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Ian Hutchesson wrote:
>Having just browsed a book by Carsten Thiede on this very small fragment
>written in Greek from Qumran, it reminded me that there was an attempt to
>talk about it a while ago on this list. I don't recall anything coming of it.
>There is a nice glossy photo of the little fragment and it is reasonably
>clearly Greek, and Thiede has assigned it to GMark (late in Ch 6 I think).
>There is of course a transcription of the text for what it's worth -- being
>three lines of about five characters each.
>What are current scholarly opinions on this fragment? [...]
I think it is safe to say that the state of the "current scholarly
opinions" is the same as when this identification was first proposed over
20 years ago: that is, that it is taken seriously by virually no textual
scholars aside from the (very) small handful who have actually suggested
You mention one of Thiede's new books. A good companion book to Thiede's
work is Graham Stanton's _Gospel Truth_, in which Stanton examines Thiede's
claims --both with respect to 7Q5 as well as the Magdelan fragment-- and
offers overwhelming evidence as to why neither identification can be
correct. (Stanton's book while "popular" contains many pointers into the
relevant scholarly literature. In addition an article by Stanton, focusing
on these topics, appeared in last December's "Bible Review".)
Another much more succint --but equally compelling-- discussion of the
claims concerning 7Q5 occur in the appendix to the 3rd edition of Bruce
Metzger's _Text of the NT_.
A couple of notes: The identification of 7Q5 (a papyrus fragment
containing some 13 or 14 Greek letters) as containing a portion of Mark
6:52-53 was orginally put forward by Jose O'Callaghan in 1974; Thiede is
simply one of the most vocal defenders of the conjecture. Furthermore
O'Callaghan has suggested the further identificiation of some half-dozen
other fragments from Cave 7 with passages from other NT books. These
other identifications are typically viewed as even less likely than that
proposed for 7Q5.
To summarize very briefly --and to completely ignore the significant
external evidence that argues against this identification-- this
identification rests on 1] a number of rather unlikely readings of many of
the partial letters that appear in the fragment and 2] the presence in 7Q5
of a textual variant that is known in no other manuscript of this passage
of Mark. The relevant passages of Stanton's book contains examples of
other proposed reconstructions of the text in 7Q5.
(One interesting footnote here: Stanton notes work by W. Slaby in which "a
computer search based on the _ten_sure_letters_ [italics in the original]
of 7Q5 results in its only possible identification being Luke 3:19-21!)
http://www.sover.net/~nichael Be as passersby -- IC