Biblical scholar claims to have found the oldest known Gospel — inside a mummy mask
By Joel Baden and Candida Moss, special to CNN. Updated GMT HKT January 21, Joel Baden is professor of Hebrew Bible at Yale University. Candida Moss is professor of New Testament and early Christianity at the University of Notre Dame. The opinions in this column belong to them. CNN Media outlets have been abuzz this week with the news that the oldest fragment bibpical a New Testament gospel -- and thus the earliest witness of Jesus' life and ministry -- had been discovered hidden inside an Egyptian mummy mask and was going to be published.
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The faces of Datlng. Diogo Morgado plays Jesus in the film "Son of God. A painted tile artwork from China at the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth, Israel, depicts Mary and Jesus. Spanish painting on elk hide in the Carbon dating biblical manuscripts Jose Mission Church, Laguna Pueblo, in New Mexico. British actor Robert Powell portrayed Jesus in a TV series, "Jesus of Nazareth. An Carbon dating biblical manuscripts Muslim Shiite man, acting as Jesus, center, takes part in the annual religious performance of "Taazieh" in the Iranian town of Noosh Abad on November 12, In Kalacha, Kenya, Jesus is portrayed as a black man, and is often painted this way in remote African villages.
Indian Christian Alan D'Souza portrays Jesus as he carries a cross through a residential area on Good Friday in Mumbai on March 29, A procession of Indian Christians from all walks of life participated in the march portraying the suffering meted out by Roman soldiers to Jesus on varbon way to be crucified. Women carry a religious painting as hundreds of Roman Catholics biiblical through Warsaw's downtown demanding more religion in social and political life in Poland on September 19, A mosaic from South Korea at the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth, Israel, depicts Mary and Jesus.
This illustration from the BBC Library depicts what scientists believe Jesus might have looked like, based on the skull of a man they found from that time period. The announcement of the papyrus' discovery and impending publication was made by Craig Evans, professor of New Testament at Acadia Divinity College in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. Evans described the papyrus as carbon dating biblical manuscripts fragment of the Gospel of Mark.
He added that a combination of handwriting analysis paleography and carbon dating led him and his team of researchers to conclude that xarbon fragment was written before 90 A. This would make it at least a decade older than other early fragments of the New Testament and, thus, an invaluable resource for biblical scholars and object of considerable interest for Christians the world over.
The fragment, according to Evans, was discovered when an Egyptian mummy mask -- known as cartonnage -- was dismantled in a hunt for ancient documents. Mummy masks were an important part of carbon dating biblical manuscripts Egyptian burial practice, but only the very wealthy could afford examples made of gold. Dismantling these masks yields a trove of ancient documents. Evans claims that in addition to Christian texts, hundreds of classical Greek texts, records of business transactions, and personal letters have been acquired.
In the process, the mask itself is destroyed. Though it may be making headlines now, the claim that the "oldest carbon dating biblical manuscripts gospel" has been discovered is not new. News of the fragment first came to light in when its existence was perhaps inadvertently announced by Daniel Wallace, founder of the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts at Dallas Theological Seminary.
No one saw the text then, and no one has seen it now; though it has been mentioned repeatedly by a select group of people who evidently have been given access to it, its planned date of publication has been consistently pushed back, from an original plan of to and now, just this week, all the way to Despite the seemingly explosive quality of the news, therefore, it is important to take a step back and consider what is actually being revealed here.
Some people are saying mankscripts have this really old and important thing, and they will show it to all the rest of us in a few years. Essentially, this papyrus is the scholarly equivalent of "my girlfriend who lives in Canada. It datjng unclear why anyone would start talking about a text like this, a year, indeed now at least two years, in advance.
The most important established fact about this papyrus, at this point, is that it has not yet been published—which is to say, only a small handful of individuals have seen the text and free speed dating sites able to say anything at carbon dating biblical manuscripts about it. As Roberta Mazza, an ancient historian and papyrologist from the University of Manchester in England, told us, the academic community has not "been given access to firm information and images on the basis of which could eventually say something.