The New York Times has a follow-up on the sensational announcement this week in which scholars express both excitement and considerable skepticism about Karen King’s discovery. (My previous discussion is here).
Mark Goodacre links to a line-by-line takedown of the text by Francis Watson of Durham University. His summary:
Six of the eight incomplete lines of GJW recto are so closely related to the Coptic GTh,
especially to Sayings 101 and 114, as to make dependence virtually certain. A further line is derived
from Matthew; just one is left unaccounted for. The author has used a “collage” or “patchwork”
compositional technique, and this level of dependence on extant pieces of Coptic text is more plausibly
attributed to a modern author, with limited facility in Coptic, than to an ancient one. Indeed, the GJW
fragment may be designedly incomplete, its lacunae built into it from the outset. It does not seem
possible to fill these lacunae with GTh material contiguous to the fragments cited. The impression of
modernity is reinforced by the case in line 1 of dependence on the line-division of the one surviving
Coptic manuscript, easily accessible in modern printed editions. Unless this impression of modernity is
countered by further investigations and fresh considerations, it seems unlikely that GJW will establish
itself as a “genuine” product of early gospel writing.
An earlier post by Goodacre assembles links to some of those casting doubt on the text’s authenticity.
It turns out there is a documentary in the works.