NT manuscript, the one Daniel Wallace has mentioned in recent weeks (see here and here). The manuscript is allegedly from Mark 5:15-18 and the photo, along with a discussion of it, is posted here.  This is the photo:


I’m skeptical but I suppose anything’s possible. Any thoughts from those more knowledgeable would be much appreciated!


15 thoughts on “Is This a Photo of the Earliest NT Manuscript?

  1. Pingback: Earliest Manuscript of Mark’s Gospel Found…on Facebook?! « Exploring Our Matrix

  2. Following Tim’s theme of being uncertain about what you find on the net, I found the following chart showing different examples of uncial Greek script: I know nothing about this area, but to my completely untrained eye this fragment looks most like the Greek script in P66, which is the earliest script on the chart (2nd Century). If there are examples on the net of 1st Century Greek script, I have not seen them.

    I look forward to analysis from people who know this subject area.

  3. The last link in the original post above links to a blog that makes it clear that she is not sure if the image is of the Mark fragment Daniel Wallace etc are referring to but, if it is, she has done a great job. Read that blog:

    1st-century Gospel of Mark fragment found?

    Not only did she confirm that the fragment is Mark 5:15-18 (if that’s the frag Wallace etc are talking about) but, she also figured out that it’s most likely from the 2nd or 3rd century or later.

    However, as if that’s not enough, she also discovered a much older ancient Egyptian parallel to it.

    I’ll be paying close attention to that blog and forum for sure. She’s good, real good.

    • Jo – Thanks for visiting. The link you posted is the very same one I posted so, yes, I’ve read it. As for the author’s claim about 2nd or 3rd century or later, what are her qualifications for making this judgment? She states that uncial script was popular from the 3rd to 8th centuries, but anyone who’s studied ancient Greek paleography knows that it was used in the 1st and 2nd centuries, too.

      • To be fair, it *is* Acharya S (aka D.M. Murdoch): one only needs to read one of her books to realise that she has no legitimacy whatsoever, nor any qualifications in Greek palaeography. Not to mention that she uses the TR as the, ahem, “original Greek”.

        This wouldn’t be the first time she’s stated something as fact, when it actually isn’t.

        I too remain sceptical of this image, especially as it looks far, far, far too clean to be almost 1950 years old. Compare it against this one of Papyrus 1 (250 CE, round about)

  4. Pingback: The earliest Markan manuscript? « Near Emmaus

  5. Pingback: The earliest Markan manuscript fragment? « Near Emmaus

  6. S Walch: “she has no legitimacy whatsoever”

    Those are the malicious personal attacks from the jealous and misogynistic who are incapable of acknowledging that she may be right about anything. If you think you can do better then go for it but, personal attacks directed at Acharya S aren’t necessary and just reflect poorly upon you.

    Tim Henderson: “what are her qualifications for making this judgment?”

    She studied Greek Classics for one thing. She knows Greek but, still, if you read the thread she doesn’t make any bold claims of certainty. She simply gives a quick guesstimate because, as she concedes, we still have confirmation if that’s the actual fragment or not, but if it is she may have nailed it:

    • Mike – Studying Greek Classics and knowing Greek hardly qualifies someone to be an expert in dating handwriting found on ancient papyri. I know dozens of people meeting those two criteria, so why should I take this person’s claims over anyone else? For instance, where is the record of her work in the field of dating manuscripts on the basis of paleography?

      Also, your reply to “S Walch” strikes me as odd. Since gender was not raised by that person as grounds for dismissing the claims, your accusations of misogyny strike me as being far more ad hominem than anything else I’ve read in these comments.

  7. As already made categorically clear, she doesn’t make any claims of certainty nor does she claim or even attempt to claim that she’s a paleographer. So, launching into attack mode just isn’t necessary at all. Another thing she makes clear is that we aren’t even sure if that image of Mark is the fragment in question so, just chill out. She has the right and knowledge and experience to state her opinion on this issue without being molested for it.

    S Walch has probably never read a single book of hers. I have and I’m sick and tired of all the lies from jealous and misogynistic who are incapable of acknowledging that she may be right about anything. She’s probably far better at this subject than S Walch, hence, the knee-jerk reaction and dire need to belittle her.

    Moving on, who can find out if that fragment is from Mark 5:15-18 or not? Will someone ask Wallace? Lets see an image of it!

  8. Pingback: Resources for Daniel 5:15 - 18

  9. Wallace’s response to the photo:
    “I don’t know that it’s a hoax; it looks rather like someone decided to copy out a portion of Sinaiticus onto a made-to-order fragment of rather recent vintage. I’ve got a replica leaf from P66 on papyrus myself. This sort of thing is fairly common, but the curiosity of the fragment that surfaced is that it looks like it was written on paper.”

  10. Pingback: The Oldest Manuscript of Mark? Round 3 « Euangelion Kata Markon

  11. Pingback: The Pre-Easter Update - Forgeries & Follies | The Aramaic New Testament


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