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Old 02-04-2001, 06:53 PM   #1
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Lightbulb Redating the books of the New Testament

I have been wanting to begin this thread for quite some time, and have found that it is almost certainly going to require multiple posts. It may even require multiple threads. We shall see.

But in the meantime, I do wish to begin this task, and see what we know currently about the dating and authorship of various works of the New Testament Canons, and what this might tell us about other questions as well. I should caution that this debate is heavily influenced by theological and political issues that serve as much to cloud the issues as they do shed light. Often the light shed says more about those engaged in this difficult task, than it does about the actual dates and authors of the NT Books themselves. With luck we can avoid these pitfalls as much as possible.

So I will begin here, with the question of the Pauline letters, generally thought to have been written between 40 and 65AD. One of out best hard sources on these letters comes to us from a papyrus known as P46 (or I46 depending on who you talk to).

Base on the work of the papyrologist, Young-Kyu Kim, the dating of the codex P46, a collection of Pauline letters (including Colossians, but excluding the Pastorals of 1&2 Timothy, and Titus) that has been traditionally dated to around 200AD, we now have learned that the codex needs to be dated much later. Kim published his findings in “Biblica 69” in 1988. His studies of P46 shows that the codex should be dated no later than 85AD. His arguments focus on three areas (quoted from an article by Dr. D.B. Wallace):

Kim believes that his evidence “strongly suggests that Ě46 (or P46) was written some time before the reign of the emperor Domitian”—that is, before 81 CE. Kim gives several strands of evidence for this hypothesis, all of a palaeographical nature:
(1) the ligature forms of Ě46 do not occur later than the first century;
(2) “all literary papyri similar to Ě46 in its exact style… have been assigned to an early date [i.e., no later than c. 150 CE]”; and
(3) Ě46 belongs to the earlier type of such styles.
Kim then gives three counter-arguments to a later date: although the manuscript omits iota adscripts, has nomina sacra, and transliterates the Latin name Silbanov" (three points which pointed earlier scholars to a date of 200), other first century papyri have been found to do the same. If Kim’s redating of Ě46 is correct, among other things it does indicate that a collection of Paul’s letters existed no later than the 70s CE.
Daniel B. Wallace,
The Prof’s Soapbox

One of the reasons Kim has been able to do this redating is due to the fact that we have far more papyri available to us than we did when P46 was first discovered in 1930. The discovery of Herculaneum, in particular, and the documents there have given us a much broader range of materials for comparative analysis, helping Kim to demonstrate that the style of writing found in P46 closely resembles that of the Herculaneum, and since this town was known to be destroyed by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79AD, we have a reliable upward range with which to date this find.

Needless to say, the dating of 200AD is almost certainly too early for P46, and led Philip Comfort to note:

”[S]ome manuscripts have been receiving earlier dates. For example, the Pauline codex P46 has been redated by (Young-Kyu) Kim to ca. A.D. 85. To this day, Kim’s early dating of P46 to the later part of the first century has not been challenged on palaeographical grounds.”
Quest for the Original Text, by P.W. Comfort, pg. 31


Clearly, if Kim’s conclusions are correct, a 2nd Century date for Colossians is pretty much out of the question now.

There is a second, and no less important issue raised in Kim's findings, and that concerns what is almost certainly a false belief in when the codex itself came into common use. In the past, scholars have tended to believe that the codex as a 2nd-3rd Century Christian invention, but based on Kim's work on P46, we can see that this is, in fact, in error.

I will cover this last point off in a future post. For the moment, I invite comment from those interested in this topic.

Peace,

Nomad


[This message has been edited by Nomad (edited February 04, 2001).]
 
Old 02-05-2001, 07:22 AM   #2
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Nomad:

There is a second, and no less important issue raised in Kim's findings, and that concerns what is almost certainly a false belief in when the codex itself came into common use. In the past, scholars have tended to believe that the codex as a 2nd-3rd Century Christian invention, but based on Kim's work on P46, we can see that this is, in fact, in error.

I will cover this last point off in a future post. For the moment, I invite comment from those interested in this topic.

Peace,

Nomad


[This message has been edited by Nomad (edited February 04, 2001).]
</font>
-Nomad,

Interesting stuff, but I don't see the point of it yet. Perhaps you will cover that in later posts. So are you saying the codex was solidified earlier or later than the 2nd-3rd century as many scholars hold? Are you also trying to show evidence that the Pauline letters were written after the Gospels?

-Spider

 
Old 02-05-2001, 08:46 AM   #3
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Spider:

Interesting stuff, but I don't see the point of it yet. Perhaps you will cover that in later posts.</font>
Yes I will, I think it is important to take care of some foundational questions first before moving on to the more "speculative" areas that can help us to better determine the age and authorship of the books of the New Testament.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> So are you saying the codex was solidified earlier or later than the 2nd-3rd century as many scholars hold?</font>
Yes. The previously set date of circa 200AD was determined based on a faulty assumption about when the codex iteself replaced the scroll as a commonly used tool.

Many have claimed that the codex was a late second Century invention, but this conclusion has lead to some dreadful circular reasoning. Basically, any papyrus that has been found that is known to have come from a codex is then automatically dated to the 2nd or 3rd Centuries at the earliest. Clearly, however, if the codex was in use in the 1st Century (as we see demonstrated in Kim's work), then this argument fails.

Other arguments for later datings, like common abbreviations previously thought to have taken place in the 2nd Century but not the first have also been proven wrong. We now know that they were in use in the 1st Century as well. As these assumptions fall before new evidence, the means by which past texts and papyri have dated (using these faulty assumptions) but be seriously re-examined.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Are you also trying to show evidence that the Pauline letters were written after the Gospels?</font>
Absolutely not! I give very little credence to the notion that any of the Gospels were written prior to the 60's (almost all of Paul's letters date to the late 40's to 50's).

A redating of P46, however, does assure us that many of the more questionable epistles from Paul (in other words, those where questions remain to his authorship) can reasonably be dispelled. If a complete work of the Pauline epistles to the churches existed as early as 80AD, then it is virtually certain that Paul did, in fact, author these works himself. Thus, for example, the case that the letter to the Colossians (one of those that some scholars have questioned coming from Paul) was actually authored by Paul is greatly strengthed by the fact that it is found in the codex named P46.

As the thread developes (or perhaps on a separate thread if the need arises), we can take a look at the Pastorals, as well as the other epistles (Peter's, John's, ect), and especially the Gospels themselves.

Thank you for the response.

Nomad
 
Old 02-05-2001, 10:20 AM   #4
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Nomad,

Thank you for you quick and polite response. I look forward to reading more of what you post as this thread develops.

-Spider


 
Old 02-05-2001, 08:45 PM   #5
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When we discuss questions regarding both the dating and authorship of the Books of the Bible a good deal of conjecture is required, and in this area, the biases of those making the inquiries will be most apparent.

So it is here that I suppose I should clearly state my own personal biases, thus allowing the readers to know my own positions in these questions, and thus hopefully better prepare them as they evaluate my evidence.

I am a Christian, and have been for over 13 years now. I believe that the authors credited with writing the books of the New Testament, with few exceptions, are actually the men named in their authorship. The obviously anonymous Epistle to the Hebrews is one of the exceptions, but even here, inquiry is at least possible, and with luck, we will have the time to look into this book as well.

The reason authorship is imporant, among other things, is that it will give us a very fixed range of acceptable years within which to date a particular book. The Book of James, for example, cannot be dated later than 62AD when James, the brother of Jesus, himself is matyred by Ananus II (Josephus, Antiquities 20.9.1). So if we were to determine conclusively that this book was authored after this date, then it must be considered pseudonomous (authored by another who borrows the name of someone famous: a common practice in ancient times).

Each book will present us with challenges when looking into the questions of its authorship and dating. I will try to present arguments from all sides of the debate whenever possible, but invite others to contribute what they know, as they are able, and see what we learn in the process.

I am not looking for conclusive results here. Far greater scholars than I have delved deeply into these questions and many of the answers are no closer today than they have been for centuries. Given the gap in time between when these books could have been first written, and today, final conclusions may not be possible in any event, but I do think we can present evidence that makes some conclusions more reasonable than others.

So with that in mind, I would like to begin the discussion, and will do so by taking a look at the Gospels themselves.

I will do so in my next post. I look forward to your replies and questions.

Nomad
 
Old 02-06-2001, 01:59 PM   #6
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The first problem we need to cover off when attempting to date the Gospels themselves is to resolve the question of which came first among them, and in this there is almost universal scholarly agreement that Mark was the first of the Gospels. Matthew and Luke are assumed to have used Mark as a source, and John is generally seen to have been generated independently of all three.

In this post I would like to address the issue of priority amongst the first three Gospels, most commonly referred to as the Synoptic (meaning related to, or taking a common view) Gospels, and why Mark is accepted as being the first of these three (I believe John was written after the Synoptics, BTW, but that is a separate issue, and should probably be addressed in another post).

First, why are these three Gospels thought to be related? There are essentially three main arguments, and I find each of them to be compelling, if not irrefutable.

1) Agreement in Wording

It strikes as too easy to simply say the remarkable agreement in wording among the various shared stories, quotes and parables of the Synoptics is due to divine inspiration, or that all three were copying from the same oral or written traditions. While there seems to be very good evidence for a collection of such stories (see Luke 1:1-4) and sayings, with the “Q” Gospel, the Passion Narrative, and various Ur-Gospels that may have been in existence before any of the authors put quill to paper, the simplest explanation for how the three Gospels could share so much material is that Matthew and Luke probably had a copy of Mark to work from when they were writing. The most compelling evidence for this theory is the fact that fully 97% of Mark is found in Matthew, and 88% of it is found in Luke, while on 60% of Matthew and 47% of Luke is found in Mark. If Mark came after the other two, then he left a great deal of material out, including things that would have been very beneficial to his story (i.e. the birth narrative, the Sermon on the Mount).

On the other hand, if one wishes to propose that Mark is simply a briefer summary of the other two Gospels, then we run into another problem. To quote from an expert in the Synoptics: “whereas Mark is considerably shorter in total length than Matthew and Luke, when we compare the individual pericopes that they have in common, time and time again we find that Mark is the longest!”
(Robert H. Stein The Synoptic Problem: An Introduction, Grand Rapids, 1987, pg. 49.)


2) Agreement in Parenthetical Material

Stein brings this argument into focus very well.

“One of the most persuasive arguments for the literary interdependence of the synoptic Gospels is the presence of identical parenthetical material (used by the author editorially to help the reader understand context or meaning), for it is highly unlikely that two or three writers would by coincidence insert into their accounts exactly the same editorial comment at exactly the same place.”
(Ibid. pg. 37)


For example:

Matthew 24:15 "So when you see the desolating sacrilege spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand),

Mark 13:14
"But when you see the desolating sacrilege set up where it ought not to be (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains;


These two passages are known as pericopes, relating the same event or saying, yet, as Stein notes, it would be an astonishing co-incidence to see two authors working independently of one another to add exactly the same parenthetical comment addressing the reader, instead of the more likely word hearer,if, for example, this saying were drawn from an oral tradition. For additional examples of this editorial technique, see also Matthew 9:6/Mark 2:10/Luke 5:24; Matthew 27:18/Mark 15:10.

3) Luke’s preface

Luke 1:1-4
Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things which have been accomplished among us, just as they were delivered to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent The-oph'ilus, that you may know the truth concerning the things of which you have been informed.

Luke is telling us in no uncertain terms that he knows of and is using other materials in his Gospel, and the fact that 88% of the material found in Mark makes this Gospel a very good candidate to be one of those sources.

Conclusion

It is possible to go into greater depth on each of these points of course, and if there are any questions, then I will do so. At the same time, I see little reason to side against the majority of scholarly opinion, since the above evidence more than refutes alternative theories about Matthean, or even Lucan priority in the Synoptics. Finally, please note that I am not arguing against the existence of earlier traditions and stories, especially concerning the belief in an oral tradition preserved in the sayings of the “Q” Gospel, or of the theoretical Passion Narrative. These may well have (and probably did) exist, but they offer little help to us in the broader questions regarding authorship and dating of the Gospels themselves.

Really, the only compelling evidence I think we could hope to find that would remove the likelihood of Marcan priority would be to discover conclusive physical evidence of an even earlier Gospel, such as the legendary Aramaic Gospel spoken of by Papias in the 2nd Century. To date no such evidence exists, so we must go with the most reasonable conclusion available to us today, that Mark was, in fact, authored first, at least among the Synoptics, followed at a later date by Matthew and Luke.

In my next post I will take a closer look at the actual dating of the Synoptics themselves, and see if we can reach any kind of a reasonable conclusion as to when they were written, as well as by whom.

Nomad

[This message has been edited by Nomad (edited February 06, 2001).]
 
Old 02-06-2001, 07:25 PM   #7
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Nomad:
I have been wanting to begin this thread for quite some time, and have found that it is almost certainly going to require multiple posts. It may even require multiple threads. We shall see.

But in the meantime, I do wish to begin this task, and see what we know currently about the dating and authorship of various works of the New Testament Canons, and what this might tell us about other questions as well. I should caution that this debate is heavily influenced by theological and political issues that serve as much to cloud the issues as they do shed light. Often the light shed says more about those engaged in this difficult task, than it does about the actual dates and authors of the NT Books themselves. With luck we can avoid these pitfalls as much as possible.


I commend Nomad on his goal. And I agree with him, so far.

Nomad: So I will begin here, with the question of the Pauline letters, generally thought to have been written between 40 and 65AD. One of out best hard sources on these letters comes to us from a papyrus known as P46 (or I46 depending on who you talk to).

Again, I generally agree with his dating of the Pauline letters, at least the one's that are considered genuine. Some scholars put the earliest letters closer to 50 CE.

Nomad: Base on the work of the papyrologist, Young-Kyu Kim, the dating of the codex P46, a collection of Pauline letters (including Colossians, but excluding the Pastorals of 1&2 Timothy, and Titus) that has been traditionally dated to around 200AD, we now have learned that the codex needs to be dated much later. Kim published his findings in “Biblica 69” in 1988. His studies of P46 shows that the codex should be dated no later than 85AD.

I have read the complete text of Young Kyu Kim's article as it appeared in Biblica Magazine, Vol. 69, No. 2, 1988. See "Palaeographical Dating of p46 to the Later First Century." Indeed Kim does claim what Nomad says he does; however, there are numerous problems associated with Kim's conclusions. More on that later.

[b]Nomad: His arguments focus on three areas (quoted from an article by Dr. D.B. Wallace):

Kim believes that his evidence “strongly suggests that Ě46 (or P46) was written some time before the reign of the emperor Domitian”—that is, before 81 CE. Kim gives several strands of evidence for this hypothesis, all of a palaeographical nature:
(1) the ligature forms of Ě46 do not occur later than the first century;
(2) “all literary papyri similar to Ě46 in its exact style… have been assigned to an early date [i.e., no later than c. 150 CE]”; and
(3) Ě46 belongs to the earlier type of such styles.
Kim then gives three counter-arguments to a later date: although the manuscript omits iota adscripts, has nomina sacra, and transliterates the Latin name Silbanov" (three points which pointed earlier scholars to a date of 200), other first century papyri have been found to do the same. If Kim’s redating of Ě46 is correct, among other things it does indicate that a collection of Paul’s letters existed no later than the 70s CE.
Daniel B. Wallace,
The Prof’s Soapbox

In my opinion, Daniel B. Wallace does an excellent job of highlighting Kim's major points. But, Nomad leaves out one important comment by Wallace: "However, this new dating [of Kim's] is probably incorrect."


Nomad: One of the reasons Kim has been able to do this redating is due to the fact that we have far more papyri available to us than we did when P46 was first discovered in 1930.

It is true that there are "far more papyri available to us than" ever before, but nothing has changed the minds of virtually all modern paleographers. They think P46 dates to about 200 CE. To my knowledge, the only commentator convinced by Kim's argument is Philip Comfort.

Nomad: The discovery of Herculaneum, in particular, and the documents there have given us a much broader range of materials for comparative analysis, helping Kim to demonstrate that the style of writing found in P46 closely resembles that of the Herculaneum, and since this town was known to be destroyed by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79AD, we have a reliable upward range with which to date this find.

It is true that Kim makes this argument, but he has not found acceptance among any palaeographers. There are reasons for this, and I will go into it later.

Nomad: Needless to say, the dating of 200AD is almost certainly too early for P46

I think Nomad meant to say "the dating of 200AD is almost certainly too late for P46..." Obviously, 200 CE is later than Kim's suggestion of about 80 CE. I, of course, disagree with Nomad here. So do virtually all palaeographers.


[b]Nomad: ...and led Philip Comfort to note:

”[S]ome manuscripts have been receiving earlier dates. For example, the Pauline codex P46 has been redated by (Young-Kyu) Kim to ca. A.D. 85. To this day, Kim’s early dating of P46 to the later part of the first century has not been challenged on palaeographical grounds.”
Quest for the Original Text, by P.W. Comfort, pg. 31


Nomad: Clearly, if Kim’s conclusions are correct, a 2nd Century date for Colossians is pretty much out of the question now.

The problem is this: No one but Philip Comfort accepts Kim's conclusions.

Nomad: There is a second, and no less important issue raised in Kim's findings, and that concerns what is almost certainly a false belief in when the codex itself came into common use. In the past, scholars have tended to believe that the codex as a 2nd-3rd Century Christian invention, but based on Kim's work on P46, we can see that this is, in fact, in error.

Again, no palaeographer takes Kim's conclusions seriously. The codex probably came into use around the beginning of the second century CE.

In Kim's 1988 article, he disagrees with the opinions of virtually every palaeographer before and after him on the dating of P46 and, to some degree, the dating of some of the papyri he used for comparison purposes. Among the prominent names are: F. G. Kenyon, U. Wilchen, H. A. Sanders, C. H. Roberts, A. Debrunner, P. W. Skehan, F. Dunand, et al. These names do not include those who have reviewed his work and determined his conclusions unwarranted. Among these are T. C. Skeat and Bruce M. Metzger.

According to Skeat, "We would have to accept that it is, by a very wide margin, the oldest surviving Christian manuscript and the oldest surviving example of a papyrus codex. Moreover, P46 uses an extensive and well-developed system of nomina sacra, which it is difficult to believe can have existed not merely in A. D. 80, but, presumably, in one of its ancestors. I therefore find it impossible to accept Kim's thesis." (Note: The nomina sacra alluded to by Skeat are contractions (made by Christian scribes) of certain sacred words. This distinctively Christian custom probably originated late in the first century, but was not used extensively until later.)

Bruce M. Metzger states the following: "If we assume that the year A. D. 80 would be a reasonable figure on Kim's basis, we are confronted with several highly improbable circumstances. First P46 is a perfectly ordinary copy--certainly not the archetype of the Pauline corpus! It must have taken some time for the nine Epistles that are preserved in P46 to have been collected, then a copy made of the corpus (the archetype), and finally a copy of this to reach the interior of Egypt...It is certainly significant that the late E. G. Turner, who examined, in original or in photograph, over 500 codices, dated P46 firmly in the third century." Skeat and Metzger quotes are from The Text of the New Testament, pp. 265-266.

I find the arguments of Skeat and Metzger to be persuasive.

One last note: Palaeography (the comparative study of ancient writings) is not an exact science. Most experts admit that no ancient MS can be precisely dated. That is why most give an approximate date, allowing for about 25 years on either side of the estimate.




[This message has been edited by penatis (edited February 06, 2001).]
 
Old 02-07-2001, 11:55 PM   #8
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by penatis:

[b]Nomad: His (Kim's) arguments focus on three areas (quoted from an article by Dr. D.B. Wallace):

Kim believes that his evidence “strongly suggests that Ě46 (or P46) was written some time before the reign of the emperor Domitian”—that is, before 81 CE. Kim gives several strands of evidence for this hypothesis, all of a palaeographical nature:
(1) the ligature forms of Ě46 do not occur later than the first century;
(2) “all literary papyri similar to Ě46 in its exact style… have been assigned to an early date [i.e., no later than c. 150 CE]”; and
(3) Ě46 belongs to the earlier type of such styles.
Kim then gives three counter-arguments to a later date: although the manuscript omits iota adscripts, has nomina sacra, and transliterates the Latin name Silbanov" (three points which pointed earlier scholars to a date of 200), other first century papyri have been found to do the same. If Kim’s redating of Ě46 is correct, among other things it does indicate that a collection of Paul’s letters existed no later than the 70s CE.
Daniel B. Wallace,
The Prof’s Soapbox

In my opinion, Daniel B. Wallace does an excellent job of highlighting Kim's major points. But, Nomad leaves out one important comment by Wallace: "However, this new dating [of Kim's] is probably incorrect."</font>
Perhaps you should have checked Wallace's notes on why he reached this conclusion penatis, then you could have saved yourself a lot of trouble and time.

From Prof's Soapbox, notes 28 and 29

28 One might ask how so many NT scholars could have been wrong, since Ě46 has been known since the 1930’s. The answer is that many more papyri have been discovered since Ě46 was discovered, and these papyri help to paint a more precise picture as to the date of this manuscript. They simply awaited a systematic sifting for palaeographical material relevant to this papyrus.

29 1 have spoken with many NT textual critics to get their feedback on Kim’s article (including Bruce Metzger, Gordon Fee, Bart Ehrman, Eldon Epp, Michael Holmes, Thomas Geer, and J. K. Elliott), and not one had any substantive arguments against Kim’s evidence. A few years ago, in the textual criticism group at the Society of Biblical Literature, an Oxford Ph.D. student in papyrology presented a paper in which all of Kim’s arguments were refuted. It was a convincing piece of work.


I have not had access to this student's arguments, nor does Wallace really summarize them for us, so while we may wish to rely upon Wallace's authority and judgement here, I think Kim should have an opportunity to respond to the (as of yet unknown) arguments presented by this anonymous student.

The key point here, of course, is that Wallace also listened to the arguments of Bruce Metzger, Fee, Ehrman, Epp, Holmes, Geer, and J. K. Elliott and not one had any substantive arguments against Kim’s evidence.

Since all you have presented below is those exact arguments, you must tell us how you decided against Wallace on one count, then sided with him on the other (especially as we do not know the actual arguments from the anonymous student as of yet).

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Nomad: One of the reasons Kim has been able to do this redating is due to the fact that we have far more papyri available to us than we did when P46 was first discovered in 1930.

It is true that there are "far more papyri available to us than" ever before, but nothing has changed the minds of virtually all modern paleographers. They think P46 dates to about 200 CE. To my knowledge, the only commentator convinced by Kim's argument is Philip Comfort.</font>
While your knowledge may or may not be correct on this question, I hope you are not using this as an argument of any kind.

Remember, Comfort's point remains that Kim remains unrefuted on paleographical grounds, and so far as we know right now, this is still the case.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Nomad: The discovery of Herculaneum, in particular, and the documents there have given us a much broader range of materials for comparative analysis, helping Kim to demonstrate that the style of writing found in P46 closely resembles that of the Herculaneum, and since this town was known to be destroyed by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79AD, we have a reliable upward range with which to date this find.

Nomad: ...and led Philip Comfort to note:

”[S]ome manuscripts have been receiving earlier dates. For example, the Pauline codex P46 has been redated by (Young-Kyu) Kim to ca. A.D. 85. To this day, Kim’s early dating of P46 to the later part of the first century has not been challenged on palaeographical grounds.”
Quest for the Original Text, by P.W. Comfort, pg. 31


Nomad: Clearly, if Kim’s conclusions are correct, a 2nd Century date for Colossians is pretty much out of the question now.

The problem is this: No one but Philip Comfort accepts Kim's conclusions.</font>
Once again, this hardly means much. Even scholars can remain stubborn for purely sceptical reasons, yet have no solid reasoning to back up their scepticism. This does not make them automatically right, but an inability to present a good counter argument to Kim hardly proves that they have good reasons to reject his work does it?

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Nomad: There is a second, and no less important issue raised in Kim's findings, and that concerns what is almost certainly a false belief in when the codex itself came into common use. In the past, scholars have tended to believe that the codex as a 2nd-3rd Century Christian invention, but based on Kim's work on P46, we can see that this is, in fact, in error.

Again, no palaeographer takes Kim's conclusions seriously. The codex probably came into use around the beginning of the second century CE.</font>
Please note, penatis, that you are relying entirely upon an argument from authority here. The doubters need to offer convincing scientific reasons to reject Kim's findings. Even expert opinion should not be given greater weight than actual scientific findings. I'm sure you would agree with this point.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">In Kim's 1988 article, he disagrees with the opinions of virtually every palaeographer before and after him on the dating of P46 and, to some degree, the dating of some of the papyri he used for comparison purposes. Among the prominent names are: F. G. Kenyon, U. Wilchen, H. A. Sanders, C. H. Roberts, A. Debrunner, P. W. Skehan, F. Dunand, et al. These names do not include those who have reviewed his work and determined his conclusions unwarranted.</font>


As I am sure you are aware, some of the names on your list did their work prior to Kim's publication, and therefore may not have had access to his new information, or the new findings. In the case of Roberts (who did his work in the 50's), this is certainly the case.

And as for those that may have published later, without knowing what their arguments were, all we have is name dropping and an argument from authority.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Among these are T. C. Skeat and Bruce M. Metzger.</font>
Well, we already know that Metzger's argument is not very convincing (see Wallace above).

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">According to Skeat, "We would have to accept that it is, by a very wide margin, the oldest surviving Christian manuscript and the oldest surviving example of a papyrus codex. Moreover, P46 uses an extensive and well-developed system of nomina sacra, which it is difficult to believe can have existed not merely in A. D. 80, but, presumably, in one of its ancestors.</font>
Oh dear. This looks a lot like an argument from silence. At the same time, what evidence does he offer that the nomina sacra has not been found on earlier papyri?

Here is why this question is important:

If we assume that P46 is 2nd Century, then any other papyri with similar nomina sacra is also going to be dated to the 2nd Century. This produces purely circular reasoning of course, since P46 then becomes the reason to date all papyri to the 2nd Century if they contain similar nomina sacra.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">I therefore find it impossible to accept Kim's thesis." (Note: The nomina sacra alluded to by Skeat are contractions (made by Christian scribes) of certain sacred words.</font>
When I get home, I will offer additional evidence on this point, but the key thing to remember here is that Skeat is engaged in the worst kind of circular reasoning in his argument here.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> This distinctively Christian custom probably originated late in the first century, but was not used extensively until later.)</font>
Perhaps. But then again, the evidence is not all in just yet. I will offer additional evidence this weekend after I get home.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Bruce M. Metzger states the following: "If we assume that the year A. D. 80 would be a reasonable figure on Kim's basis, we are confronted with several highly improbable circumstances. First P46 is a perfectly ordinary copy--certainly not the archetype of the Pauline corpus! It must have taken some time for the nine Epistles that are preserved in P46 to have been collected,</font>


This, of course, is pure conjecture on Metzger's part, and shows why Wallace did not find the argument convincing. We see no reason whatsoever to conclude that it would have taken very long to collect these Epistles together. In fact, based on what we DO know about the early church, these letters were being widely circulated, even during Paul's own lifetime! Fifteen or more years between his death, and the collection of his most important letters is certainly not a short period of time.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> then a copy made of the corpus (the archetype), and finally a copy of this to reach the interior of Egypt...</font>
This argument astonishes me. Travel in the 1st Century Roman Empire was astonishingly fast. Travel from Rome itself to Egypt rarely took more than a few days. Since ALL of the Epistles were written to Eastern Churches, plus Rome, travel time would never have been a factor, and considering the fact that Alexandria was the educational and learning capital of the Empire, we could expect just such a collection to be gathered there before almost any other city.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">It is certainly significant that the late E. G. Turner, who examined, in original or in photograph, over 500 codices, dated P46 firmly in the third century."</font>
Why? What are Turner's arguments, and when did he make them?

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> I find the arguments of Skeat and Metzger to be persuasive.</font>
They may well be right, but to challenge a papyrologist on scientific grounds, scientific reasons must be offered as opposed to personal opinion and conjecture. From what you have quoted above, we don't see very much science, but we do have a great deal of opinion.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">One last note: Palaeography (the comparative study of ancient writings) is not an exact science. Most experts admit that no ancient MS can be precisely dated. That is why most give an approximate date, allowing for about 25 years on either side of the estimate.</font>
This is very true. And should be noted, since the papyri that Kim does use comes from the Herculaneum find, where the papyri cannot be dated later than 79AD (when Vesuvius buried the town). Thus, the upper end range of the dating could theoretically be placed at about c. 115AD.

Until we see a convincing palaeographical argument against Kim's findings, I think it is prudent to stick with science over opinion. A closer look at the unknown paper by the anonymous Oxford student might be a good place to start, but without a title or author's name to go on, this is difficult to do at this point.

Nomad

[This message has been edited by Nomad (edited February 08, 2001).]
 
Old 02-08-2001, 04:35 AM   #9
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Originally posted by penatis:
Nomad: His (Kim's) arguments focus on three areas (quoted from an article by Dr. D.B. Wallace):

Kim believes that his evidence “strongly suggests that Ě46 (or P46) was written some time before the reign of the emperor Domitian”—that is, before 81 CE. Kim gives several strands of evidence for this hypothesis, all of a palaeographical nature:
(1) the ligature forms of Ě46 do not occur later than the first century;
(2) “all literary papyri similar to Ě46 in its exact style… have been assigned to an early date [i.e., no later than c. 150 CE]”; and
(3) Ě46 belongs to the earlier type of such styles.
Kim then gives three counter-arguments to a later date: although the manuscript omits iota adscripts, has nomina sacra, and transliterates the Latin name Silbanov" (three points which pointed earlier scholars to a date of 200), other first century papyri have been found to do the same. If Kim’s redating of Ě46 is correct, among other things it does indicate that a collection of Paul’s letters existed no later than the 70s CE.
Daniel B. Wallace, The Prof’s Soapbox

In my opinion, Daniel B. Wallace does an excellent job of highlighting Kim's major points. But, Nomad leaves out one important comment by Wallace: "However, this new dating [of Kim's] is probably incorrect."


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Perhaps you should have checked Wallace's notes on why he reached this conclusion penatis, then you could have saved yourself a lot of trouble and time.

From Prof's Soapbox, notes 28 and 29

28 One might ask how so many NT scholars could have been wrong, since Ě46 has been known since the 1930’s. The answer is that many more papyri have been discovered since Ě46 was discovered, and these papyri help to paint a more precise picture as to the date of this manuscript. They simply awaited a systematic sifting for palaeographical material relevant to this papyrus.

29 1 have spoken with many NT textual critics to get their feedback on Kim’s article (including Bruce Metzger, Gordon Fee, Bart Ehrman, Eldon Epp, Michael Holmes, Thomas Geer, and J. K. Elliott), and not one had any substantive arguments against Kim’s evidence. A few years ago, in the textual criticism group at the Society of Biblical Literature, an Oxford Ph.D. student in papyrology presented a paper in which all of Kim’s arguments were refuted. It was a convincing piece of work.

I have not had access to this student's arguments, nor does Wallace really summarize them for us, so while we may wish to rely upon Wallace's authority and judgement here, I think Kim should have an opportunity to respond to the (as of yet unknown) arguments presented by this anonymous student.

The key point here, of course, is that Wallace also listened to the arguments of Bruce Metzger, Fee, Ehrman, Epp, Holmes, Geer, and J. K. Elliott and not one had any substantive arguments against Kim’s evidence.

Since all you have presented below is those exact arguments, you must tell us how you decided against Wallace on one count, then sided with him on the other (especially as we do not know the actual arguments from the anonymous student as of yet).


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Nomad: One of the reasons Kim has been able to do this redating is due to the fact that we have far more papyri available to us than we did when P46 was first discovered in 1930.
It is true that there are "far more papyri available to us than" ever before, but nothing has changed the minds of virtually all modern paleographers. They think P46 dates to about 200 CE. To my knowledge, the only commentator convinced by Kim's argument is Philip Comfort.


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While your knowledge may or may not be correct on this question, I hope you are not using this as an argument of any kind.

Remember, Comfort's point remains that Kim remains unrefuted on paleographical grounds, and so far as we know right now, this is still the case.


quote:
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Nomad: The discovery of Herculaneum, in particular, and the documents there have given us a much broader range of materials for comparative analysis, helping Kim to demonstrate that the style of writing found in P46 closely resembles that of the Herculaneum, and since this town was known to be destroyed by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79AD, we have a reliable upward range with which to date this find.
Nomad: ...and led Philip Comfort to note:

”[S]ome manuscripts have been receiving earlier dates. For example, the Pauline codex P46 has been redated by (Young-Kyu) Kim to ca. A.D. 85. To this day, Kim’s early dating of P46 to the later part of the first century has not been challenged on palaeographical grounds.”
Quest for the Original Text, by P.W. Comfort, pg. 31

Nomad: Clearly, if Kim’s conclusions are correct, a 2nd Century date for Colossians is pretty much out of the question now.

The problem is this: No one but Philip Comfort accepts Kim's conclusions.


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Once again, this hardly means much. Even scholars can remain stubborn for purely sceptical reasons, yet have no solid reasoning to back up their scepticism. This does not make them automatically right, but an inability to present a good counter argument to Kim hardly proves that they have good reasons to reject his work does it?


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Nomad: There is a second, and no less important issue raised in Kim's findings, and that concerns what is almost certainly a false belief in when the codex itself came into common use. In the past, scholars have tended to believe that the codex as a 2nd-3rd Century Christian invention, but based on Kim's work on P46, we can see that this is, in fact, in error.
Again, no palaeographer takes Kim's conclusions seriously. The codex probably came into use around the beginning of the second century CE.


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Please note, penatis, that you are relying entirely upon an argument from authority here. The doubters need to offer convincing scientific reasons to reject Kim's findings. Even expert opinion should not be given greater weight than actual scientific findings. I'm sure you would agree with this point.


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In Kim's 1988 article, he disagrees with the opinions of virtually every palaeographer before and after him on the dating of P46 and, to some degree, the dating of some of the papyri he used for comparison purposes. Among the prominent names are: F. G. Kenyon, U. Wilchen, H. A. Sanders, C. H. Roberts, A. Debrunner, P. W. Skehan, F. Dunand, et al. These names do not include those who have reviewed his work and determined his conclusions unwarranted.
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As I am sure you are aware, some of the names on your list did their work prior to Kim's publication, and therefore may not have had access to his new information, or the new findings. In the case of Roberts (who did his work in the 50's), this is certainly the case.

And as for those that may have published later, without knowing what their arguments were, all we have is name dropping and an argument from authority.


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Among these are T. C. Skeat and Bruce M. Metzger.
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Well, we already know that Metzger's argument is not very convincing (see Wallace above).


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According to Skeat, "We would have to accept that it is, by a very wide margin, the oldest surviving Christian manuscript and the oldest surviving example of a papyrus codex. Moreover, P46 uses an extensive and well-developed system of nomina sacra, which it is difficult to believe can have existed not merely in A. D. 80, but, presumably, in one of its ancestors.
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Oh dear. This looks a lot like an argument from silence. At the same time, what evidence does he offer that the nomina sacra has not been found on earlier papyri?

Here is why this question is important:

If we assume that P46 is 2nd Century, then any other papyri with similar nomina sacra is also going to be dated to the 2nd Century. This produces purely circular reasoning of course, since P46 then becomes the reason to date all papyri to the 2nd Century if they contain similar nomina sacra.


quote:
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I therefore find it impossible to accept Kim's thesis." (Note: The nomina sacra alluded to by Skeat are contractions (made by Christian scribes) of certain sacred words.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

When I get home, I will offer additional evidence on this point, but the key thing to remember here is that Skeat is engaged in the worst kind of circular reasoning in his argument here.


quote:
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This distinctively Christian custom probably originated late in the first century, but was not used extensively until later.)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Perhaps. But then again, the evidence is not all in just yet. I will offer additional evidence this weekend after I get home.


quote:
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Bruce M. Metzger states the following: "If we assume that the year A. D. 80 would be a reasonable figure on Kim's basis, we are confronted with several highly improbable circumstances. First P46 is a perfectly ordinary copy--certainly not the archetype of the Pauline corpus! It must have taken some time for the nine Epistles that are preserved in P46 to have been collected,
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This, of course, is pure conjecture on Metzger's part, and shows why Wallace did not find the argument convincing. We see no reason whatsoever to conclude that it would have taken very long to collect these Epistles together. In fact, based on what we DO know about the early church, these letters were being widely circulated, even during Paul's own lifetime! Fifteen or more years between his death, and the collection of his most important letters is certainly not a short period of time.


quote:
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then a copy made of the corpus (the archetype), and finally a copy of this to reach the interior of Egypt...
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This argument astonishes me. Travel in the 1st Century Roman Empire was astonishingly fast. Travel from Rome itself to Egypt rarely took more than a few days. Since ALL of the Epistles were written to Eastern Churches, plus Rome, travel time would never have been a factor, and considering the fact that Alexandria was the educational and learning capital of the Empire, we could expect just such a collection to be gathered there before almost any other city.


quote:
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It is certainly significant that the late E. G. Turner, who examined, in original or in photograph, over 500 codices, dated P46 firmly in the third century."
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Why? What are Turner's arguments, and when did he make them?


quote:
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I find the arguments of Skeat and Metzger to be persuasive.
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They may well be right, but to challenge a papyrologist on scientific grounds, scientific reasons must be offered as opposed to personal opinion and conjecture. From what you have quoted above, we don't see very much science, but we do have a great deal of opinion.


quote:
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One last note: Palaeography (the comparative study of ancient writings) is not an exact science. Most experts admit that no ancient MS can be precisely dated. That is why most give an approximate date, allowing for about 25 years on either side of the estimate.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is very true. And should be noted, since the papyri that Kim does use comes from the Herculaneum find, where the papyri cannot be dated later than 79AD (when Vesuvius buried the town). Thus, the upper end range of the dating could theoretically be placed at about c. 115AD.

Until we see a convincing palaeographical argument against Kim's findings, I think it is prudent to stick with science over opinion. A closer look at the unknown paper by the anonymous Oxford student might be a good place to start, but without a title or author's name to go on, this is difficult to do at this point.


RESPONSE:

1. I have stated that I find persuasive the opinions of those who do not accept Kim's dating of P46.

2. To my knowledge, Kim has been able to convince two persons, Philip Comfort and Nomad. I presented evidence why this is so.

3. What is astonishing is the fact that Nomad discounts the opinions of EVERY scholar/palaeographer EXCEPT Young Kyu Kim. Is he that desperate?

4. This is one wild goose chase I am not going to go on. My rebuttal stands as stated. (Nomad can demean/ignore the opinions of EVERY scholar/palaeographer EXCEPT Kim if he wishes, but that serves as zero support for his argument.)


[This message has been edited by penatis (edited February 08, 2001).]

[This message has been edited by penatis (edited February 08, 2001).]
 
Old 02-08-2001, 05:48 AM   #10
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Hi penatis

I see that you have not replied to a single point that I have raised except to stand by your faith in the authorities. That's cool.

Thank you for the reply, however, and after I post my additional evidence this weekend we can move on to a deeper look at the dates and authorship of the NT Canon.

Peace,

Nomad
 
 

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