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One of the tasks of exegesis is determining the text. On this edition of “Exegetically Speaking,” a podcast of Wheaton College, Dr. Seth Ehorn, Visiting Assistant Professor of New Testament, considers how the Gospel of Mark ends in modern translations and in early Greek manuscripts: Does the Second Gospel end in 16.8 or 16.20? Has the last page been lost? Has someone added some verses which weren’t in the original? If the Gospel ends in 16.8 with the women afraid and running away, what does that mean?
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Recently, a friend sent me a link to this video of Dan Wallace speaking at Acadia Divinity College on New Testament manuscripts. Dan is probably the best connected and most informed scholar on the state of NT manuscripts, in America at least. His organization continues to discover manuscripts (hand-written documents) which scholars did not know existed. There are over 2.5 million pages altogether of the known number of NT manuscripts, over 5800. This is a remarkable number of manuscripts still in existence given (a) that pagan emperors and governors did their best (during times of persecution) to discover and burn Gospels and letters and (b) the writing material and inks they used are organic, which means they were subject to decay. Dan’s organization, Center for Study of New Testament Manuscripts, is working feverishly to create digital images of these manuscripts before they degrade further. It is a great resource for scholars of Christian history.