Monday, February 19, 2007

New ending to Mark found?

A group of scholars using a modern technology called multispectral imaging claims to have discovered some previously unknown texts hidden within existing papyri.

The professors Roger Macfarlane, Stephen Bay and Thomas Wayment, have been working on deciphering these writings on papyrus found in an Egyptian dump where an ancient city known as Oxyrhynchus previously existed. The papyri are now housed at the University of Oxford in England and studied by various scholars around the globe.

The technology developed by BYU called multispectral imaging, can penetrate through dirt, stains and other material on the papyri, making it possible to expose obscured lettering.

These papyri, well-known to scholars of ancient texts include a number of items that are close to 2000 years old. According to these scholars,
Specific material in these texts include an unidentified Christian apocryphal Gospel, a new ending to the Gospel of Mark, a different version of two verses in the book of Philemon, and a missing section in Luke 22:43-44. In the King James Version, these verses in Luke talk about Christ shedding blood in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Because of the age of these manuscripts in comparison to other biblical manuscripts that date to a later time, questions are raised as to whether or not we have an original version of biblical text that differs from the received versions. A huge amount of these papyri still remain unexamined. No doubt, scholars will be anxious to review these studies and see how they stand up to peer review.

A fuller account can be found here.

UPDATE: Some questions have been raised as to whether the reporter of this story got the facts right. Some bloggers have reported that BYU has removed the post from its site. See this one, for example.

1 comment:

Magdalene said...

You write very well.