The scholastic community has been abuzz for several weeks now regarding recent research on recovered mummy masks dating back to the 2nd and even 1st Centuries.
If confirmed, this adds yet another set of extant manuscripts showing that the New Testament was already well established by the end of the 1st Century.
“Mummy masks were an important part of ancient Egyptian burial practice, but only the very wealthy could afford examples made of gold. The majority of mummy masks were made from scraps of linen and papyrus, which were glued together into a kind of ancient papier-maché, called cartonnage.” 1The masks uncovered apparently contain portions of the Bible, Christian texts, classical Greek documents, business transactions, and even personal letters.
Reportedly, seven NT fragments will be published in the near future which are earlier than any previously known texts: 2
“Matthew 12, ca. 150—previous oldest text, P45, ca. 250
Fragment of Mark, ca. 81–89—first Biblical text from the first century; previous oldest text of the NT, P52, a fragment of John, ca. 125; previous oldest text of Mark, P45, ca. 250
Luke 2, ca. 140—previous oldest text, P75, ca. 175–225
Romans 8–9, ca. 100–199—previous oldest text, P46, ca. 200
1 Corinthians 9, ca. 150—previous oldest text, P46, ca. 200
Hebrews 1, ca. 100–199—previous oldest text, P46, ca. 200
Fragment of Hebrews, ca. 100–199—previous oldest text, P46, ca. 200
According to the sources, this first batch is just the tip of the iceberg!” 3
- http://www.cnn.com/2015/01/21/living/gospel-mummy-mask/ ↩
- Comment made by Mathew Hamilton in a blog – http://unsettledchristianity.com/2012/02/has-marks-near-original-autograph-been-found/#comment-315091 and a lecture by Scott Carroll https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSUzWsuLpso ↩
- Source: Bryant Wood Prayer Letter of 2/13/15 ↩