First-Century Mark Fragment Update

Oxyrhynchus volume 83.jpg

There has been a flurry of announcements and comments on the internet about the “First-Century Mark Fragment” (FCM) ever since Elijah Hixson posted a blog on Evangelical Textual Criticism this morning. As many know, I signed a non-disclosure agreement about this manuscript in 2012 sometime after I made an announcement about it in my third debate with Bart Ehrman at North Carolina, Chapel Hill (February 1, 2012). I was told in the non-disclosure agreement not to speak about when it would be published or whether it even exists. The termination of this agreement would come when it was published. Consequently, I am now free to speak about it.

The first thing to mention is that yes, Oxyrhynchus Papyrus 5345, published in The Oxyrhynchus Papyri, vol. 83 (2018), is the same manuscript that I spoke about in the debate and blogged about afterward. In that volume the editors date it to the second or third century. And this now is what has created quite a stir.

In my debate with Bart, I mentioned that I had it on good authority that this was definitely a first-century fragment of Mark. A representative for who I understood was the owner of FCM urged me to make the announcement at the debate, which they realized would make this go viral. However, the information I received and was assured to have been vetted was incorrect. It was my fault for being naïve enough to trust that the data I got was unquestionable, as it was presented to me. So, I must first apologize to Bart Ehrman, and to everyone else, for giving misleading information about this discovery. While I am sorry for publicly announcing inaccurate facts, at no time in the public statements (either in the debate or on my blogsite) did I knowingly do this. But I should have been more careful about trusting any sources without my personal verification, a lesson I have since learned.

Personal History

Prior to the Debate
Just prior to the debate, this representative discussed with me the discovery of FCM. It was my understanding that their group had purchased the papyrus; had I known otherwise, I never would have made the public announcement. I was urged—and authorized—to make the announcement at the debate. I was also told that a high-ranking papyrologist had confirmed that FCM was definitely a first-century manuscript. On that basis, I made the announcement.

After the debate I posted a blog entitled, First-Century Fragment of Mark’s Gospel Found!?, which came online March 22, 2012. Hundreds of comments were made on that blog, all the way up to the end of 2017. Many of them were negative, asking me why I didn’t say more. I have been accused of dissemblage or incompetence or both. But I could not say more. The reason was simple: I was asked not to say more.

Some thought that I was the one who discovered the fragment or that I was the one editing it for publication. Whenever this was suggested, I denied both. I had not even seen the fragment!

Post-Non-disclosure Agreement
Later in 2012 I did get the opportunity to see the manuscript. I was allowed to see it only after I signed a non-disclosure agreement. From that point on, I have essentially kept my mouth shut (though I was also asked not to take the blog down, since that would only raise more questions). What struck me about the fragment especially was that in Mark 1.17 instead of αυτοις ο Ιησους the papyrus did not have ο Ιησους. I thought at the time that, if this really was a first-century fragment (which I was not prepared, with my limited knowledge of papyrology and paleography, to claim), it most likely was due to ο Ιησους existing as a nomen sacrum already in the first century. I surmised that the exemplar that the scribe was copying from most likely read αυτοιςοις (no spacing, and Ιησους written with just the first and last letters with a supralinear bar over them). The scribe of FCM then could have easily and accidentally skipped over the duplicated οις. Alternatively, it was possible that the scribe’s exemplar did not have ο Ιησους, but this seemed far less likely.

Nomina sacra are a well-known phenomenon in New Testament manuscripts from the earliest papyri, although the reasons for their creation are not altogether clear. (For a recent discussion, see Larry Hurtado, Earliest Christian Artifacts: Manuscripts and Christian Origins [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006], 95–134.) To find a first-century fragment whose exemplar most likely had this nomen sacrum was truly exciting! But was it really from the first century? With only a few minutes looking at the papyrus, and no permission to take pictures, I too had to wait, like everyone else, to see the publication.

In virtually every speaking engagement I have had since then, the question inevitably comes up: “What can you tell us about the first-century Mark fragment?” The answer is always the same: I’ve signed a non-disclosure agreement.

Somewhere along the line, I learned that the world-class papyrologist who dated the fragment to the first century had already, prior to my debate with Ehrman, adjusted his views. He was not so certain about the date (perhaps it was early second century). I learned that the rep knew, two weeks prior to the debate, that the papyrologist had changed his views. But I was told none of this. Regrettably, even when I made the announcement in Chapel Hill, I was giving misinformation. Even more regrettable, I have not been able to reveal the papyrologist’s uncertainty until now.

Further, I did not know that FCM was dated to the second/third century until I saw Elijah Hixson’s blog. The reasons for my silence had to do exclusively with the fact that I signed a non-disclosure agreement. Journalists, authors, newspaper editors, and many, many others have asked for information about it. But I was not allowed to say anything. Some have accused me of being silent to protect my reputation; just the opposite is the case. I was silent because I gave my word to be, even if it would hurt my reputation.

Final Reflections
One of the lessons my wife and I drilled into our four sons was that their integrity would be in question unless there were times when being honest hurt them. When they repeatedly told us they were telling the truth, but the consequences were always to their advantage, we couldn’t trust them. In short, integrity sometimes hurts. I am glad that this fragment has finally been published, so that I can get past the accusations and condemnations. To be sure, there is much to criticize me for, in particular that I did not personally verify the information I received about this manuscript before announcing it to the world. But the speculations about my character otherwise I would hope have been resolved.


160 thoughts on “First-Century Mark Fragment Update

  1. Barry72

    Wow! So sorry that someone lied to you and created problems for you. That could happen to anyone. We cannot verify all the information that comes to us. We have to pick a few items to further examine. Your word will always be good with those who know you.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Prof. Cecily Cogsworth

      We cannot verify all the information that comes to us. We have to pick a few items to further examine.

      A fragment of a FCM surely would qualify for inclusion in a list of ‘a few items’ don’t you agree?


  2. RWL

    Does it really matter if someone found a Greek copy of, maybe, another Greek copy, of the original Syriac, Judeo-Aramic, or Galilean Aramaic text (maybe even Hebrew due to the Old Testament being originally written in Hebrew….but scholars believed that Aramaic replaced-or became the dominant language-the Hebrew language around the 5th or 6th century B.C.)?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. RWL

        “For centuries, it has been believed that the New Testament was first written in Greek. … Some scholars now lean increasingly towards the thought that Aramaic and Hebrew texts of the New Testament are the original manuscripts, and that many of the Greek texts are copies, and a second generation from the originals! This is radically changing translation concepts, and will result in many new translations of the New Testament based on Aramaic.” [Excerpted from “Translator’s Introduction” to Letters from Heaven by the Apostle Paul, the fourth instalment of The Passion Translation], cited by Holly Pivec, Spirit of Error blog. ↩

        Liked by 1 person

      2. RWL

        ‘it’s wise to look at what the early Church had to say on the subject of an Aramaic Original. Catholic apologists, theologians, and Scripture scholars of the second through fifth centuries provide us with a wealth of information on this subject (Aramaic Original).’

        ‘Around 180 Irenaeus of Lyons wrote that:

        ‘Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching in Rome and laying the foundation of the Church. After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, did also hand down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter. Luke also, the companion of Paul, recorded in a book the Gospel preached by him. Afterwards John, the disciple of the Lord, who also had leaned upon his breast, did himself publish a Gospel during his residence at Ephesus in Asia. (Against Heresies 3:1:1)
        Fifty years earlier Papias, bishop of Hieropolis in Asia Minor, wrote, “Matthew compiled the sayings [of the Lord] in the Aramaic language, and everyone translated them as well as he could” (Explanation of the Sayings of the Lord [cited by Eusebius in History of the Church 3:39]).’

        ‘Sometime after 244 the Scripture scholar Origen wrote, “Among the four Gospels, which are the only indisputable ones in the Church of God under heaven, I have learned by tradition that the first was written by Matthew, who was once a publican, but afterwards an apostle of Jesus Christ, and it was prepared for the converts from Judaism and published in the Hebrew language” (Commentaries on Matthew [cited by Eusebius in History of the Church 6:25]).’

        ‘Eusebius himself declared that “Matthew had begun by preaching to the Hebrews, and when he made up his mind to go to others too, he committed his own Gospel to writing in his native tongue [Aramaic], so that for those with whom he was no longer present the gap left by his departure was filled by what he wrote” (History of the Church 3:24 [inter 300-325}’

        “They [the Nazarenes] have the Gospel according to Matthew quite complete in Aramaic, for this Gospel is certainly still preserved among them as it was first written, in Aramaic letters.” – Epiphanius (370 CE)

        “Matthew, who is also Levi, and from a tax collector came to be an apostle first of all evangelists composed a Gospel of Christ in Judea in the Aramaic language and letters, for the benefit of those of the circumcision who had believed; who translated it into Greek is not sufficiently ascertained. Furthermore, the Aramaic itself is preserved to this day in the library at Caesarea, which the martyr Pamphilus so diligently collected. I also was allowed by the Nazarenes who use this volume in the Syrian city of Berea to copy it. In which is to be remarked that, wherever the evangelist… makes use of the testimonies of the Old Testament, he does not follow the authority of the seventy translators [the Greek Septuagint], but that of the Aramaic.” – Jerome (382 CE)

        Please remember I (RWL) don’t support or advocate for the Peshitta Primary school of thought (advocating for a Syriac Aramaic Original NT text). I am more of a Galilean Aramaic Primary School of Thought. Even thought we dont have an original text in Galilean Aramaic, I do believe in the theory of absence of evidence doesn’t mean evidence is absent……

        Liked by 2 people

    1. RWL,

      First of all, Holly Pivec was quoting the rather dubious Bible “translation” by Brian Simmons as an apologetic against it. Simmons has questionable credentials as a translator or historian. In her Amazon review of this “translation” Simmons responded to some of my comments challenging his notions. After I further challenged him, he eventually deleted his own comments. Why he did that one can only speculate.

      In David Alan Black’s book Why Four Gospels? (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 2001), the author, an NT Greek professor, puts forth his position of Matthean priority, as opposed to the usual position of Markan priority (he asserts that Matthew precedes Mark, not vice versa), and he references Eusebius’ work en route to making a point:

      [I]t is often claimed Irenaeus asserted that Mark wrote after the death of Peter, when he asserted nothing of the kind. Furthermore, many have overlooked J. Kürzinger’s discovery that hebraidi dialektō almost certainly means “in a Hebrew style” and not “in (the) Hebrew language” (pp 49-50)

      In the footnote reference accompanying this, Black states:

      …Kürzinger explains that in the first century dialektōs commonly meant both “language” and “style,” so that the phrase in [Eusebius’] Ecclesiastical History 3.39.16 could mean either “in a Hebrew language” or “in a Hebrew style,” depending on context. In the present context, the Elder had been explaining some problems in the style and/or content of Mark, since it possessed neither the Jewish style of Matthew nor the normal literary style of a Greek biography such as Luke’s. The absence of the article in the phrase hebraidi dialektō is further support of the view taken here. Cf. Orchard and Riley, Order of the Synoptics, 198-99 (=excursus 2: “The Origin of the Notion of an ‘Aramaic’ Gospel of Matthew”). Origen, mistakenly thinking that Papias was referring to the language in which Matthew was written, stated that Matthew was “composed in Hebrew characters.” This error was perpetuated by later writers (p 50).

      All this to say Black corrects the record, providing evidence suggesting Matthew was not written originally in Hebrew (or Aramaic). The Catholic Church holds that Matthew was written in Hebrew, further perpetuating Origin’s mistaken assertion, which was then perpetuated in the Church “Fathers”, and so on. The origin of the error is Origen!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. RWL


        To Your first comment: ‘First of all…..Simmons….questionable credentials….’:

        I am only using the Holly Pivec quote of Simmons, not to support, speak against, or advocate for Simmons or Pivec. I am merely using this to show that this point/statement by Simmons (and other non-experts like me & you) have numerous list of Aramaic & Greek NT support:

        To your second point about utilizing Dr. Black, a Greek NT Scholar. What do you expect him to say or advocate for? He is definitely showing his bias in favor of the Greek? Look at what you quoted: ‘could mean either in a Hebrew language or in a Hebrew style.’ He is not an expert in Hebrew or Aramaic. He even believes that Origen made an error in understanding the difference between style and language from Papias? Why not look at what the experts in NT Aramaic and Hebrew suggest, as the link provides?

        Also, if you read my other sources about Origen, then you will see that Origen made his comments ‘sometime after 244’. However, Papias wrote his beliefs around 130. Did you see my quote of Papias, followed by Irenaeus of Lyons in 180? For some reason you chose to ignore this? You also chose to ignore the other article that I listed, advocating for Aramaic Primacy. Why? Are your biases showing as well? Also, Jerome in 382 or Epiphanius in 370, comments definitely is not supporting the ‘error or following in the footsteps of Origen.’ They examined the info for themselves. Please review and research how these authors came about their conclusions.

        I gave you a quote from that the early Catholic Church fathers believed the original NT was written in Aramaic, not Hebrew (there is a difference). Origen stated Hebrew (even though I dont agree with Origen, there are plenty of Aramaic and Hebrew NT Scholars who agree with him. Just review the link that I provided). Others (Irenaeus, Papias, Jerome, Eusebius, Epiphanius) stated Aramaic. You are confusing the two languages.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The bottom line is that we have absolutely no extant physical evidence to support Aramaic/Hebrew originals. By that I mean none that can be dated earlier than any NT Greek manuscript. It’s all highly speculative.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Greg Logan

      RWL – I greatly appreciate you contribution to this blog. I sincerely hope you will remain as one of the 7,000 that have not bowed their knee to evangelical Ba-al

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s good to finally have more information about this subject. I’m glad that you no longer have to carry the burden of silence on the matter. The fact you were willing to do so despite the personal cost involved speaks highly of your personal integrity. For me, questions regarding your character never arose. Thank you for your many services to the world of biblical scholarship and for your commitment to the Lord.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Mike

      ” I’m glad that you no longer have to carry the burden of silence on the matter. The fact you were willing to do so despite the personal cost involved speaks highly of your personal integrity.”

      But, Jim there is much more that he could be telling us and considering the fact that he was mislead, I’m unsure of why he hasn’t offered more.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. pgurry

    Thanks for this, Dan. Appreciate your integrity to the non-disclosure agreement despite everyone (EVERYONE) wanting to know more.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Pingback: Fragment of Mark dating to 80’s | Psa 27:4

  6. Agreed. Must be a weight to finally be able to speak about FCM, Dan. Your integrity remains every bit intact; a testament to the quality of your scholarship. Thanks for the update.

    Liked by 1 person


    … and how you respond to challenges, such as this one, demonstrate your integrity and why I am so grateful for your testimony and impact on my life, not to mentions hundreds of other students!

    Bernie A. Cueto, Ph.D. Campus Pastor Associate Professor Biblical and Theological Studies Palm Beach Atlantic University

    Sent from my iPhone

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Eric Rowe

    Thank you Dr. Wallace. I appreciate how you wrote this post and how you dealt with the difficult position you’ve been in these past 5 years.

    I gather that you are deliberately not naming names here. But in case you are comfortable saying who this owner was, or if you even knew who they were, and are allowed to disclose that now that your NDA is over, I and I’m sure many others would be very curious.

    Do you know if it’s possible that the high-ranking papyrologist whom you do not name himself was the owner?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Greg Logan


      You set a pretty low bar for “costly integrity” and “humility”. I guess that is why we have the current WH occupant being lauded as the next Messiah by the white American evangelical community….


      Liked by 1 person

  9. Bob

    Someone played you. If it is truly authentic, why would the rep fail to mention the dating change when they urged you to make the announcement? Suspicious, hopefully it does not turn out to be a forgery.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bob

      Do you know the name of the papyrologist who dated the mss? When did you become aware of their name, before or after you made the announcement?

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Ken Scaletta

    You shouldn’t have said anything at all if you didn’t really know. If nothing else, that was unprofessional and definitely uncritical. a 1st Century Gospel manuscript is an awfully big camel to swallow on nothing but the word of a single non-expert. You should have told him that you could not responsibly make this announcement without certain verification. You may not have been intentionally dishonest, but you were stunningly naive and, frankly, rather arrogant.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Jeff Dockman

      Given Dr. Wallace apologized for his mistake, including acknowledging his naiveté in this matter, was your post really necessary? It seems rather uncharitable to reiterate what Dr. Wallace already said himself.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Prof. Cecily Cogsworth

        The thing is, Wallace used what should have been the revelation of a major discovery in the field as a cheap debating technique- the ambush.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. J Martin (Joe) Thomas

        Prof Cogsworth

        You are calling Wallace a liar. That is a pretty strong accusation. He clearly said

        1. He was encouraged to speak about it in the debate
        2. He trusted his source
        3. He admitted it was a mistake to do so and apologized for it, and he didn’t make an excuse or defend himself.

        By saying it was a cheap debating tactic, you are calling him a liar. I find that offensive, knowing the character of the man. He has freely admitted he made a mistake, and should have known better. But you are accusing him of deception. What is your evidence that he is lying?

        Do you make the same accusations against Ehrman? He uses cheap debating tactics in every debate I have ever heard him participate in. He makes claims that, as a bible scholar, he knows are not true. The alternative to his being disingenuous is that Ehrman is really, really bad at his job of being head of the bible department at a major university. He regularly says things that would earn a failing grade for a freshman in one of his bible exegesis 101 classes. Since I know that Ehrman is a pretty good scholar, it is more likely that he is dishonest when publicly debating.

        If you also have accused Ehrman of lying, then I apologize for accusing you of a double standard.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Greg Logan

        J Martin – At best what was offered was a cheap apology that did not nearly reflect the scurrilous nature in which this text was used to beat on Ehrman in the debate. You can see the other issues I raised as to Dan’s smug spirit which he came off with – when he did not even know better. This was such a pathetically tawdry affair that stands as a complete black mark on his character. His character has been made manifest – and there is nothing good to know about it. I would never trust him regarding anything.

        Greg Logan

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Greg Logan

        J Martin

        As to your condemnations of Ehrman – your are merely accusing him with baseless accusation. We have clear and significant evidence of Dan’s failure – OTOH we have NO evidence – certainly none provided by you – of anything except superb academic efforts (despite a few exegetical flaws) and unending integrity from Ehrman.

        If you want to throw skubala in the public – at least have the integrity to provide clear evidential matter. Otherwise you appear as simply a loudmouth partisan judge – a character entirely condemned by the Word of God.

        In Christ

        Greg Logan

        Liked by 1 person

      5. J Martin (Joe) Thomas

        Robert, that is exactly what she is doing. He said he listened to someone who told him to share the “news” (that turned out to be false) and he said he was wrong to do it. She is accusing him a f cheap debate tactic – in other words, he knew it was fake news, but shared it anyway.

        I take him at his word that he was mistaken, and he was wrong for speaking about it without proof.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. J Martin (Joe) Thomas

        I think this has descended into what Paul referred to as “foolish and stupid arguments” so I am done commenting. If the moderator wants to delete my comments defending Dan, go ahead. I think the beating on a man who has already apologized and said he was wrong is mean-spirited.

        As far as my comments about Ehrman, I could quickly list half a dozen times he made points in various using what I believe are “cheap debating tactics.” (claiming the bible is saying something it clearly doesn’t say, and as a chair of a bible department, he would expect a freshman student to know). But this is completely off-topic and I should not have brought it up. I made the point because I felt Prof Cogsworth was showing a bias against one side of the debate.

        The only reason I have followed this post for several years was my interest in the FCM (that is not really FCM after all). Dr Wallace is a big boy and doesn’t need me to defend him, so I will say farewell. Good luck and God bless.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Robert

        No, she did NOT say that he knew it to be fake news. It was not a cheap debating technique because it was untrue. It was a cheap debating technique because it was a surprise announcement, not sourced or referenced in any way, and thus incapable of being properly discussed.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I am dishearten of such discovery, i was regularly looking and surfing through different websites for the news, but since the Mark fragment is dated to 2nd/3rd century it was a big grief for me. But hope so in future God willing we will do better. Thanks for your honesty and surely Muslims, atheist and agnostics will be happy with this information. Well, God bless you and your family and keep you in good health.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. J Martin (Joe) Thomas

    Thanks Dan, for your honesty. I’ve been a Dan Wallace “fan” for quite some time. I am on my second time through the 37-lesson textual criticism class. I sure wish it had been an earlier MS, but hey, what can you do. My faith does not rest on any of the the individual MSS but the overall reliability of the text.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Ed Komoszewski

    I have known Dan Wallace for two decades. I became his student in 1998 and served as his intern from 1998-99. He mentored me in Greek grammar, syntax, and exegesis. And he instilled in me a love for Christology, which remains my area of specialty and passion to this day. After I graduated from DTS in 2000, I maintained close contact with Dan. He became my confidant as I navigated various ministries for the next several years. In 2005, a dream of mine came true when Dan and I worked together on a book about Jesus that was published in 2006. We shared speaking dockets and began to develop a deep friendship that has lasted to this day. We have become so close that part of the reason our family relocated from Minnesota to Texas in 2016 was so that I would be closer to him. I think it’s safe to say that apart from Dan’s wife and family, I know him as well as anyone else does.

    Others have already mentioned Dan’s integrity, to which I can personally attest. But I’d like to say more. I know that Dan has had to maintain radio silence all these years and I have watched him agonize over not being allowed to speak up. He has patiently endured countless rumors and speculations about his motives, integrity, and competence. Frankly, it’s quite unsettling to see how vicious some people can be on social media (even Christians!) when they know nothing of which they speak. In this age of faceless comments—often anonymous—a person’s true colors are frequently revealed. Over the last five or so years, I’ve seen some pretty ugly hues.

    I hope that one very important fact will not go unnoticed in the disclosure made today: We now have a possible second-century fragment of Mark’s Gospel! Even if it is third century, this is an incredibly significant find. And here is one more piece of evidence that speaks to the essential reliability of the New Testament text. Let’s honor that text by avoiding the slander, gossip, and malice it condemns.

    Liked by 5 people

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  15. Wayne V. Amelung

    Thank you, Professor Wallace for your explanation and your experiences, but most of all, thank you for your outspoken commitment to Jesus Christ in your writings and some of your videos. Your explanations suggest you were manipulated. None of us are perfect, even as professionals. Yes, there have been many different opinions. Yes, you took the heat from some, even in this blog. As you already know, the only person’s opinion that counts is the historically resurrected Jesus Christ whom you serve for the Christian Community! So, daily claim and experience the power, peace, and joy of Jesus Christ in your life, in your work, in your family! A First-Century Gospel fragment is not essential. Jesus trained his apostles to an exceptionally high degree of ethical integrity. The apostles, likewise, trained the next generation of disciples to the same exceptionally high degree of ethical integrity (2 Timothy 2:2). Numerous public debates verified the accuracy of the Gospels accounts. We have, in the 21st Century, what the apostles had in the 1st Century. The Gospels were not corrupted or changed over the decades, alleged discrepancies notwithstanding; textual variants notwithstanding. Jesus Christ came to save sinners who are willing to repent of sins and receive Jesus into their lives and obey him. Too many of us ignore him … at our peril. Thanks, Dan. God bless your life and work serving Him!

    Wayne V. Amelung

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Pingback: So-called “First Century Mark.” Wow. (with a coda on Oxyrhynchus inventory numbers) | Variant Readings

  17. Peter Head

    Thanks Dan,
    It was stupid to believe such things. It seems like you were used in a scam designed to raise the price of FCM. For the right price it would have been stolen from the Oxy Pap collection and sold to the high bidder. Fortunately the price was not met and the fragment has remained in the collection. I suppose it turns out now that the NDA was not actually made with the legal owner of the fragment and actually had no legal force. Anyway, thanks for this helpful post, and best wishes.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. RWL


    Did you read my last statement or examine the links that I provided? It is obvious that you didn’t. I will quote myself: ‘absence of evidence doesn’t mean evidence is absent.’ There is a tidal wave of info abandoning the belief of Greek NT Primacy…….you should read the links that I provided and stop doing what I did years ago: allowing my bias of Greek NT Primacy cloud my capability of learning new info. There is a new sheriff in town, and her name is Aramaic Primacy. Here is another quote from the link that I provided you:

    ‘Many Greek scholars are also publishing findings, proving from the Greek side, beyond a shadow of doubt, that the New Testament was originally penned in Aramaic, not Hebrew and not Greek, as many have been taught.’

    Liked by 1 person

      1. RWL


        Smh….Read the links that I provided! There is a list of articles and books on the last link that I provided. You got some homework/classwork to do before you are ready for the final exams!

        God bless, take care!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. RWL,

        I don’t have the time to go down some sort of rabbit hole. However, since you’ve already been looking into this idea, it shouldn’t be very difficult for you to provide a few of these “many Greek scholars”. Simple question.

        Liked by 1 person

  19. Robert

    “… I had it on good authority that this was definitely a first-century fragment of Mark. A representative for who I understood was the owner of FCM urged me to make the announcement at the debate, which they realized would make this go viral. … It was my fault for being naïve enough to trust that the data I got was unquestionable … I was urged—and authorized—to make the announcement at the debate. … I learned that the rep knew, two weeks prior to the debate, that the papyrologist had changed his views. …”

    So, in addition to trusting an authority, it sounds as if you were also actively deceived by this representative. Someone trying to increase the sales price in the antiquities market? Perhaps you should identify the persons involved. In the comments over at the ETC blog, someone thought you were implicating Scott Carroll in this deception, who denied it, saying that he only learned yesterday that Dirk Obbink had changed his view of the dating.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Pingback: Is There a First-Century Fragment of Mark’s Gospel? Apparently Not – Canon Fodder

  21. Pingback: First Century manuscript of Mark published! : : Aractus

  22. Darrell

    Dr. Wallace,

    Thank you for your transparency–while first century would have been a great discovery, this Mark fragment, along with the Luke fragment published with it are still represent early manuscripts and are therefore exciting finds. Thank you for your passion to preserve and study ancient NT manuscripts–looking forward to following the fruits of your continued work.


    Liked by 1 person

  23. Interesting discussion, other than the off-topic Aramaic NT

    Ken Scaletta above makes a very good point. And I would add that the ambush attempt to bring this up in the debate with Bart Erhman was incredibly tacky. You know the opponent cannot respond and you make a fantastic claim to get some cheap debating points?

    And now the bar of expectation of papyri is totally changed.

    And, once it became clear you had made a real mess of it, why sign an NDA? Why not simply clear the air with something like:

    ““The date I gave at the debate has, afaik, no real palaeographic proof at this time. I erred in bringing it up at all, and more so as a debate ambush. Please do not use my statement as any basis of conjecture.”

    One simple statement, BEFORE any NDA, would have been so helpful. And Daniel, you never explain why you signed the NDA, when you could have undone much of the damage very easily.

    Now, it is very good that you have come up with a mea culpa of sorts. Necessary and proper.
    ** Heartily appreciated. **

    As for the actual dating issues, Brent Nongbri has done a superb job showing how the terminus post quem assigned to papyri are often totally unreliable. And he also has discussed the Oxyrhynchus Papyri provenance issues, which may apply here. My conjecture is that the true palaeography for this fragment is more like 2nd through 5th centuries.

    The whole emphasis on the localized papyri in Egypt is wrong textually as well. They are largely wild and unreliable fragments. Even Kurt Aland warned of that, due to the localized nature combined with the gnostic influences.


    Brent Nongbri tries to bring sense to papyri dating:

    So-called “First Century Mark.” Wow. (with a coda on Oxyrhynchus inventory numbers)
    May 24, 2018…/so-called-first-century…/

    Provenance and The Oxyrhynchus Papyri
    Dec 13, 2017…/provenance-and-the…/


    Steven Avery
    Dutchess County, NY
    Pure Bible Forum

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Prof. Cecily Cogsworth

      And I would add that the ambush attempt to bring this up in the debate with Bart Erhman was incredibly tacky. You know the opponent cannot respond and you make a fantastic claim to get some cheap debating points?

      The EES has confirmed the papyrus in question was never for sale.
      Surely Wallace must have confirmed the actual ownership of the fragment?
      With whom did he sign a NDA?
      With EES?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Greg Logan

        Prof – Superb points… obvious….but superb…. Too bad some others are not able to pull up to the level of basic observation (much less integrity).


        Liked by 2 people

  24. Pingback: First Century Manuscript, Mummy Masks, Hobby Lobby, The Museum of the Bible, and waiting! [UPDATE: and . . . not first century] | Is Christianity True?

  25. Maurice Robinson

    As for the nomen sacrum issue in relation to a possible omission of O IHSOUS, the other side of the fragment clearly appears to have the nomen sacrum PNI for PNEUMATI, thereby demonstrating the present of such in the MS, regardless of date.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Rob Oster

    Greetings Dr. Wallace,

    It simply demonstrates that there is only one who is infallible. Thanks for posting the information once you were no longer obligated to keep silent.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Pingback: Fragment from Gospel of Mark is not from the First Century – Biblical Scholarship

  28. Pingback: The First Century fragment of Mark saga – The Big Salad

    1. RWL

      To Dan & All:

      I would like to apology for several mistakes that I made on this blog over the past few hours/days (I was informed that some of my statements were grossly inaccurate):

      1. I like to apologize for not giving much insight & info to those who advocate for a Hebraic Primacy of the New Testament. Jeff Benner’s ‘Semitic Origins of the NT’ is a strong case for Hebraic Primacy.

      2. I like to apologize to the Peshitta Primacists for labeling their work as Old Syriac Aramaic. This is like ‘a slap in the face’ to them due to the historical origins of the term ‘Old Syriac’ (I was informed by an historian that it is similar to calling the inhabitants/descendants of the land/kingdom of Axum, Ethiopians. Ancient Greeks called the inhabitants of land Ethiopians. In Greek, Ethiopia means ‘land of burnt faces.’) I only advocated for Galilean Aramaic Primacy by only consulting Steve Caruso’s website, instead of looking into the reason for why advocates, like Chris Lancaster’s ” Historical Proofs of the New Testament, Suggest Peshitta Primacy – Part 1″ , favor Peshitta Primacy. After reviewing Lancaster’s & other advocates of Peshitta Primacy research, I cannot say with definitive honesty which of the three primacies-Hebraic, Aramaic Peshitta, or Galilean Aramaic-that I favor.

      3. Most important, I like to apologize to Dan Wallace for going off topic on his blog. I do believe that those who are attacking him (how do you attack someone who sincerely apologizes? I also believe that Ed’s defense of Dan should be eulogized somewhere on Dan’s desk/wall. It was an awesome hand of support that I wish to receive when I finish my Ph.D. by individuals that I will mentor in the future, when I make a mistake & apologize for it, and then be attacked after apologizing.) deserve more attention than condoning my off topic (Even though I believe my statements were right on topic, this is not my blog. Hence, I apologize.) remarks.

      God Bless All, Take Care……..

      Liked by 1 person

  29. Gene

    If the manuscript is officially dated late 2nd to early 3rd century would it not be a sign of integrity for you to stop calling it the First Century Mark Fragmant (FRM)?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. J Martin (Joe) Thomas

      give me a break. it’s been called FCM for several years now. NOBODY in this chain is claiming it is first century now. Fussing over the nomenclature is ridiculous.


      1. Gene

        Should you be given a break for finding attention to detail ridiculous, especially in a field of study where scholars can spend their working lives studying details?

        You are placing tradition above facts. This is Christian apologetics, not historical scholarship.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Gene – Which spirit is the source of the whole problem – these peddlers are more interested in “winning” debate points rather than genuine intellectual scholarship. Sorry for the term – but, “sad”.

        Liked by 1 person

  30. Gary

    We all make mistakes. You admitted your error and apologized. Let’s move on.

    Both Christians and skeptics are eager to pounce on any new evidence which supports their position. We must all be careful. This episode teaches us that we must all carefully examine the evidence before we pounce. It’s not fun having egg on your face. (I’ve had my share of “egg”.)

    It would be wonderful to have a first century copy of Mark! But what would it really prove? It would only prove that later scribes did a good job of copying earlier copies. That’s it. Even if we find the ORIGINAL Gospel of Mark, what will it prove? Will it prove that the stories in that original are historically accurate?


    The big question is: Did the author of the original Gospel of Mark base his stories on verified historical events, or were his stories based on hearsay, rumor, or even his own invention?

    Answer: We will probably never know!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gary

      One more point: No quantity of copies, even a gazillion of them, proves that the original four Gospels were eyewitness accounts or that they contain eyewitness information. The fact is that the overwhelming majority of NT scholars do NOT believe that the Gospels were written by eyewitnesses or the associates of eyewitnesses. And this scholarly consensus is not based on a bias against the supernatural. Even the overwhelming majority of Roman Catholic NT scholars (such as Raymond Brown) share this view, and last I checked, Roman Catholics are not biased against the supernatural. Anglican scholar NT Wright has said, “I do not know who the authors of the Gospels were, nor does anyone else.” This consensus view is based on the EVIDENCE, not a bias.

      The truth is that the only scholars who still believe in the eyewitness authorship of the Gospels are almost exclusively evangelicals and fundamentalist Protestants.

      The days of conservative Christians trotting out the Gospels as primary source documents in support of Christianity’s supernatural claims are over. Neither first century copies of Mark nor any other gospel is going to change that fact.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. J Martin (Joe) Thomas

        Gary, I suggest you read “Jesus and the Eyewitnesses” by Bauckham. It’s excellent, but it’s scholarly, not an easy read. I assume you are open to reading more than internet blogs.

        The non-witness bias is similar to all scholars agreeing for nearly a century that Bauer was right when he said John was definitely not written until AD 170. Then P52 put nearly a century of the world’s best scholarship into the trash pile. Just because many “experts” agree (and you have greatly overstated it, by the way) does not make it true.


      2. The key words you use are “believe” and “supernatural.” It is important to point out in whom (what supernatural) you believe. Not having a firm foundation means that the supernatural believed in is made relative and changeable. God is unchanging.


  31. Pingback: Evangelical Scholar Daniel Wallace Forced to Admit: There is No First Century Fragment of Mark – Escaping Christian Fundamentalism

    1. J Martin (Joe) Thomas

      KIA I do not think you are being fair. If a scholar has something that is pending being published, they want enough to be known so people will buy their book, but not so much as to give it away. I take Dan at his word, and I think what he read explained the situation adequately.


      1. The point was the Wallace s/h known better – the more important point is that Wallace in his debate was so filled with a supercilious attitude about this fragment that it was disgusting…. And now I just hear pathetic excuses.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. @KIA
      Really? Let’s be perfectly honest here, shall we? We are talking about Christian Apologetics. It hasalways been about ”What can we get away with in the absence of genuine evidence and what will this lot believe?”

      When has the truth ever been paramount?

      Liked by 1 person

  32. So, is Dr. Craig Evans going come from out of the shadows and face the music. On multiple occasions over the years, Dr. Evans actually claimed to have direct involvement with the Markan manuscript. Seems Evans has a lot of explaining to do!

    Liked by 3 people

  33. Gary

    Hi J Martin (Joe):

    If you have evidence that the majority of NT scholars DO believe that eyewitnesses or associates of eyewitnesses wrote the Gospels, please share a reputable source that confirms this. I can give several reputable sources which say you are wrong…including Richard Bauckham!

    I have read Richard Bauckham’s book, “Jesus and the Eyewitnesses”. In fact, I reviewed it chapter by chapter on my blog. I will give a quote by Bauckham, from his book, below.


    1. Gary

      “The argument of this book [Jesus and the Eyewitnesses]–that the texts of our Gospels are close to the eyewitness reports of the words and deeds of Jesus–runs counter to almost all recent scholarship. As we have indicated from time to time, the prevalent view is that a long period of oral transmission in the churches intervened between whatever the eyewitnesses said and the Jesus traditions as they reached the Evangelists [the authors of the Gospels]. No doubt the eyewitnesses started the process of oral tradition, but it passed through many retellings, reformulations, and expansions before the Evangelists themselves did their own editorial work on it.” —conservative NT scholar, Richard Bauckham, “Jesus and the Eyewitnesses”, p. 240

      Gary: Notice: “almost all recent scholarship”: That is an admission by a very conservative evangelical NT scholar that your view is a very small minority opinion in current scholarship.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. J Martin (Joe) Thomas

        Gary, I am not claiming that the majority of NT scholars believe the gospels were written by eyewitnesses. They don’t. The view that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were eyewitnesses (or associates of eyewitnesses) is a minority view today among scholars.

        But that is not evidence. (that’s the logical fallacy of “appeal to authority.”) I made the point earlier that the majority of scholars for 3/4 of a century were certain that John was not written until about AD 170, and that was definitively disproven with the discovery of P52.

        Since you have already read Bauckham I’ll stop writing. I can’t add to his arguments.


  34. Pingback: Фрагмент от ев. според Марк от 1 век (обновено) | Rado's blog

  35. Pingback: Recommended Reading: May 26 | Pursuing Veritas

  36. Pingback: Mysterious Mark Fragment Published | Apologetics315

  37. Pingback: Beware New Artifacts, or How “First”-Century Mark Fits a Pattern | I Think my Bible Bit Its Tongue…

  38. Greg Logan


    Quite frankly the issue really was not so much your announcement in that debate – a debate which I have listened to thoroughly at least twice – but the SMUGNESS and SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS with which you made the announcement – with no sense of tentativeness, etc.

    You demonstrated far more interest in debate tactics than in true academics and integrity – your spirit was and is the issue – as you have not addressed this character issue.

    While I would hope you would – knowing the sort of lofty perch DTS places itself on – albeit with no foundational basis as anyone with a bit of knowledge knows – I am not so hopeful….

    In Christ

    Greg Logan

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Gary

    Here is a video tape of evangelical apologist Gary Habermas touting the “confirmed” authenticity of this fragment of Mark in February of this year, 2018!!! Why did Habermas persist in making this claim for so many years? (His comments on this subject begin at time: 22 minutes.)

    Liked by 2 people

  40. Patty

    When I first read your post I thought it was very forthcoming. But the thing is, you never said who this rep was or who had you sign the NDA. We deserve to know. We shouldn’t have to keep asking either.

    Liked by 2 people

  41. Pingback: اكتشاف نسخة من أقدم إنجيل من الكتاب المقدس في مصر.. لكن، مهلاً لماذا كل هذا الغموض حول الكشف الأثري؟

  42. Pingback: All Around the Web – May 29, 2018 – sola evangelii

  43. Pingback: On Papyri and Integrity | Larry Hurtado's Blog

  44. Happy to read that some scholars can make their mea culpa. That said, here is a new fragment that will reinforce the history of christianism and of the words of Jesus.


    1. Gary

      Would you kindly explain how this late second or even third century tiny fragment of one of the Gospels “reinforces the history of Christianity and the words of Jesus”?

      Even if we find one billion early copies of the Gospels, that in no way proves that the original, autographs are historically accurate in regards to the deeds and words of the historical Jesus.


      1. Greg Logan

        Gary – Thanks for the comment – such an obvious one – that evangelicals cannot take even a simple truth…. and now look who we have in the WH….


  45. Gary

    No quantity of early copies of the Gospels will confirm that the stories in the original autographs are historically accurate depictions of the words and deeds of Jesus of Nazareth. The anonymous authors, whom the majority of scholars believe were *not* eyewitnesses or the associates of eyewitnesses, were writing in a genre of literature which allowed for extensive embellishment. For all we know, the only historical facts in the Gospels are that Jesus lived, was an apocalyptic preacher, developed a reputation as a healer and miracle worker, got on the wrong side of the Jewish authorities, was crucified by the Romans, and shortly after his death some of his followers believed that he had appeared to them in some fashion.

    That’s it.

    Even if we find all four original autographs, it will not prove that Jesus fed five thousand people with a few fish and loaves of bread, that he raised Lazarus from the dead, that the temple veil tore down the middle upon his death, or that multiple persons saw a walking, talking corpse eat a broiled fish lunch with its former fishing buddies.


  46. Pingback: Earliest Fragment of Mark Published | Is Christianity True?

  47. Pingback: Despite Disappointing Some, New Mark Manuscript Is Earliest Yet – Bible Talk

  48. Pingback: Nuevo fragmento del Evangelio de Marcos no es del primer siglo | Razón y política pública en Puerto Rico

  49. Robert

    Dr. Wallace, can you at least tell us who showed you the P137 fragment and required you to sign an NDA?

    Note the new statement from EES:

    “… Non-disclosure agreement: The EES has no knowledge of, and has never seen, the NDA which Professor Daniel Wallace says someone required him to sign about the unpublished Mark fragment. Professor Obbink too says he has no knowledge of it. The EES has not received any outside request of any sort about the Mark fragment before its recent publication.

    For clarity we note that the EES has never asked anyone to complete an NDA about any papyrus fragment. …

    Offer for sale: the EES has never sought to sell this or any other papyrus. Professor Obbink says that he did show the papyrus in his rooms (where it was temporarily for teaching purposes) to Scott Carroll, but to no-one else except some Oxford students. Scott Carroll and he discussed whether the fragment could be displayed in an exhibition at the Vatican, but without conclusion. Professor Obbink insists that he never said the papyrus was for sale, and that while he did receive some payments from the Green Collection for advice on other matters, he did not accept any payment for or towards purchase of this text.”


  50. JoshuaJ

    Dr. Wallace, on June 4, 2018 (today) EES posted an updated response to questions surrounding your alleged NDA and involvement with FCM. Noteworthy portions follow below:

    “Ownership: The 5345 fragment has since its excavation belonged to the EEF and its successor the EES.”


    “The identification of the fragment as Mark was made in 2011 by a researcher working for Professor Obbink, then one of the General Editors of the Oxyrhynchus Papyri series. Professor Obbink decided he would himself prepare the text for publication. Editors are permitted, on certain conditions, to take out individual papyri from the collection for study or teaching on University premises…the EES has never sought to sell this or any other papyrus. Professor Obbink says that he did show the papyrus in his rooms (where it was temporarily for teaching purposes) to Scott Carroll, but to no-one else except some Oxford students.”


    “Non-disclosure agreement: The EES has no knowledge of, and has never seen, the NDA which Professor Daniel Wallace says someone required him to sign about the unpublished Mark fragment. Professor Obbink too says he has no knowledge of it. The EES has not received any outside request of any sort about the Mark fragment before its recent publication. For clarity we note that the EES has never asked anyone to complete an NDA about any papyrus fragment.”

    So basically, EES is saying they have always owned the fragment, that the fragment was never sold or offered for sale to anyone at any time, that as far as they know you had never seen the fragment prior to publication (it remained in Obbink’s possession post 2011 and he claims he only showed it to Carroll and some Oxford students), and that neither EES nor Obbink have any knowledge of any NDA entered into with you or anyone else for that matter. The EES statement does make reference to a “researcher working for Professor Obbink” and indicates the fragment was identified as Mark by that “researcher” in 2011. It would seem highly unlikely, but is this the mystery “representative” who showed you the fragment? Is this the counterparty to your NDA? If not, then you’ve still got an awful lot of explaining to do.

    Things just aren’t adding up, here, Dr. Wallace. Someone is lying.


  51. Pingback: Some Observations on the Updated EES Statement on P.Oxy. 83.5345 | Variant Readings

  52. RWL

    The Aramaic Text used to translate here at, is from Eastern Aramaic Manuscripts, such as The Khabouris Manuscript, pictured above, it being a hand-written Eastern Aramaic New Testament, said to have been scribed in the ancient city of Nineveh, and which is thought to have taken place sometime between 900 to 1000 A.D. and said to have been officially certified by a Bishop of The Holy Apostolic Catholic Church of the East as being a faithful copy of a much older Eastern Aramaic New Testament Manuscript, likely scribed during the mid 5th century, which in turn likely was itself a faithful copy of The Original Aramaic New Testament Scriptures, which was personally handed to The Church of the East by The Apostles themselves, in the ancient City of Edessa, in the 1st century.

    The Khabouris Codex Manuscript you can read and study here, via the study tool, is thus, most likely only a 3rd generational copy of The Word of Alaha (God) in the Aramaic language, which was given to The Church of the East from the very Apostles of Meshikha (The Messiah) in the language in which Eshu (Yeshua) and His Disciples spoke, wrote, and proclaimed The Hopeful Message of God’s Redemption of Mankind.

    The earliest such Manuscript witness we have some knowledge of for The Aramaic New Testament, is from as early as the year 78 A.D., which is spoken about in J. S. Assemani’s famous Bibliotheca, where it states, “At Edessa was a written Gospel, ancient but still legible. Not a single iota was erased, and it could more easily be read than many modern books, but by reason of its great age the first ten leaves had been lost. At the end was the following subscription: ‘This sacred book was finished on Wednesday the eighteenth day of the first month Conun (December), in the year 389 (of the Greeks, i.e. 78 A.D.), by the hand of the Apostle Achaeus, a fellow-laborer of Mar Maris, and a disciple of the Apostle Mar Adaeus, whom we entreat to pray for us. Amen.’” The Manuscript is said to have been seen in Baghdad near the river Tigris, on an ancient Church of the East altar.

    A number of Eastern Peshitta Manuscripts have been examined for this translation, as well as the BFBS/UBS Text of the 1905/1920 Aramaic New Testament, which is said to be a Critical Text of about 70 to 80 Aramaic Manuscripts, consisting of both Eastern and Western versions, and also the 5th-6th century Aramaic Manuscripts housed in the British Museum, numbered 14,470, 14,453, 14,473, and 14,475.

    The manuscripts used for the actual translation are various 5th-6th century manuscripts, like the Goodspeed MS 716, Manuscripts no.17 & no.54 from Saint Catherine’s Monastery, 7th century manuscripts like the Yonan Codex, 8th-9th century manuscripts like the Paris Syr. 342 Codex, 1oth-11th century manuscripts like the Khabouris Codex, 12th-13th century manuscripts like the the 1199 A.D. Houghton Codex, the 1261 A.D. Syriac 9 manuscript, and lastly the 1613 A.D. Mingana Codex which known as The Textus Receptus of The Eastern Aramaic New Testament, these all were compared when a scribal mistake in one of the manuscripts was made, while making certain that all the Original Eastern readings were present in this English translation as preserved by The Holy Apostolic Catholic Church of the East since the time of The Apostles.

    It should be pointed out, that The Aramaic Language is an older sister language of The Hebrew, a Semitic Language of The Middle Eastern region of the world, which it’s very close to in its construction, alphabet, and vocabulary.


  53. RWL

    “With reference to….the originality of the Peshitta text, as the Patriarch and Head of the Holy Apostolic and Catholic Church of the East, we wish to state, that the Church of the East received the scriptures from the hands of the blessed Apostles themselves in the Aramaic original, the language spoken by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and that the Peshitta is the text of the Church of the East which has come down from the Biblical times without any change or revision.”

    Mar Eshai Shimun
    by Grace, Catholicos Patriarch of the East
    April 5, 1957


  54. RWL

    “The Hebrew language is the best language of all… If I were younger I would want to learn this language, because no one can really understand the Scriptures without it. “

    —-Martin Luther,


  55. RWL

    Scholars on the Language of the New Testament

    Having thus demonstrated that Hebrew and Aramaic were languages of Jews living in Israel in the first century, we shall now go on to demonstrate that the New Testament was first written in these languages. A number of noted scholars have argued that at least portions of the New Testament were originally penned in a Semitic tongue. This argument has been asserted of the four Gospels, Acts, and Revelation.

    The following is just some of what these scholars have written on the topic:

    When we turn to the New Testament we find that there are reasons for suspecting a Hebrew or Aramaic original for the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, John and for the apocalypse.
    – Hugh J. Schonfield; An Old Hebrew Text of St. Matthew’s Gospel; 1927; p. vii

    The material of our Four Gospels is all Palestinian, and the language in which it was originally written is Aramaic, then the principle language of the land…
    – C. C. Torrey; Our Translated Gospels; 1936 p. ix

    The pioneer in this study of Aramaic and Greek relationships was Charles Cutler Torrey (1863-1956),…
    His work however fell short of completeness; as a pioneering effort, in the nature of the case, some of his work has to be revised and supplemented. His main contention of translation, however, is undeniably correct. …
    The translation into Greek from Aramaic must have been made from a written record, including the Fourth Gospel. The language was Eastern Aramaic, as the material itself revealed, most strikingly through a comparison of parallel passages. …
    One group [of scholars], which originated in the nineteenth century and persists to the present day [1979], contends that the Gospels were written in Greek…
    Another group of scholars, among them C. C. Torrey … comes out flatly with the proposition that the Four Gospels… including Acts up to 15:35 are translated directly from Aramaic and from a written Aramaic text….

    My own researches have led me to consider Torrey’s position valid and convincing that the Gospels as a whole were translated from Aramaic into Greek.
    – Frank Zimmerman; The Aramaic Origin of the Four Gospels; KTAV; 1979

    Thus it was that the writer turned seriously to tackle the question of the original language of the Fourth Gospel; and quickly convincing himself that the theory of an original Aramaic document was no chimera, but a fact mwhich was capale of the fullest verification…
    – Charles Fox Burney; The Aramaic Origin of the Fourth Gospel; 1922; p. 3

    …this [Old Syriac] Gospel of St. Matthew appears at least to be built upon the orginal Aramaic text which was the work of the Apostle himself.
    – William Cureton; Remains of a Very Ancient Recension of the Four Gospels in Syriac; 1858; p. vi)

    …the Book of Revelation was written in a Semitic language, and that the Greek translation… is a remarkably close rendering of the original.”
    – C. C. Torrey; Documents of the Primitive Church 1941; p. 160

    We come to the conclusion, therefore that the Apocalypse as a whole is a translation from Hebrew or Aramaic…
    – RBY Scott; The Original Language of the Apocalypse 1928; p. 6

    The question of the Luke/Acts tradition holds particular interest to us. This is because the common wisdom has been to portray Luke as a Greek speaking, Greek writing Gentile who wrote his account to the Gentiles. The reality of the matter is (whether Luke himself knew Greek or not) that Luke was most certainly written in a Semitic language. As Charles Cutler Torrey states:

    In regard to Lk. it remains to be said, that of all the Four Gospels it is the one which gives by far the plainest and most constant evidence of being a translation.
    – C.C. Torrey; Our Translated Gospels p. lix


  56. RWL

    ‘Remember the Greeks were pagans and the Jews considered the Greek language an abomination. The Jewish authorities declared that it was worse to learn the Greek language than to eat swine’s flesh! And they forbad the teaching of it.’

    —Dr. Al Garza, ‘The Hebrew New Testament: Evidence for the New Testament in Hebrew’ ; 2010 ed.


  57. Pingback: Read This! 06.05.18 - Borrowed Light

    1. Patty

      I agree. Can we stick with the real issue here? A statement was made by the EES. We’re waiting on Dan to respond.

      Dan, how did you see that fragment when the EES says it was only shown to Carroll and some students? That doesn’t make sense.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. RWL


      I apologize and I will stop. However, isn’t it interesting that Dan will ask me & others to stop (and even remove our discussions) this ‘off-topic’ discussion on his blog, but he will allow non-Christian(s) to blasphemy Christ all day long on his blog without removing their discussions?

      Not only will I stop but I will remove myself from this blog….I don’t want any part of a luke-warm Christian blog….

      Revelation 3:15-19

      Liked by 1 person

  58. Pingback: Dishonest Christian Apologists Strike Again: Josh and Sean McDowell Caught in the Act of Quote Mining – Escaping Christian Fundamentalism

  59. Lawrence Stanley

    God bless you Dr. Wallace. We all make mistakes, and it is nothing to be ashamed of. Yours is a very complicated field of study, and sometimes things just happen. Your meticulous work of documentation of manuscripts is of incalculable value to Christendom that will last until the Lord comes for His people, and I think that I speak for many when I say that I cannot thank you and your dedicated team enough for what you do.

    Liked by 1 person

  60. You were my favorite professor in seminary for many reasons, one of which was you unassailable integrity. Your frank honesty and willingness to share your personal struggles helped me to maintain my sanity during that time. I have known a handful of truly godly men in my life and you have always been and continue to be among the top. Thank you for your scholarly work and for your example of Christlike character.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ed Komoszewski

      Amen, Michael! As armchair critics pass judgment from a distance on Dan’s character (without knowing what they don’t know, I might add), those close to him know that his integrity is unassailable.

      Liked by 1 person

  61. It has always amazed how we who are the recipients of abounding grace show so little grace toward our brothers and sisters in Christ. Like ravening sharks we turn on one another the second we smell the slightest bit of blood in the the water. Dan has the equivalent of a paper cut and there are those in the Body ready and eager to devour him. I have listened to Dan in class and I have read his articles and books, and while he never pulls his punches intellectually, he always couches them in grace and kindness with a dash of humor. Please know that the example of your walk with Christ has effected your students as much as your knowledge and insights into the Greek text.

    Liked by 1 person

  62. Beau Quilter

    Consider for a moment, how much weight apologists give to the short creedal claim of the apostle Paul about what others had presumably witnessed in 1 Corinthians 15, a 2000 year old letter.

    Now, look at the assurance with which Dr. Wallace announced a “first century manuscript” of Mark in 2012:

    “The oldest manuscript of the new testament is now a fragment from Mark’s gospel that is from the first century. How accurate is the dating? Well, my source is a papyrologist who worked on this manuscript, a man whose reputation is unimpeachable. Many consider him to be the best papyrologist on the planet. His reputation is on the line with this dating, and he knows it; but he is certain that this manuscript was from the first century.”

    [Later in the debate, in answer to a question about the manuscript from Ehrman, Daniel stated:]

    “Yes, the dating has been corroborated by others.”

    Isn’t it interesting how quickly legends can develop?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Greg Logan

      Beau –

      Thank you for moving ahead with the specifics. I had listened to this debate at least twice – was ALWAYS very impacted by this section and certainty of Wallace – esp. using as a debate strategy against Ehrman. I have thus called this a MUCH bigger issue than simply a routine error – the level of character defect is so severe here that I am staggered. I know who I would NEVER look to for the least manifestation of Christian character in the future.

      The nature of the sorrow and repentance needs to be so much deeper – but for some reason Dan fails to see anything but a simple error in academic exercise – when it is obviously so much more.

      Greg Logan

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Greg Logan

        Unfortunately we cannot edit – so the above sentence should read – whom I would not look to as source of example of Christian character. I expect Wallace – as Ehrman – or any human being can manifest Christian character – but some I would to as examples and some I would not.

        Liked by 1 person

  63. J Martin (Joe) Thomas

    I just don’t understand all the attacks on Dan Wallace’s character. Criticize the poor judgment (which he freely admitted to in his apology) – ok, that is fair, but I am not sure why it is necessary to do so over and over again. What is the point?

    I stopped commenting several weeks ago, but I keep getting notifications, and except for the (odd) discussion about Hebrew originals, most of the comments seem to be attacks on Dan. I don’t see how such attacks are useful in this discussion.

    The funny thing is, 2nd century fragment of Mark is a pretty big deal, but since we were all anticipating a first century fragment, we’re all disappointed. “Sorry, your lottery winnings are only 1 million, not 3.”

    Has ANYONE discussed whether there were any interesting textual variants in this fragment? That would be more interesting than open season on Dr Wallace.

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