|This is not the fragment|
Daniel Wallace adds in the comments section:
The origin of this latest fragment is not yet known. And it will be a least a year until we learn anything more about it. The possibility that we now have a first century copy of Mark is quite exciting, but I think it is wise to handle this with caution. As we have seen many, many times before, artifacts and manuscripts that surface with fantastic claims tend to be much less than they are claimed to be. I am confident that Dan Wallace would not mention this fragment unless he truly thought it was of significance. Once it has been published and can be properly studied by a number of scholars we should know more about what this fragment can teach us.
Larry Hurtado has also weighed in on this possible discovery and makes the following points:
- The identification and palaeographical dating of manuscripts requires huge expertise specific to the period and texts in question. Let’s wait and see whose judgement lies behind the claims.
- Palaeographical dating can ever only be approximate, perhaps as narrow as 50 yrs plus or minus. Expert palaeographers often disagree over a given item by as much as a century or more. It’s never wise to rest much upon one judgement, and confidence will be enhanced only when various experts have been given full access to the items.
- It is particularly difficult to make a palaeographical dating of a fragment, the smaller it is the more difficult. For such dating requires as many characters of the alphabet as possible and as many instances of them in the copy as possible to form a good judgement about the “hand”.
- Although it ratchets up potential sales of a publication to make large claims and posit sensational inferences about items, it doesn't help the sober scholarly work involved. It also doesn't actually accrue any credit or greater credibility for the items or those involved in handling them.
It will be interesting to see how this develops. Until then . . .