dating Matthew

From: bivalve (
Date: Thu Oct 03 2002 - 12:50:46 EDT

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    As none of the replies quite matched what I remembered, I actually
    looked at the book. It is Carsten Peter Thiede and Matthew d'Ancona.
    1996. Eyewitness to Jesus: Amazing New Manuscript Evidence about the
    Origin of the Gospels. The focus overall seems to be what a big
    scoop the story is (d'Ancona pushed the story in the Times), which
    does not inspire great confidence. The scraps in question contain
    bits of Matthew 26 and are in the Magdalen library. This book argues
    that the paleographic evidence supports a pre-AD 70 date, but seems
    dismissive rather than analytical with regard to the
    counter-arguments. Though I am sympathetic to their doubts about the
    merits of the presuppositions and arguments that claim that Matthew
    could not have been written so early, I do not find the approach very
    convincing. Some of the arguments about the dating also simply show
    that it could be early rather than that it is early.

    It also advocates the existing argument that Thiede and others have
    made for identifying some Dead Sea scraps as NT fragments; in
    particular, 7Q6I is identified as a bit of Mark. In this case, the
    fragment is so small as to make the identification of the text
    questionable; the only definite word is the Greek for "and", which
    does not narrow down the options much. The idea was initially
    proposed by O'Callaghan, who identified several even more fragmentary
    pieces as other NT scraps, not inspiring confidence. On the other
    hand, Geza Vermes, in The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English, 4th
    ed., seems equally dismissive about the possibility of its being Mark
    as Eyewitness to Jesus is of the contrary views of scholars on dating
    the Magdalen scraps. In partial defense of Vermes, this is just a
    paragraph rather than a full-scale attempt at addressing the question.

         Dr. David Campbell
         Old Seashells
         University of Alabama
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