Re: Dead Sea Mark

From: Daniel Ria–o (
Date: Sat Apr 25 1998 - 07:51:02 EDT

Jim West wrote (shouted?):
>You must be referring to O'Callaghan's claim (followed by Carsten Thiede)
>that 7Q5 is a fragment of Mark. It isn't!!!! By the way, o"Callaghan just
>suggested that it MIGHT be whereas Thiede said it IS).
        The second part is not exact. O'Callaghan effectively suggested
that 7Q5 is a fragment of Mark, but Carsten Thiede does not say it is
necessary so. In his book, Thiede compares the methods of Classical
philology and Biblical studies, and supports the view that, after the
evidence alleged by O'Callaghan, in strict observation of the methods of
Classical scholarship, the burden of the prove now lies in the part denying
the antiquity of the Evangile of Mark in the terms proposed by O'Callaghan.
This very interesting book of Thiede exemplifies how different the methods
and the attitudes in Classical Philology and Biblical studies are, and
that's something that Jim West a-bit-too-energetic recently posts shows

>There is O'Callaghan's article linked to the Orion web site- but before you
>waste time reading a theory that simply will not wash, see Graham Stanton's
>"Gospel Truth" where he rightly debunks the whole nonsense. There are NO NT
>fragments at Qumran. NONE!

Then again, Jim answers to Ben:

>> It does appear that three fragments from Cave 7 (7Q4, 7Q5 and 7Q8) are from
>> New Testament documents.
>This is absolutely false. And that is not just a matter of opinion. There
>is NO, I repeat, NO Dead Sea Scrolls expert who support the notion that NT
>documents have been found among the scrolls.
>> The primary source is a learned article in /Biblica 53/ (1972), pp 91-109,
>> by Professor J O'Callaghan, a Jesuit, and an eminent papyrologist. Scholars
>> had failed to identify 7Q5, 7Q4 and 7Q8 even after searching right through
>> the entire Greek text of the Old Testament (LXX). Eventually O'Callaghan
>> thought the unthinkable and looked for a match in the New Testament. He was
>> amazed to find that 7Q5 fitted Mark 6:52-53 (Gennesaret).
>What Ben forgot to tell you (or does not know) is that only by an
>excruciating, gymnastic twisting of the evidence can one even suggest that
>7Q5 is Mark 6. It simply is not, regardless of ANY claim to the contrary,
>by Ben or O'Callghan, or Thiede, or anyone else.

        Caps, irritancy and dozens of exclamation marks don't make an
argument any stronger. Ben did not forget to mention excruciating and
gymnastic twisting, since O'Callaghan's theories are built with sound,
valuable philological arguments, that need to be answered in the same way.

Jack Kilmon wrote:
> In this regard I don't indict O'Callaghan for what his computer
>program at that time identified as letters parsimonious to Mark.

        As a matter of fact, all the efforts of O'Callaghan was made
without a computer (he's hardly a computer expert). Only years after his
work was first published another team (in Italy, I believe) took the pain
to test O'Callaghan's hypothesis with a computer.

Nichael Cramer wrote:
>>> ... /Biblica/ only has a limited circulation, so he wrote
>>> to /The Times/ (London) about his discovery (16th March 1972).
>Assuming this to be an accurate depiction of the events, this fact alone
>would be sufficient to allow the unbiased reader serious doubts about such

        I can't see what is the fact alluded: the publication in Biblica,
the diffusion by the Times or both things taken together. What's the
argument here? Biblica does have a very limited circulation, but the
hypothesis contains enough interesting points to make it interesting for a
broader public, and enough basis to consider it reasonable, and worth to be
broadcasted. It is not at all strange that important discoverings in the
Classical Studies receive broad diffusion at a very early stage (I am
remembering now the broadcasting of Ventris &Chadwick deciphering of
Linear-B by the BBC, which made easier for other scholars both to know
V&Ch. views and informing them about the existence of unpublished material
that supported V&Ch. theory). Probably the Times is not now what it used to
be before (the 16th lunatic alleging he had deciphering Tartessian was
reviewed in extenso last year), but many important scholars use it as a way
to make relevant scientific discoverings accessible to many people.

>Actually, the situation is rather worse than this. As W. Slaby has shown,
>if we restrict a computer search to match only the ten sure letters of 7Q5,
>the only possible identification is Lk 3:19-21. (See n17, p 198 of Graham
>Stanton's book for more information, including a full reference.)

        If this is correct, I agree that *that* is an argument. I must
recognise that I don't know the work of W. Slaby alluded, but I'll see
where or how I can read it, as well as Graham Stanton's book. Thanks to
Nichael for the reference (What exactly is the title of W. Slaby's work).

Daniel Rian~o Rufilanchas
c. Santa Engracia 52, 7 dcha.

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