Re: Dead Sea Mark

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Sat Apr 25 1998 - 16:42:28 EDT

At 2:33 PM -0500 4/25/98, Jim West wrote:
>At 03:02 PM 4/25/98 -0400, you wrote:
>>If Stanton's argument is so conclusive, then it seems that it would be easy
>>for you to at least outline it for us? Wouldn't an outline be more helpful
>>than the mere claim that Stanton "eruditely argued the evidence"?
>I would- but I can almost sense that the list owners are growing irate that
>a non b-greek topic is taking up so much bandwidth. As the voice of God
>said to Augustine, "tolle, lege"; so I say to those interested in 7Q5-
>"tolle, lege" Stanton's book!!!!
>(honest Carl, this is my last post on the subject, I promise!!!)

Well, I have to say that I've been enjoying a very lazy Saturday after
yesterday's end of classes in a very busy semester. I checked in very
briefly this morning and saw that this had started, but I didn't really
think it would continue. We have, as I recall, had some discussion
previously (although I think it was at least two years ago) of Carsten
Thiede's publications on the Magdalen papyrus and at that time I even
forwarded to this list (with permission) some critical discussion of that
which originally appeared on the Ioudaios-L list. But that was in the days
when our list was much smaller and also much more academic; more important,
it was before we had any defined list guidelines. I do think, personally,
that this is of interest to those concerned with the Greek Biblical text
because it bears on the integrity of the Greek text.

Unfortunately, claims such as those made on behalf of the fragment in
question in this thread cannot but be controversial in a community such as
what B-Greek has become, inclusive of persons of widely diverse faith
perspectives, perhaps even of some who would not claim to be Christians in
any sense--and they are as welcome here as any others who know a little or
a lot of Greek and care about discussing the Biblical Greek texts. Why such
claims are controversial is that, like the Shroud of Turin, they seem to
hold out some possibility that the Biblical text has an independent
scientificly demonstrable basis that lightens the burden of faith in the
veracity of scripture itself. But those claims can only be tested by
scientists--in the instance of the text fragments, by persons well-trained
in palaeography, as most of us are not. Most of us are content to trust the
consensus of what is termed, either spitefully or respectfully, "the
guild," the professionals. Of course, it helps if the guild supports what
we would like to believe, and if we would like to believe other than what
the guild has reached a consensus about, then we tend to look askance at
the guild.

I'd like to think that this thread has been informative. If I regret
anything about it, it is the rather magisterial, imperious tone that has
been expressed in some of the posts. Yet I think that has already been
apologized for. I don't think anything more is to be gained by continuation
of this thread, and Jim and Nichael have suggested that those who really
wish to pursue the facts (and the argumentation) on this subject should
subscribe to the Orion list and/or consult one of the standard
introductions to the text of the Greek NT (e.g. Metzger, Kurt and Barbara
Aland). So I would think that there's not any more of this to be discussed
in this forum.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649 OR

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