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Further Comment on the Mark Fragment and the Rumors

June 5, 2018

There is now a further news release from the Egypt Exploration Society about the recently published fragment of the Gospel of Mark.  It responds to some of the rumors circulating, and corrects certain of them.  See here, the second item on the page.

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  1. Patty permalink

    I think Dan Wallace and Craig Evans owe us a full explanation, names and all. Right now, we’re being ignored by Wallace and given poor excuses by Evans. It’s unacceptable.

    • Pattty: I think you’re a bit unfair. Wallace has explained his mistake and apologized for it. Evans? I don’t know. But to give names would amount to public accusations against this or that person, with no perceptible gain (the person[s] are no longer in a position to fiddle with papyri), and could generate legal issues. Wallace and Evans were misled, and too eager to believe what they wanted to believe so that they could score a point in an apologetic contest. But now we have the fragment and can study it. That’s where we ought to concentrate now. Lessons (I hope) have been learned.

      • Patty permalink

        I completely disagree. All we’ve heard for years is that nobody can talk because of this NDA. And now? There’s no NDA and they STILL will not come out with all of the details and complete truth. Dan Wallace has more explaining to do. For one, EES’s statement is at odds with his statement. It doesn’t make any sense, so he needs to explain it. He hasn’t even told us who had him sign the NDA. That’s not an accusation that could get anyone in legal trouble, that’s fact. And if he would just come out with that alone, it would explain a lot. Instead, he’s not answering anyone’s questions and ignoring everyone on his blog. That’s a poor way to treat his followers.

        Craig, too, has refused to say who told him the fragment came from a mummy mask because it would “embarrass” him. There are worse things in this world than embarrassment, and despite how the saying goes, no one actually dies from embarrassment. He then tells someone on his FB page that there are still unresolved questions and we’re all disappointed! He never acknowledged his part in the confusion. He’s one of the main reasons people thought the fragment came from a mask. Did he forget that part?

        They can either tell the truth which the public has a right to know or they can let it follow them for the remainder of their lives because that’s what’s going to happen if they don’t. Ignoring it won’t make it go away.

      • Patty permalink

        I should clarify that Craig didn’t mean it would embarrass himself but the person who made the claim.

  2. This is just getting weirder and weirder….

  3. Griffin permalink

    Dan Wallace at Dallas Theological might be using inexact language. The EES owners say that it has always been their policy to reserve the right of first publication on any of its materials, to itself. This would function a little like a non-disclosure requirement.

    You were told you might see the fragment. But not publish (or comment on it?) publicly. Not until EES experts evaluated it, and published its results.

    The purpose of this policy would be in part to prevent inexpert persons from jumping to unjustified conclusions, and fully publicising them, prior to full evaluation of a fragment by experts.

  4. Greg M. permalink

    When is the blogging scholarly community going to start demanding answers? Except for Candida Moss no scholars seem to be speaking out in a manner demanding answers. If not for the Washington Post writing articles last year I wouldn’t know just how shady all of this is. If Wallace saw the fragment then Obbink had to know (if he didn’t then this means the fragment was out of his hands which makes one wonder what EES would think about that possibility!). If he knew then it would seem he must have known about any NDA. If he knew then why doesn’t EES know? If EES is telling the truth in that they never ask for an NDA then this leaves really only one other party that the NDA could have been with: the Greens. When did they get their hands on this fragment long enough for an NDA to even come up? Again, how could EES not know about this? I get the feeling the scholarly community is too afraid to speak up in a manner that demands answers because everyone is afraid they might anger the wrong person and ruin their careers. No one wants to peer into the abyss or poke the bear.

    • Greg: Answers to reasonable questions are appropriate. But some of your claims/questions are framed dubiously. Item: Wallace says he saw the fragment in the Autumn 2012. He doesn’t say where or under what circumstances. He says he had to sign a NDA first, but it’s not clear at all that EES or Obbink was a party to, or even aware of, any such NDA. So a whole string of your questions and supposed syllogisms, “if X then it must have been Y” are based on unsubstantiated premises. Nobody in the scholarly guild is “afraid”. It’s clear that Wallace and others were misled and so repeated incorrect information. Perhaps they should have refused to sign any NDA (I fail to see why they did, and what they gained from doing so). I’m retired now, so no career to ruin! I just don’t think that we should call out a lynching party or hurl accusations at all those involved. For my part, I have reason to think that perhaps one particular person (whose name has come up in various reports) may have been responsible for misleading the others. There’s no “bear” to “poke”. Gee whiz! Take a breath!

      • Greg M. permalink

        Sure, folks can point the finger at Scott Carroll, but no one seems to wonder how Wallace saw the fragment without Obbink knowing. Going by the statements by all involved (Carroll, Obbink, EES, Wallace) this is absolutely a logic puzzle that, as logic tends to work, has only two legitimate solutions: people lying or the fragment being out of EES/Obbink’s hands. Imagine where we’d be today with the DSS if Eisenman had just decided to let things work themselves out. There’s a bigger issue here and it’s spelled G-R-E-E-N. I guess we’ll just have to wait for someone from the ol’ club like Candida Moss to ask the hard hitting questions. Maybe I can catch my breath.

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