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Mummy Mask Deconstructed to Reveal Oldest Gospel Text?

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posted on Jan, 18 2015 @ 09:59 AM
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A team of researchers are set to publish, this year, the first volume of ancient texts they've recovered from Egyptian funerary masks and other pieces of cartonnage from mummy cases. Among these texts is a fragment of the Gospel of Mark, dated to before 90 AD. If the dating is accurate, this would be the earliest text of Christian gospel know to exist.

Most people are familiar with the iconic gold mask of Tutankhamun; but unlike those of the pharaohs, the masks and cases for other mummified Egyptians weren't nearly as extravagant. The wealthy might have a masks and cases carved of wood but for everyone else, these items were typically made of a material known as cartonnage. All cartonnage was created with a technique much like papier-mâché, with scraps of material plastered or glued together and molded into a shell that became rigid when dried. The dried pieces could then be painted and gilded by artisans. In the 1st century AD, a common material found in cartonnage was waste papyri.

From Live Science (via Obscuragator):

One of the masks deconstructed by the team (not the mask) Image: Prof. Craig Evans via Live Science


The first-century gospel is one of hundreds of new texts that a team of about three-dozen scientists and scholars is working to uncover, and analyze, by using this technique of ungluing the masks, said Craig Evans, a professor of New Testament studies at Acadia Divinity College in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.

"We're recovering ancient documents from the first, second and third centuries. Not just Christian documents, not just biblical documents, but classical Greek texts, business papers, various mundane papers, personal letters," Evans told Live Science. The documents include philosophical texts and copies of stories by the Greek poet Homer.

The business and personal letters sometimes have dates on them, he said. When the glue was dissolved, the researchers dated the first-century gospel in part by analyzing the other documents found in the same mask.


The fragment containing the gospel text was reportedly dated using carbon-14 dating in conjunction with analysis of the handwriting and clues from other fragments of papyri within the mask. Despite all of the researchers signing NDAs, information about this potentially import find was leaked in 2012. Last year, more details emerged in what would have been the lead up to the book's publication but for reasons unknown, publication was put off until this year. In the video below, from July of last year, you can see Dr. Craig Evans speaking about the find.



The announcements have been met with severe criticism on a number of fronts. Some scholars have expressed skepticism over the dating of the text based on what has been so far revealed. More generally, many condemn the destruction of the artifacts to reveal the papyri from which it was made. In defense of the research, Dr. Evans has stated that the pieces being destroyed aren't "museum quality" and that the recovery of dozens of texts from a single mask justifies their destruction.
edit on 2015-1-18 by theantediluvian because: (no reason given)




posted on Jan, 18 2015 @ 10:06 AM
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a reply to: theantediluvian
I haven't watched the video, but, do they differ much from what is written in the Bible?



posted on Jan, 18 2015 @ 10:36 AM
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It will be interesting to see how similar or different the 2 gospels of mark are,assuming of course that we get a true and complete translation of the newly found copy.
if there are any significant differences we can be sure the Vatican will tell us that the recently found copy isn`t as old as it is claimed to be or perhaps it wasn`t translated correctly, or maybe ....
edit on 18-1-2015 by Tardacus because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 18 2015 @ 11:22 AM
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originally posted by: superman2012
a reply to: theantediluvian
I haven't watched the video, but, do they differ much from what is written in the Bible?



If they do do you think we'll ever find out? Not a chance.



posted on Jan, 18 2015 @ 11:38 AM
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a reply to: theantediluvian

I find it interesting to find the gospel of Mark in the construction materials of this mask, especially considering these people were saying it was made from what could be considered "waste papyri"

That could mean that there was so many copies of the gospel of mark at the time, that it could have been considered waste... perhaps like a pamphlet is these days

Or

That the person/persons who made the mask had little regard for the gospel of mark as a relevant reading material so it could easily be disregarded as trash...

It would make sense if the person was Egyptian or roman...




posted on Jan, 18 2015 @ 11:45 AM
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a reply to: Akragon

or maybe even as a talisman like the book of gates being inscribed in a sarcophagus or hieroglyphs printed on mummy wrappings.



posted on Jan, 18 2015 @ 12:48 PM
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a reply to: undo

Perhaps.... but probably not


IF the pieces were glued together the creator had little reverence to what was on the papyri...

IF said person was using the paper as a talisman, it would have likely been on the underside of the mask clearly printed

The Egyptians do this regularly on the underside of their funerary masks... but its in hieroglyphics, not in any biblical script or language




posted on Jan, 18 2015 @ 01:14 PM
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Maybe the texts were from a personal collection the man had. Maybe his belief made his mourners think they should use the texts to make his death mask because he believed in them. We will never know for sure what the reasoning is, only guessing at many possible reasons they were used.

If you have a need for some paper to do this and there are scrolls hanging around in the guys house, why would you go buy more paper. See, even back then people believed in recycling, especially when these papers would be very expensive to get.



posted on Jan, 18 2015 @ 02:04 PM
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If it doesn't fit modern xtian doctrine, it will be discredited. If it does fit modern doctrine, it will be hailed as the "holy grail", and be used for years to come as proof the bible is the "word of god".
edit on 1/18/2015 by Klassified because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 18 2015 @ 02:16 PM
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Kindergarten kids make masks with news paper 1000 years from now people will be reading the gospel of New York times. or gospel of Twilight. Will be neat to be a fly on the wall.



posted on Jan, 18 2015 @ 02:44 PM
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originally posted by: Klassified
If it doesn't fit modern xtian doctrine, it will be discredited. If it does fit modern doctrine, it will be hailed as the "holy grail", and be used for years to come as proof the bible is the "word of god".

Of course it fits. Otherwise, it wouldn't be identifiable as Mark's Gospel.

The Gospel of Mark has for some time been considered to be the first written Gospel. The oldest scraps of that particular book we have date to a little after 300 AD, but it is estimated to have been written around 50 to 75 AD (and no, not by the Disciple Mark.)

This scrap would just be the "new" oldest piece we have, and not be anything Earth-shattering.

We have scraps of the other three gospels that date back to 150 AD or so. That's not long after the date for this one, and the other Gospels are thought to have used this one as source material.

So, no, nothing much different from what we already have, other than the age.

I'd be more interested in the Greek materials, though Mark was itself, of course, originally written in Greek.

Harte
edit on 1/18/2015 by Harte because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 18 2015 @ 03:14 PM
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a reply to: theantediluvian

Evans is a full-on Evangelical Christian who takes the New Testament literally. This might explain suspicions about his claims. Now I'm not familiar with Evans (prior to your OP), but what little I have read raises concerns about the veracity of his claims.

NDAs are aren't necessarily a bad thing and neither are they automatic evidence of mischief. IIRC they were used by the Council of Antiquities under Hawass. However, the lack of details regarding his dating of the papyrus will make people in the field wonder. It isn't the way these things are done. No peer review?

Our opinions don't really matter whilst we aren't Egyptologists and yet I think the value of finding texts within these masks outweighs the benefits of preserving them. Of course, we have to wonder how many masks have been disassembled and compare the figure to the amount of retrieved text. From there, the amount of text and the significance of its contents would also need to be considered.

*If* the claims turn out to be supported by peer review, it's sure to be interesting to see an early scrap of Gospel text. The '80s' would be one generation removed from being contemporary to the times Jesus allegedly lived in.



posted on Jan, 18 2015 @ 03:39 PM
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a reply to: Harte
When I was a fundamentalist, many of my peers referred to the NIV translation of the bible as the "Never Inspired Version". Many still do actually. The differences between the NIV and KJV are marginal, yet they were made larger than life by a lot of xtian pastors and "scholars". As well, the Westcott and Hort manuscripts were highly criticised and demonized, because of their origin. Nevertheless, they have finally gained acceptance among the xtian community as a whole. I expect similar controversy to surround this text, one way or the other if it is seen as a perversion in comparison to the Majority Text.


I'd be more interested in the Greek materials

Agreed. Especially anything written by Homer.



edit on 1/18/2015 by Klassified because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 18 2015 @ 03:51 PM
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Reminds me of the story of this guy, who was remodeling his old house
and found a beat up Superman comic (issue #) used as instillation between the drywall.



posted on Jan, 18 2015 @ 04:19 PM
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They used to say that only the wealthy were taught how to read and write. This suggests that everyone in Egypt was taught how to read and write. So they would have had schools, colleges and workplace training. There was another report where they found the diary of a teenage girl on a clay pot in a house abandoned to the desert. And it was over 3000 years old.



posted on Jan, 18 2015 @ 05:18 PM
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originally posted by: stormcell
They used to say that only the wealthy were taught how to read and write. This suggests that everyone in Egypt was taught how to read and write. So they would have had schools, colleges and workplace training.

No reason to think this guy wasn't one of the wealthy, is there?

Note also that an illiterate can still shred old paper to make a funeral mask.


originally posted by: stormcellThere was another report where they found the diary of a teenage girl on a clay pot in a house abandoned to the desert. And it was over 3000 years old.

Link please.

Harte



posted on Jan, 18 2015 @ 10:55 PM
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a reply to: theantediluvian

Brilliant thread, the ancient Egyptians and right up the about the 4th century truly believed in the power of magical papyri as did the Greeks even into the early Christian period whom used magical or holy phylactery's so it is not surprising they would take such a precious hand created object and incorporate it into the mask as that would be like putting god's own words around the deceased as a protective barrier.

I actually do believe this destruction of the object is justified not only for the recovery of this early Christian text but also the recovery of any other work's, The gnostic movement was very strong in Egypt even at this early time with an other very early remnants of the gospel of mark having been found there at an excavation, it was not certain as to it's age but either first or early second century AD, it will be interesting and worth seeing what differences there are in the more recent version's.



posted on Jan, 19 2015 @ 03:12 AM
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a reply to: N3k9Ni


If they do do you think we'll ever find out? Not a chance.

This must be one of the most casually ignorant posts I have ever read on Above Top Secret.

You have absolutely no idea how these things work, do you? You're so wrapped up in your conspiracy-myth you don't bother to compare what you think with information from the real world any more.

Textual scholarship and criticism of the Bible based on scientific methods began in the early 1800s. That's two hundred years ago. It began in Germany, and the English-speaking world became conscious of it in about 1830; a few years more and everybody was doing it. They've been at it ever since. We know that large chunks of the New Testament were added to the script in the third century and after; the works of the Old Testament have been analyzed and prised apart to reveal when they were written, by whom and under what conditions.

Biblical scholarship works like the rest of academia. Researchers produce papers, peers review them, they are published for all the world to see. This stuff is common knowledge to anyone who has been paying attention.

Evidently you have not been. Let's hope you learn something from this thread.



posted on Jan, 19 2015 @ 03:27 AM
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a reply to: theantediluvian

The oldest texts of the gospel of Mark ends at an odd place, with Jesus dead and the women weeping and informing the disciples that the tomb was empty and... the end.

It is believed that Mark 16: 9-20 were added in the second century because they wished to resolve the cliff-hanger.

It would be great if this manuscript sorted out, once and for all about the ending!



posted on Jan, 19 2015 @ 03:46 AM
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a reply to: theantediluvian

I wonder how many textual variations there are from the Gospel of Mark today, and this pre- 90AD from around the actual time period of The Apostles / First Christians.

We already see many variations from the current gospel and Mark in Codex Sinaiticus and that is not even as old as this ancient fragment.



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