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How would we know a first-century manuscript if we saw one???
And if that was the case, Wallace or Evans should have just said so.
These considerations led the researchers to conclude that the fragment was written before the year 90.” Or Dan Wallace’s statements from an interview back in 2012: “it’s dated by one of the world’s leading paleographers, whose name I’m not allowed to reveal yet…his understanding is it definitely is [first century].” Or Evans again here on Bart’s blog: “a fragment of Mark…which those studying it think dates to the 80s.” To those of us who work regularly on early Christian papyri, these are really confusing claims.
“Before .” Could any of the methods of dating mentioned by Evans and Wallace actually produce such a specific date?
Let’s say such a mask is taken apart, and it contains a bunch of documents (letters, receipts, tax records, etc.) that all date within a given period, say from the years 220-100 BC (most mummy masks made with waste papyri are Ptolemaic, not Roman).
If any undated literary fragments are found together with those documents, it’s a safe bet that the literary pieces probably date to roughly the same period.