National Geographic’s “Bible Hunters”: Some Observations

Variant Readings

As Larry Hurtado mentioned on his blog a couple days ago, the cover story of the December 2018 issue of National Geographic magazine is on “Bible Hunters,” that is to say both nineteenth century figures like Constantine von Tischendorf and contemporary figures like Hobby Lobby’s president Steve Green. There’s actually a lot going on in both the scope and execution of this article. It is bookended with accounts of an ongoing American/Israeli led dig in caves near Qumran in the occupied West Bank, which is, as the article’s author notes, widely considered “illegal under international law.”  It also contains a discussion of the manuscript formerly known as “first-century Mark.” For now, I’ll just lay out some initial observations.

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