The experts say that the papyrus contains a text from the Book of Mark, which is believed to have been written sometime during the 1st century, before the year 90.
The scientists explained that the bible fragment was written on a sheet of papyrus that was used as a mask to cover a mummy. According to the researchers, most of the mummies they discovered had gold masks on their faces, but ordinary people in those times were buried with masks made of papyrus, paint and glue.
The gospel text was written on the papyrus before it was used to create the mask of the mummy. Researchers discovered the mask after many years and treated it very cautiously so as not to alter it.
According to LiveScience, the scientists have used a special technique called carbon-14 dating in order to analyze the ancient documents. They also found a method to remove the glue off the mask so that the text will not be damaged in the process. They had to be careful because of the documents were extremely fragile and could have been destroyed easily.
Craig Evans, an expert in the study of the New Testament, talked about the recent discovery, saying that the scientists have recovered ancient documents from the 1st, 2nd and 3rd centuries so far. Among those documents, some of them Christian texts, biblical texts, ancient Greek documents, daily papers and personal letters from those ancient times.
Evans is a professor at the Acadia Divinity College in Wolfville and explained that one of the masks the scientists discovered might have 12 texts that could reveal important details about ancient history. Evans added that only a few documents dating back to the years 100 and 200 have been found so far.
Denny Burk, professor at Boyce College, pointed out the importance of the recently discovered documents, saying that no one has ever found texts from the New Testament written around the first century. The fact that a fragment from the Book of Mark was discovered is really extraordinary.
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