Was O’callaghan’s Bombshell A Dud? -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bible and Spade (First Run)
Volume: BSP 03:2 (Spring 1974)
Article: Was O’callaghan’s Bombshell A Dud?
Author: Anonymous

Was O’callaghan’s Bombshell A Dud?

In our Spring 1972 issue, we published an article entitled “O’Callaghan’s Bombshell,” reporting on the electrifying claim made by Jesuit scholar José O’Callaghan that fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls were portions of the New Testament dating to A.D. 50. Dr. William White, a linguistics expert, immediately came out in support of O’Callaghan’s identification (see Bible and Spade, Spring 1972, pp. 39-40, and Winter 1973, pp. 15-18). As indicated in the aforementioned articles, however, many scholars were skeptical because of a number of problems associated with the identification (see also Bible and Spade, Spring 1973, pp. 57-58).

In the intervening two years since Dr. O’Callaghan made his announcement, there has been a flood of scholarly articles written on the subject and, with the exception of Dr. White’s, all have been critical of O’Callaghan’s hypothesis.

The best summary of the controversy printed to date was an article in the September 28, 1973 issue of Christianity Today. In this article. Dr. E. Jerry Vardaman, professor of archaeology and religion at the Cobb Institute of Archaeology at Mississippi State University, presented a summary of the criticisms scholars have raised against the identification. He concluded by saying, “We can confidently say, therefore, that O’Callaghan’s theory remains unlikely. In other words, we are led step by step to the conviction that O’Callaghan has not as yet demonstrated sufficiently that Qumran Cave 7 has yielded fragments of Mark’s Gospel.”

It appears that unless further support is forthcoming in the way of additional evidence, O’Callaghan’s “bombshell” will turn out to be a dud!

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