Here are a few links to folks discussing Dan Wallace’s apologetic misstep in his debate with Bart Ehrman. My original post is here. This experience is a good example of the difference between Biblical Studies and Christian Apologetics.
Let me first add that it would be absolutely fantastic if a fragment of a first-century manuscript of the Gospel of Mark were to be, or has been discovered. It is not fantastic when a Christian apologist makes an empty claim as an attempt to rebut a factual statement made by a credible scholar. Without evidence, Wallace has debunked himself instead, and now his credibility in question.
This seems to be the overall best response and approach, in my opinion, from Jim Davila at PaleoJudaica.com.
“At this point all we have is an extraordinary assertion, presented with no evidence and on the authority of a “world-class specialist” who, very oddly, is not named. (Wouldn’t he want his name to be associated with any announcement of such an important find?) As always with such things, I remain skeptical until I see compelling evidence, but I would be delighted to be convinced.”
From Euangelion Kata Markon:
“…caution is the order of the day until more scholars are able to independently examine the manuscript, though from the initial report at least it does not appear to be just a repeat of some apologetic claim such as the one that still circulates around sometimes about the discovery of Mark among the Dead Sea Scrolls”
From Mark Goodacre’s NT Blog:
“it is worth noting that Wallace remarked that the “world-class paleographer” in question had “no religious affiliation” and this does not appear to be the case with Carroll, who is advertised as an expert on, among other topics, “the Authenticity of the Bible”.”
From Jim West’s blog, Zwinglius Redivivus
“We need to see the manuscript. The paleographers have to do their work. The text needs to be subjected to stringent tests. And most of all, the provenance of the manuscript has to be fully disclosed. In these days when frauds and fakes flood the market and claims of authenticity are bantered about with ease and aplomb, everyone should be especially cautious.”:
Madonna and the Manuscript of Mark’s Gospel (Watch this! The entire post is great)
“It is really frustrating when people spill ‘news’ of a manuscript discovery to score a point for themselves (e.g., in a debate) but then can only say, ‘Trust me. I got my info from a ‘world-class paleographer; and oh, by the way, he’s entirely unbiased because he’s not a fundamentalist.”
For a good time, read the commentators enjoying the spectacle at Evangelical Textual Criticism. It’s hilarious. Here’s my favorite:
“I think we can tell from this that it lacks the long ending, but has the pericope adulterae.” *snarf*
Then Wallace takes another well deserved hit:
” I sure hope that readers understand that it’s possible that his text-critical scholarship and debating skills might not be the best that American Christians have to offer.”
2-10-11 – Dan Wallace has now updated his story. Watch the backpedaling.
“He (Ehrman) answered the second question by saying that we really don’t have any early manuscripts. But this again is a huge overstatement. We have as many as eighteen second-century manuscripts (six of which were recently discovered and not yet catalogued) and a first-century manuscript of Mark’s Gospel!”
LOL @ “huge overstatement”. Talk about irony, eh? Now check out the updated, backstrokin’ version.
” I mentioned that seven New Testament papyri had recently been discovered—six of them probably from the second century and one of them probably from the first.”
He closes like this; apparently not quite as sure of himself as he was during the debate:
“But, if this Mark fragment is confirmed as from the first century, what a thrill it will be to have a manuscript that is dated within the lifetime of many of the eyewitnesses to Jesus’ resurrection!”
Eyewitnesses to Jesus’ resurrection? What eyewitnesses to Jesus’ resurrection? We don’t have any eyewitnesses to Jesus’ resurrection.
One more quick comparison and we’ll be done. Notice the exclamation mark.
“We have … a first-century manuscript of Mark’s Gospel!”
“if this Mark fragment is confirmed as from the first century”
I wonder if Ehrman’s been sittin’ back, laughing as this explodes on the interwebs.