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The cumulative evidence then suggests the range." As for direct physical methods for dating, Wallace says that radiocarbon dating has not been employed for Greek manuscripts to any significant degree, "largely because until recently it would necessarily destroy part of the manuscript.""The jury is out on this for a while, but a recent archaeological discovery could represent the oldest surviving copy of the Gospels. Wallace of the Dallas Theological Seminary, fragments from the Gospel of Mark may date to as early as the late first century.

Dating ancient manuscripts is a complicated business, and the margin for error can be ... John Byron of the Ashland Theological Seminary writes, "As we have seen many, many times before, artifacts and manuscripts that surface with fantastic claims tend to be much less than they are claimed to be." Larry Hurtado, retired professor of New Testament studies at University of Edinburgh agrees: "Expert palaeographers often disagree over a given item by as much as a century or more.

It’s never wise to rest much upon one judgement, and confidence will be enhanced only when various experts have been given full access to the items." This is a fascinating field, but the limits of paleography are also frustrating (at least to me).

This week, the Museum of the Bible (MOTB) announced that five of its purported Dead Sea Scroll fragments are, in fact, modern forgeries.

In that case, the forgery was proven by a study of the text, and especially by provenance research.

"Even non-experts today recognize that the Declaration of Independence was not written in the 20th century.

Ligatures (the joining of two letters like in the older British spelling of archaeology), size and shape of letters, the position of the letters in relation to the lines, etc. By comparing undated manuscripts with dated ones, we are able to pinpoint more exactly when certain characteristics were in vogue.

Dating ancient manuscripts is a complicated business, and the margin for error can be ... John Byron of the Ashland Theological Seminary writes, "As we have seen many, many times before, artifacts and manuscripts that surface with fantastic claims tend to be much less than they are claimed to be." Larry Hurtado, retired professor of New Testament studies at University of Edinburgh agrees: "Expert palaeographers often disagree over a given item by as much as a century or more.  It’s never wise to rest much upon one judgement, and confidence will be enhanced only when various experts have been given full access to the items." This is a fascinating field, but the limits of paleography are also frustrating (at least to me).

I can't help wondering whether some new technology might offer ways to physically date the papyri (without damaging them).

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In “Missing Link in Hebrew Bible Formation” in the November/December 2015 issue of , Biblical scholar Paul Sanders discusses the role the Ashkar-Gilson Manuscipt had in bridging the gap between the Dead Sea Scrolls and the later Aleppo Codex and Leningrad Codex. The Aleppo Codex, the oldest Hebrew Bible that has survived to modern times, was created by scribes called Masoretes in Tiberias, Israel around 930 C. As such, the Aleppo Codex is considered to be the most authoritative copy of the Hebrew Bible. The colophons also identify the place written (Cairo), the person who commissioned it (Mevorak son of Nathaniel) as well as further sale and donation details.

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