By general agreement, the first of the Gospels was Mark’s, which appeared around 70. No copies of Mark earlier than 100 or so were known to exist, until (maybe) now:
A text that may be the oldest copy of a gospel known to exist — a fragment of the Gospel of Mark that was written during the first century, before the year 90 — is set to be published… This first-century gospel fragment was written on a sheet of papyrus that was later reused to create a mask that was worn by a mummy.
Waste not, want not.
On the one hand we have a drip-drip of non-academic reportage, excitedly making all sorts of claims, possibly based on no more than a video by somebody who may (or may not) be involved in the project at all. This feeds the fever of speculation; which, of course, increases the price that may be asked for publication, and generally increases the commercial value of the property. It seems to benefit nobody in any other way that I can see.
On the other hand, we have an entire silence on all the matters that would allow professionals to form a judgement.
Pearse, whose interest in patristics goes back a long way, sums it up: “To me, all this is too good to be true. But let’s hope not.” Fair enough.
(Via Monday Evening.)