EYEWITNESS TO JESUS by Matthew d’Ancona


Amazing New Manuscript Evidence About the Origin of the Gospels
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 Revolutionary thesis of German papyrologist Thiede and (London) Times assistant editor d'Ancona that the Magdalen Papyrus fragments of St. Matthew's Gospel date from as early as 60 a.d. This would mean that this Gospel, and possibly the others, represent eyewitness accounts of the events they describe and not merely later traditions of Christian communities, as New Testament scholars have supposed for over a century. Three tiny scraps of papyrus have been kept in a remote part of the library of Magdalen College, Oxford, since shortly after their discovery in Egypt by the Reverend Charles B. Huleatt at Luxor in 1901. They had been dated to the end of the second century until Thiede chanced to examine them during a trip to Oxford in 1994. His findings have caused a sensation in Europe, and this book brings the controversy to the American public. The authors give a review of New Testament scholarship from Michaelis to the members of the Jesus Seminar, describe the intricate workings of the science of papyrology, and recount the life and travels of Huleatt, from his undergraduate days at Magdalen to his death with his family during the 1908 earthquake at Messina. Thiede bases his complex argument on an analysis of the Greek writing on the Magdalen fragments, comparing it with that of other manuscripts that can be dated with certainty, found at Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Qumran. Of special importance is the honorific use of abbreviations for the names of God and Jesus. The authors emphasize that papyrology, a science that has only developed since large numbers of ancient papyri have been unearthed in modern times, is more capable of verification than the kinds of literary and even partisan theories that are prevalent in New Testament scholarly circles. Intelligent and controversial collaboration of scholarship and journalism. (24 photos, not seen) (Author tour)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-385-48051-2
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1996


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