An Older Copy of The Gospel of Mark?

PHOTO: Rylands Library Papyrus P52, online at http://www.christiantoday.com/article/researchers.claim.to.have.found.ancient.gospel.of.mark.fragment.in.mummys.mask/46387.htm

Check this out.

From the article: “The discovery of a small papyrus fragment containing words from the Book of Mark could end up being the earliest copy of a Christian gospel on record, according to experts.

The biblical text, which came from Egypt, was reportedly placed on a sheet of papyrus before the document was recycled and used to create a mummy mask.”

What an amazing discovery (if it indeed proves to be Mark).  And how amazing that this could be discovered from the layers used to create the mummy mask – wow.

“We’re recovering ancient documents from the first, second and third centuries,” New Testament professor Craig Evans told LiveScience. “Not just Christian documents, not just biblical documents, but classical Greek texts, business papers, various mundane papers, personal letters.”

I can’t wait to get a look at this once it’s published (later this year, according to the article).  What a fascinating peek this could provide into daily life in the early centuries of the Christian era.  I believe that’s the great benefit of archaeology to biblical studies – illuminating the context of the text itself.