EYEWITNESSES TO JESUS?

A GERMAN SCHOLAR ARGUES THAT THREE BITS OF PAPYRUS ARE THE OLDEST FRAGMENTS OF ST. MATTHEW'S GOSPEL

IS IT, AS SOME CLAIM, THE most important breakthrough in biblical research since the 1947 discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls? Or is it merely a scholar's overhyped thesis, unsupported by solid evidence? These questions swirl about three tiny fragments of papyrus at Oxford University known collectively as the Magdalen Papyrus. Ragged-edged and dun-colored, they contain snippets of three passages from Chapter 26 of St. Matthew's Gospel in Greek script. For more than 90 years, the papyrus scraps had been housed at the library of Magdalen College, the gift of an obscure British chaplain who bought them at an antiquities market...

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