Via Paleojudaica I see a report on Evangelical Textual Criticism of an interesting CNN report. The statement is that “within the last 48 hours” a fragment of Romans has been discovered, dated to the mid-2nd century AD. The interview is vague, but it sounds as if a team somewhere in the US has been taking something — cartonage from an Egyptian burial? — and separating out the layers, and finding fragments of all sorts of things. What else, one wonders?
I don’t suppose that I am alone in feeling rather uncomfortable with the context in which this announcement is made — essentially a non-specialist talking to a reporter about an exhibition for the general public. I think we need to be very wary here.
There is no reason why such a discovery should not be made, it must be said. It’s not really that early, for New Testament papyri. Second century Christian papyri are familiar to us all. Classical and patristic scholars are less fortunate, of course.
But before we get too excited, let’s be sure of the facts.
Hope it’s true!