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Letters

Gospel Dating - The Jesus Papyrus (letter)

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 Contents - Jun 2004AD2000 June 2004 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: Pentecost: As it was in the beginning ... - Michael Gilchrist
Abortion: 'Pro-choice' issue emerges in US presidential campaign - Michael Gilchrist
News: The Church Around the World
Marriage: Statistics highlight the precarious state of marriage and family - AD2000 REPORT
Theology of the Body: Why the silence on the Church's moral teachings? - Audrey Dillon
Society: Why Chesterton is needed now more than ever - Dale Ahlquist
Education: Chavagnes en Paillers: a Catholic college with a Catholic culture - Paul Russell
The importance of beauty in the Liturgy - Christopher Pearson
Poetry: The power and beauty of religious poetry - Star-Life, Identikit, Ministers - Bruce Dawe
Poetry: The power and beauty of religious poetry - Cast fear behind thee, I am come! - Marion and Delia Craig
Letters: New Liturgy document (letter) - John Schmid
Letters: Disrespect (letter) - John Casamento
Letters: Behaviour at Mass (letter) - Michael Ryan
Letters: Options (letter) - Maryse Usher
Letter: Signs of hope (letter) - Daniel Attard
Letters: Priestly vocations (letter) - Monsignor Robert Egar
Letters: The Passion - Suffering (letter) - Dr Arnold Jago
Letters: The Passion - Not overdone (letter) - Monique Onezime
Letters: The Passion - No ordinary man (letter) - Jony Joordens
Letters: Faith and reason (letter) - John Kelly
Letters: Gospel Dating - The Jesus Papyrus (letter) - Paul R. Smith
Letters: Media Standards Australia (letter) - Denise Den-Bakker
Letters: Name changes? (letter) - Frank Mobbs
Letters: US Survey (letter) - Errol P. Duke
Letters: Catholic books (letter) - Frank Carleton
Events: Window Shopping for Non-Catholics - Fr Paul Newton
Books: The Free Press, by Hilaire Belloc - John Ballantyne (reviewer)
Books: The Outline Of Sanity, by G.K. Chesterton - Peter Westmore (reviewer)
Books: Catharine With An 'A', by Edna Keir - Joan Graham (reviewer)
Books: Looking Again at the Question of the Liturgy, Reform of the Reform? - Paul Russell (reviewer)
Books: More new titles for 2004 from AD Books
Reflection: The Holy Spirit: like a bed for the weary traveller - Fr Leo Duck

We have witnessed the lengths to which some will go when caught in a corner such as was the case in the discussion generated by Mel Gibson's film The Passion of the Christ. We (the ignorant) were expected to accept the red herring that the Gospels were an unreliable and inaccurate account of the Passion as they were written so long after the events they described.

The idea of the later dating of the Gospels seems to be accepted without question by many Scripture scholars, despite its questionable origin in the 1820s. While this idea has been dealt with before it might be as well for those who have forgotten or not been able to do the research to assemble the relevant data.

Fortunately this has been achieved in a book The Jesus Papyrus (IBSN 1857999584) by Carsten Peter Thiede and Matthew d'Ancona.

This book is about the papyrus preserved at Magdalen College, Oxford. The fragments of the papyrus are identified as the Gospel of St Matthew which are dated paleographically as c. AD66. With the dates arrived at by paleological dating they are usually earlier than the actual date.

All of this means that we are not at the end but rather at the beginning of the examination of the dating of the New Testament papyri.

As one reads this book one might well say:

"Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
Did write the books their names are on."

PAUL R. SMITH
Blackburn, Vic

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 17 No 5 (June 2004), p. 14

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