Saturday, January 30, 2010

Markan forgery

Biblical scholar Margaret Mitchell and an inter-disciplinary team have subjected a purportedly medieval manuscript of Mark's gospel to close analysis and have determined that it is a nineteenth- or early twentieth-century forgery. The story is available in The Art Newspaper, along with a helpful affirmation that even forgeries are valuable learning opportunities:
Mitchell, a biblical scholar, undertook the task of analysing the text and found it to include the same errors contained in an edition of the Greek New Testament published by Philipp Buttmann in 1856. This led her to conclude that the creator of the Archaic Mark used Buttmann’s text as a guide for his forgery. “I’ve been asked repeatedly if I’m disappointed that the work is a forgery. I’m not. There is no longer a question mark after the date of the manuscript and that is tremendously satisfying,” said Mitchell.

The university intends to preserve the codex and encourage its use for further research into the forger’s techniques. “Those who study forgeries may be the largest beneficiaries of our scholarship,” said Mitchell.

[HT: Bible and Interpretation]

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