In 2012, Dan Wallace dropped a bombshell during a debate with Bart Ehrman. Ehrman had pointed out that our earliest copy of Mark’s Gospel is dated 140 years after the gospel was first written. It’s a point often made by critics to show the unreliability of the New Testament. Wallace then revealed that he had knowledge that a first century copy of Mark’s Gospel had been discovered. He also revealed that the document would be published in a forthcoming volume by E. J. Brill.
It was all very cryptic at the time, and Ehrman later complained that Wallace should not have brought it up in the debate. Ehrman argued that bringing up this alleged discovery without providing any evidence for it was dirty pool. I disagree. It seems reasonable to mention forthcoming scholarly work with the understanding that independent verification can only come after publication of the find. In that sense, it’s only dirty pool if you are making outlandish claims. But a report out today says that a group of scholars are indeed planning to publish what they believe to be a first-century fragment of Mark’s Gospel. Continue Reading →