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BYU Professors Retract Recent Claims

by Stephen Hebert on Tuesday - 27 February 2007

in Biblical Studies, New Testament

Recently, I wrote about the findings of some BYU professors who were using multispectral imaging analysis (MIA…interesting acronym) to analyze papyri fragments from Oxyrhynchus (here).

The original article, written by a student for the BYU Universe, claimed that Professors Wayment, Macfarlane, and Bay had found a new text for the ending of Mark. This was in addition to a claim that the trio had found a text of Luke missing the Luke 22:43–44 section, and a new apocryphal gospel.

Now, the professors have issued a retraction (PDF), claiming that the Universe’s description of the findings were the result of a misunderstanding. During the interview, the trio was asked: “What more do you and your colleagues hope to find?” It appears that there answer to this question was misunderstood.

Wayment, Macfarlane, and Bay do not blame the student, however they do “regret the mistake.”

Since I tend to monitor the pulse of the blogospher, I can say that the wild finding originally published by the Universe were met with two reactions:

  1. Fervor and excitement
  2. Skepticism

Most folks around the web seemed to believe that these findings were “too good to be true.”

As it stands, the scholarly community still awaits the results of BYU’s MIA project, and I think most agree that MIA may lead to some significant textual discoveries in years to come.

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