..".these manuscripts could date as early as the late first century AD..."
In new testament manuscript research it has been the habit of biblical scholars for some years to use the second century AD as a convenient chronological dumping ground for manuscripts that are difficult to date. Perhaps it is time to investigate this dumping ground, and it would not surprise me if one or several of these manuscripts could date as early as the late first century AD, which would make them first generation copies of the gospel autographs themselves. In these pages, Curt Fletemier demonstrates how this could indeed be the case.
-Paul L. Maier
Russel H. Seibert Professor of Ancient History, emeritus
Western Michigan University