Rumors Out of BYU

   This is interesting in light of the discussion we have been having on the DL about textual criticism. Here is a story that claims that scholars working on the Oxyrhnchus papyri using multi-spectral imaging have discovered “an unidentified Christian apocryphal Gospel, a new ending to the Gospel of Mark, a different version of two verses in the book of Philemon, and a missing section in Luke 22:43-44.” Unfortunately, no other information is given outside of the claim, such as, the text, the manuscripts in which the material was found, dating—all the stuff you need to evaluate such claims. Most of the chatter I have seen so far is pretty skeptical about the claims, but it will be interesting to see what kind of evidence is brought forward. But lest you wonder about the inclinations of LDS who engage in such studies, these paragraphs should be kept in mind:

   Seth Kohrman, a senior from Decatur, Ind., majoring in ancient near eastern studies, is one of the students involved with this project and on the Oxyrhynchus collection. Kohrman said he has learned a lot about the gospel from his studies.
   “In a funny way it has strengthened my testimony of the gospel and the Book of Mormon especially,” Kohrman said. “There are over 5,600 manuscripts of the New Testament, not to mention all the apocryphal writings we are working on now, and none of them contain the New Testament as we have it today. This shows me personally of the immense importance of the Book of Mormon. Without it, we would be lost and confused.”

   The amount of confusion inherent in that statement is truly breathtaking. Let’s see…because gnostic heretics in the second and third centuries wrote silly books about Jesus and a cache of their writings has been found buried in the ground this means we don’t really know what the New Testament said so we should trust the imaginative work of Joseph Smith Jr. from the 19th century which quotes from the 1769 Blayney Revision of the King James Version of the Bible so that we can truly know the gospel? OK, well, I hope Seth doesn’t mind if we wait a little while a look a little closer at those manuscripts.