Papyrus from mummy mask may contain Gospel from 90 A.D

In a recent discovery, scientists found out texts considered to be the oldest copy of a gospel, the Gospel of Mark that was written during 90 A.D.

Presently, the most ancient copies of Gospel date back to 101 to 200 A.D. This newly discovered first century Gospels, written on Papyrus have an interesting story.

Common people of Egypt used to reuse the papyrus sheets with already written Gospel texts to make masks for mummy, mainly due to the fact that papyrus was immensely expensive. The main ingredients of the masks used to be papyrus, paint and glue.


With the help of a recently invented technique, scientist could take out the glue keeping the ink intact. Thus, the fragments could be read.

“We’re recovering ancient documents from the first, second and third centuries that includes classical Greek texts, business papers, various mundane papers, personal letters,” said Craig Evans, a professor at Acadia Divinity College, Nova Scotia.

Some of the business papers and letter have dates on them, researchers noted. But this technique of ungluing has a major disadvantage as the masks are being destroyed while retrieving the texts. Roberta Mazza, a lecturer at the University of Manchester, has strongly protested against this destruction in his blog.

Some information about this work got leaked during 2012 and also stirred up controversies. The first volume of these first-century texts is likely to publish later this year.

Karen King, a professor at Harvard University, was the first one to talk about Gospel. Gospels were written in Coptic, an old language from Egypt.

Since their arrival, Gospels have generated numerous arguments across the globe. Business card size fragments with the lines written on papyrus, ‘Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married’ made worldwide news in 2012. This Gospel was known as “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife”.