First-Century Mark missed the mark

The June 2020 issue of The Atlantic will carry a rare story: a time when biblical studies was dramatic—like trans-Atlantic, criminal dramatic featuring world-renown scholars from Oxford University and billionaire evangelicals who own craft-store chain. Lucky for you, the story is available online already: ‘A Mystery at Oxford’.

When Daniel Wallace of Dallas Theological Seminary announced in 2012 that a fragment of the Gospel of Mark from the first-century had been found, I was a graduate student with a fairly popular ‘biblioblog’ (a blog focusing on biblical studies). I went back to see what I said about the news. I’m happy to report that I was cautious: see ‘The earliest manuscript of the Gospel of Mark?’ and ‘Agnosticism regarding the “earliest” fragment of the Gospel of Mark’. But also, by then, I had begun to seriously doubt the doctrine of inerrancy (if not having already secretly abandoned it) and wonder whether the so-called ‘autographs’ even mattered (if we could even speak of such things).

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