The sad state of affairs is that textual scholarship as a whole is unwittingly or knowingly moving the goalposts for some unknown reason. In textual criticism, it is now the earliest knowable text, the sociohistorical approach to New Testament Textual Studies, and, the newest trend of trying to redate our earliest NT papyri.
In the days of Westcott and Hort, the argument was that the Alexandrian scribes removed what we have in the Byzantine manuscripts, while the other argument was that the Byzantine scribes added and altered. How could we ever solve it once and for all?
WHAT DO WE KNOW?
Some eminent papyrologists, H. Hunger and O. Montevecchi, have affirmed Marcan identification. Still the debate of positive Marcan identification goes on; Some papyrologists argue for it,6 some argue against it, and one scholar has come up with a new identification altogether, namely Zechariah 7:4-5. In addition to proposing Marcan identification for 7Q5, O’Callaghan proposed identification of 1 Timothy 3:16-4:1 for 7Q4.
The Double Standard from Skeptics
When we are looking at secular history, historians come across balanced, fair, reasonable but when it comes to the gospels, there is a tremendous double standard. The Gospels, for example, are presumed to be guilty of being frauds, authors unknowable until they are proven innocent, and the bar is raised when it comes to the level of evidence needed. The normal way of investigating historical events, peoples, and places ostensibly are thrown out the window.
Why is this fragment of John’s Gospel so valuable to those who love the Bible today?
Some have claimed that John chapter 21 of John’s Gospel was written by a different hand than the apostle John whom they claim only wrote John 1-20. They support this, in part, because the last verse of chapter 20, John 20:31 is in the form of a conclusion, and John 21:24-25 refers to the author of the gospel in the third person (“We know that his testimony is true”).