A revealing find from antiquity.
This little piece of papyrus is an amazing find, and it looks like it’s now regarded as authentic. It is a scrap of the gospel of Mark, hand-copies in the 80s AD at the very latest. It comes from Egypt and was dated by its handwriting style, by Carbon-14, and by other texts found near it.
I have told my students about early manuscripts of the New Testament and usually I end with, “But they will find even older and more remarkable ones over the next few years, I’m sure of it. From the first century, even.”
Here we are.
It is just a tiny portion of Mark 5:15-18 (the account of the exorcism of Legion), and is about the size of two fingers. On the sixth line you can see part of the word for “demon-possessed” – (δαιμο = …daimo…)
The short text is letter for letter in agreement with the text of the critical New Testament – the Nestlé-Aland 28th edition – in use around the world today and is the basis for all new Bible versions. Even if you don’t read Greek, the letters are clear as can be.
See the full story and a video at The Gospel Coalition.
Copyright Gary Shogren.
Gary has a PhD in New Testament Exegesis. He serves as Professor at Seminario ESEPA, San Jose, Costa Rica