Here’s a short update on this (now old) news from the Evangelical Textual Criticism blog. A few thoughts:
1. Read the comments – they’re very informative. I wish this didn’t have Josh McDowell associated with it. You’ll understand why when you see the comments.
2. It’s true that the scholars involved have signed confidentiality agreements. I know two of them, and will be having lunch with one next week. No, I don’t plan on fishing – confidentiality agreements are important.
3. My impression, based on conversations, is that there *is* something to this fragment. But as Peter Head (in the comments) notes, we’ll have to wait for publication (and the discussion that will ensue) to see how solid a first century date really is.
For those new to this news and NT textual criticism (not to mention synoptic gospel research), this fragment and its date are important at least with respect to Marcan priority and (perhaps) the wider discussion about the NT’s “corruption” in the direction of high Christology. That debate (thank Bart Ehrman) makes little sense to me regardless of this fragment due to my own research trajectory in “exalted mediators” in Second Temple Judaism (the two powers issue). It depends what part of Mark the fragment contains as to whether it might have relevance to Christology.