First Century Gospel of Mark Discovered!

Why is this so important? It has great potential to promote the Gospel! Why? Because skeptics claim that the accounts of Jesus of Nazareth are the product of legendary development. In other words they allow that He was a wise man and a good teacher but argue that the early evangelists exaggerated his life and ministry manufacturing miracles and prophetic predictions from whole cloth. The Gospel of Mark claims that Jesus was able to raise the dead (Mk 5:41) and that he predicted future events:

And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”(Mk 13:2)

While we must rely on the word of the witnesses for the raising of Jarius’ daughter, there is plenty of external evidence confirming that Jesus’ prophecy about the destruction of the temple came to pass. What we lack is proof that it was written down prior to AD 70 when it came to pass. Thus, if a manuscript of Mark is convincingly dated prior to AD 70 then we have a major authentication of Jesus’ supernatural ability. Accordingly, I expect a lot of push back on the dating of the manuscript. I pray the Lord will mercifully bless the skeptical world with more evidence as the time of His return draws near.

Dr. Wallace: Earliest Manuscript of the New Testament Discovered?

 

About Cris Putnam
Logos Apologia is the ministry of Cris D. Putnam. The mission of Logos Apologia is to show that logic, science, history and faith are complementary, not contradictory and to bring that life-changing truth to everybody who wants to know.

Comments

  1. David Lowe says:

    This is huge! Thanks for letting me know about it, Cris. I agree that this should give the skeptics and athiests nightmares.

    • Cris Putnam says:

      @David, the nightmares will be a blessing from God. I am grateful he pierced my skepticism with his grace! This does throw a major wrench in the legend evolutionary idea put forth by the Jesus Seminar and other such sophists.

  2. Ant Writes says:

    Unfortunately, it won’t give them nightmares. They’ll just say it was still invented stories written 100 years earler.

  3. ChristoferL says:

    It amazes me that this hasn’t been on the news – but it shouldn’t

  4. Scott in Texas says:

    You really must read “The Jesus Codex” by Jim Rutz (available for download via pdf) based on Dr. Lee Woodard’s book about the Washingtonensis Codex which has been proven by Dr. Woodard to be an ORIGINAL OF ALL FOUR GOSPELS. This codex is in the possession of the Smithsonian Institution having been found in an archaeological dig in a Coptic area of Egypt (it is available for viewing online). These four documents contain previously undiscovered dating mechanisms based on the Roman dating method of the time (AUC) and the seal of the sofer (scribe). Dr. Woodard’s book is a scholarly tome going into great detail on the discovery but it is self published. I wrote to Joe Kovacs about it and tried to connect WND with the authors. I hope you will take the time to actually read these two books and formulate an opinion for yourself so that the politics of religion doesn’t interfere in this miraculous discovery (whose timing is of course more than coincidental along with so much additional End Times understanding). I say this bc many other theologians have studied this codex and dismissed it as written during the 4th century bc they did not see or understand the hidden dating mechanism. I hope it will finally get the attention it deserves bc all Believers and the world deserves to hear about it!

  5. Good Soldier says:

    Hi Scott,

    Have you got a link for that pdf “The Jesus Codex” by Jim Rutz (available for download via pdf)” I can’t find it.

  6. Ant Writes says:

    Same here…even Jim Rutz’s websiye disapperared off the face of the earth..

  7. Scott in Texas says:

    http://www.jesuscodex.com

    I just checked it out and it indicates suspended, so not sure what’s up. I’m thinking Jim is under serious attack spiritually. Until its up again and we hear from him, please pray for Jim!

    Scott

  8. Ant Writes says:

    Please let us know if your find out what happened and I’ll do the same..

  9. Scott Loras says:

    Are you serious – wiki!? Well, I guess its fact then – Wiki says it, so it must be true, and no amount of scholarly research could possibly prove conclusions in Wiki to be outdated and false!! The world is still flat and the Earth is still the center of the universe. You looked into it? Please tell us all how you looked into it in order to report that it is not very credible, esp. since you haven’t read either book! I detect other issues at play here that have nothing to do with the facts (perhaps your sources are jealous or it negatively impacts their own credibility).

    Seriously, come on Chris! I am shocked that someone with a Master in Theological Studies would cite Wiki and slander someone. I can only presume it is because you are a busy man bc I have no doubt you mean well (despite your slander of Jim). Regardless, this is Logos Apologia you’ve created so it is for this type discussion after all, so for the benefit of all who take their research seriously, here goes.

    First, Wiki is only as good as the extent of the info provided by volunteers who contribute. Wiki is “information light” and while often valuable for starters, entries OFTEN contain numerous errors, omissions, and editorializing based on the contributors’ personal views and opinions. Hardly authoritative. Also, sorry if Jim’s book and Dr. Woodard’s book may impact Dr. Wallace’s findings. I am sure his findings stand on their own as also valuable, just perhaps not quite as significant. Either way, I am sure no one truly seeking the truth wants the truth to be hidden due to pride (not saying that is the issue here, but it can be and their is a history of it in the scholarly/church community).

    The entire point of bringing The Jesus Codex and Dr. Woodard’s book into discussion is they are NEW discoveries that only require the rest of the scholarly community to read and confirm (presuming this can be done with objectivity which is always an issue). I suggest all those with a serious interest in this topic buy the Jesus Codex and read it (tracking a new source)! If you are really serious in your theological studies, then buy Dr. Woodard’s book and read it as well. http://www.washington-codex.org/ READ THE BOOKS then decide!

    With all due respect Chris, the newly discovered evidence by Dr. Woodard on the dating and authenticity of authorship (scribe) of the codex is overwhelming. Dr. Woodard’s tome is well researched and Jim’s book is a great summary of the key evidences.

    There are a good number of respected (but busy) theologians who, prior to this discovery, spent time reading/studying the Codex, but bc they never understood the dating mechanisms, reached false conclusions. The impact of the new evidence re: the dating of the Codex are enormous! They stand to impact the world with proof of the contents of the Gospels being factual and not developed over the 2nd-5th centuries as lies to support a growing church movement (eventually the Catholic Church) seeking to establish their own power.

    Read the books, then check back with us. Support this amazing find! Truth be known.

    • Cris Putnam says:

      @Scott, Sorry it sounds hokey to me because its such a minority view. I’m not citing wiki as authoritative but its generally pretty good. People make sensational claims to sell books all the time and I suspect that is what is going on. I’m not sure about it but I feel justified to suspect it because it is such a fringe opinion. Seriously, why doesn’t Daniel Wallace or David Black believe it? Why do all of the major scholars (who would love to see such an early MS) disagree? The fact that Greek scholars at the top of the field don’t jump on it tells me its probably not worth my time.

      (I guess their are 2 codex washingtonianus manuscripts?)

      Here are some non wikipedia sources for you that say its 4th – 6th century:

      CODEX WASHINGTONIANUS II (I)

      Codex Washingtonianus II is a manuscript of the Pauline epistles in the Freer Collection at the Smithsonian Institution. There are 84 surviving leaves of the original 210. It dates from the fifth or sixth century and has portions of all of Paul’s letters and Hebrews, except Romans. The text is a good representative of the Alexandrian family, agreeing more closely with א and A than B.

      Norman L. Geisler and William E. Nix, A General Introduction to the Bible, Rev. and expanded. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1996), 398.

      AND

      1. There is a manuscript called the Codex Washingtonianus. In the fourth century A.D. the traditional ending of Mark was circulated in an expanded form (beginning after v. 14). This particular text is preserved by Jerome and the Codex Washingtonianus.

      Rodney L. Cooper, vol. 2, Mark, Holman New Testament Commentary; Holman Reference (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 280.

  10. Scott in Texas says:

    Here is another summary book on Dr. Woodard’s research by Ron Earle:

    http://codexw.net/index.html

    By the way, Chris, I hope my sarcasm was understood to be meant in humor, not as an attack on you personally. I love your site and find most of your articles well written and interesting! I also happen to agree with you most of the time. As an FYI, most of my understanding of theology comes from DTS (never attended, but studied under several teachers who are graduates of DTS). I have always found DTS to be among the finest in the world!

  11. Ant Writes says:

    I just downloaded Das Freer-Logion (Die Freer-Handschrifte) which is a German exposition of the document supposedly. Although I know German & Greek, I don’t know Greek well enough to read it quickly enough to give a thorough description. It would take up all my time, so I don’t want to waste my precious time deciphering a Greek manuscript. So I’ll take the word of those who DO have the time. “By 2 or 3 witnesses all things are confirmed”
    I’m still looking forward to Jim Rutz’s book.

  12. Ant Writes says:

    Plus, I ‘m not going to pay $70 for a copy of Dr. Woodard’s book!

  13. Scott in Texas says:

    I’m no longer a trial attorney, but I would never pick you for one of my juries! I guess I have to question your own motives for dismissing their research without having even read the books, as well as basing your conclusions on the work of others with limited access and time spent with the Codex W. via Wikipedia which is absolutely NOT an authoritative source. It is a good source however if you know NOTHING about a topic.

    As I recall, Galileo and many others had a minority view at one time, so that is not much of an argument. I have no idea why Dr. Wallace specifically and others have not investigated Dr. Woodard’s findings closer. Not saying it is the case here, but it could be a matter of being caught off guard and not being asked to be involved so now they’re offended ( I know Profs like that), the lack of time and too busy with existing commitments on their own research and writings, professional jealousy, politics, who knows. I will give most serious researchers the benefit of the doubt, but for anyone who hasn’t read the books to reach conclusions is foolishness. I don’t care what your credentials are and it might stand doubly true if you possess greater credentials (of whom much is given, much is expected – Luke 12:48).

    On the other hand, by those who have taken the time to actually read them, the books have been well received at conventions of ETS and SBL. Further, they have petitioned Dr. Julian Raby, Director of the Smithsonian, asking him to do carbon 14 dating on Codex Washingtonensis, which hasn’t been done yet due to his staff’s concerns (not his own as he favors it) over damaging a tiny corner of one page. In essence, instead of putting the issue to rest and better establishing its date of creation (possibly establishing the authenticity of the Gospels as originals), they’d rather hide behind a “hokey” defense of damage to a minute portion of a single page. This does science and Christianity no benefit. By the way, there has never been a full translation of Codex W. into English, a matter long overdue.

    By the way, I spoke with Jim and he shut down his site temporarily due to problems with his online seller. I’ve encouraged him to make it available on Amazon for Kindle and B&N for Nook, soon perhaps.

    Best to you – keep up the good research.

    • Cris Putnam says:

      Scott,
      I would like to believe it but it seems pretty dubious. The reason I am not excited is that the manuscript has been around a long time and no one else has come to those conclusions. You really should drop the wikipedia criticism because I already went and looked it up and provided 2 scholarly sources (which concurred with the wiki). Again, here is Norman Geisler:

      CODEX WASHINGTONIANUS I (W)

      This dates from the fourth or early fifth century. It was purchased by Charles F. Freer of Detroit in 1906 from a dealer in Cairo, Egypt. Professor H. A. Sanders, of the University of Michigan, edited it between 1910 and 1918.The manuscript contains the four gospels, portions of all the Pauline epistles except Romans, Hebrews, Deuteronomy, Joshua, and Psalms. The portions missing from the codex are Mark 15:13–38; John 14:25–16:7; some of Paul’s epistles; Deuteronomy 5:16–6:18; Joshua 3:3–4:10; and some of the psalms. The gospels manuscript has 187 leaves, 374 pages of good vellum. Each page (5 5/6 by 8 1/4 inches) has one column of thirty lines, consisting of small, slanting uncials clearly written. The gospels include Matthew, John, Luke, and Mark, in that order. Mark has the long ending (6:9–20) attached; however, a most noteworthy insertion follows Mark 6:4:

      And they excused themselves, saying, “This age of lawlessness and unbelief is under Satan, who does not allow the truth and power of God to prevail over the unclean things of the spirits. Therefore reveal thy righteousness now”—thus they spoke of Christ. And Christ replied to them, “The term of years for Satan’s power has been fulfilled, but other terrible things draw near. And for those who have sinned I was delivered over to death, that they may return to the incorruptible glory of righteousness which is in heaven.”

      The manuscript of Deuteronomy and Joshua has 102 leaves (10 1/2 by 12 1/2 inches), with two columns per page, and is written on thick vellum. The mutilated manuscript of Psalms has portions of 107 leaves that originally measured eleven by fourteen inches, written in single columns. This codex is located in the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. As to text type, it is mysteriously mixed, as though it were compiled from various manuscripts of different families. Matthew and Luke 8:13–24:25 are Byzantine, but Mark 1:1–5:30 is Western, resembling the Old Latin. Mark 5:31–16:20 is Caesarean, like P45, whereas Luke 1:1–8:12 and John 5:12–21:25 are Alexandrian. John 1:1–5:11, which was added in the seventh century, is a mixture of Alexandrian and Western readings.

      Norman L. Geisler and William E. Nix, A General Introduction to the Bible, Rev. and expanded. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1996), 400-01.

      I see from this entry that it has a mixture of readings and text types which are also dated later. That seems pretty conclusive. I’m not just dismissing it based on wikipedia rather scholarly consensus. I do not see any reason to doubt the consensus, you seem to think it is a conspiracy? What makes that so convincing to you?

  14. Scott in Texas says:

    Astounding – more conclusions (“seems pretty dubious”) without having read Dr. Woodard’s work! I must say, it really makes me suspicious of one’s motives to be so conclusory before reading the books. Back to my previous point, scholarly consensus can change based upon new findings. History is my witness to this. Also, the Codex W has not been Carbon tested yet and really needs to be. This will only happen with pressure on the Smithsonian by a reasonable number of professionals pushing for it!

    I respect Drs. Geisler and Wallace but their (dated) research and conclusions are not at issue. I am certain they did a fine job based upon the data they had available at the time and the time they had to devote to the matter. However, even the finest scholars can make mistakes or suffer from limitations on their research. The article you cite above is dated 1996, prior to Dr. Woodard’s research and conclusions. So what, Drs. Geisler and Wallace didn’t discover what Dr. Woodard did? Does this really matter for those seeking the truth? Of course not, a million times NO!

    Best I can tell, these same gentlemen and others you’ve cited have NOT performed any real peer review of Dr. Woodard’s work. As an attorney who has deposed numerous experts, I’m confident I could poke holes in their critiques, esp. if they haven’t even read Dr. Woodard’s book. The REAL issue is – have they actually read and studied Dr. Woodard’s conclusions and Codex W in light of his conclusions? If not, then we are wasting time and they would be foolish to offer an opinion before doing so. True scholars, with a desire to know only the truth and not just needing to take credit for finding it themselves, are open to new findings, regardless of source. Put it to whatever scrutiny you wish, but do so with evidence in hand after actually reading the books, not based on conjecture and piling one hearsay on top of another in reaching conclusions. I encourage you and others to at least really read and study Dr. Woodard’s work first, as it impacts your credibility, which is important in research of this kind.

    As I stated before, in my experience, much of the scientific/scholarly community suffers from tremendous ego issues (yes, even well meaning Christians). Generally speaking, when a new researcher comes along outside the same exact field, then many within that field start getting petty, esp. when the new findings contradict many of their lectures, scholarly articles, books, etc. For genuine truth seekers, of course, this is unacceptable! I’m not accusing you or anyone else of doing so here, but I WILL as a Truth Seeker call you and anyone else out for being unfairly critical prior to reading the research and evaluating Codex W in light of it. As fellow Believers we owe each other such accountability. Once this is done, then let’s hear the criticism, if any, but until then further discussion is pointless. READ DR. WOODARD’S BOOK, THEN STUDY THE CODEX W IN LIGHT OF IT.

    • Cris Putnam says:

      The MS has been around and scrutinized for 100 years, so there is good reason to be skeptical.

      Best I can tell, these same gentlemen and others you’ve cited have NOT performed any real peer review of Dr. Woodard’s work.

      That’s the real problem. Why hasn’t Woodward submitted his work in a peer reviewed journal? The fact that he hasn’t is another reason to be skeptical. It is up to him to do so, its not up to others to chase him down. I looked at his site, I think he should submit it. However, his triumphalist language and attitude does not seem very professional. I am not about to pay $70 to read his book, so he needs to make his case to the scholarly community.

  15. Scott in Texas says:

    For thought:

    A little science estranges men from God, but much science leads them back to him. – Louis Pasteur, 1822-1895

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