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Sunday, January 18, 2015

'Oldest Known Gospel' Found in Mummy Mask

by http://topstories24.com

Ancients apparently used various papyrus documents to create mummy masks—including what may be the earliest known fragment of a New Testament gospel, LiveScience reports. Confirming a three-year-old leak, professor Craig Evans says he's among researchers who unwrapped a mummy mask and discovered a Gospel of Mark fragment dating to 90AD or earlier. That's at least a decade older than any known gospel copy, so the fragment could show how the gospel was changed over time. The find will be published this year, but Evans won't say more because he's signed a non-disclosure agreement. In fact, he says, he's only talking now because another researcher already blabbed about it. They "have to honor the request of the museums, universities, private owners, so forth," says Evans.
Other scholars are fuming over the practice of un-gluing the ancient papyri, saying it destroys bona fide mummy masks. Evans is "totally oblivious to the destruction of archaeological material," writes an archaeologist in what LiveScience calls a "scathing blog post." (But Evans says the masks are just ordinary people's "low-end" fare—not the Pharaohs' magnificent gold.) Another blogger contends that Josh McDowell, "a Christian evangelical apologist with no scholarly credentials," is part of the project and admits in a video "that he doesn't know what he is doing." Evans, however, says the team will recover hundreds "if not thousands" of papyri from the first three centuries AD, including Christian documents, "classical Greek texts, business papers ... personal letters" and copies of stories by Homer.
The burial mask of Minirdis, a 14-year-old Egyptian boy who was the son of a priest, is positioned for conservation work Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014, in Chicago.
The burial mask of Minirdis, a 14-year-old Egyptian boy who was the son of a priest, is positioned for conservation work Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014, in Chicago.   (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

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