Scholars have been speculating over a text fragment provisionally dated to the 1st century A.D. It is a Greek uncial text of Mark 5:15-18. If genuine, it would confirm that written texts on Jesus were circulating only a few decades after his death.
So is this fragment really from the 1st century? Tom Verenna has posted an initial analysis. For anyone curious about how one analyzes a fragment’s authenticity, it’s an interesting read. Verenna also posts several clear photos of the Mark fragment.
His conclusion: “I have to say it looks fake.” Read carefully though, and you will see this is not his full conclusion. Verenna links a few others’ reactions to the fragment at the bottom of his post. We look forward to hearing other scholarly opinions on this.
By the way… as Jim Davila points out, “the question of whether this fragment is fake is entirely separate from the question of whether a first-century fragment of Mark has been discovered.” In other words, if this fragment is fake, from where did the forger copy the text? Verenna addresses this possibility in his post. Again, interesting.
Jim’s point is an apt one. This may not even be the manuscript that Wallace was talking about. This might just be a fake that a tourist bought, found out that it was a fake, and decided to make the best of it by posting it up as a real fragment. Someone easily could have linked the two on accident (either due to lack of experience or just because they didn’t know). Association is a pain like that. Thanks for the repost! Much appreciated.