The Pilate Inscription. In 1961 Italian archaeologist Antonio Frova discovered a Latin inscription at Caesarea Maritima. This inscription names Pontius Pilate as Prefect. It is the only archaeological evidence of both Pilate’s name and title. Most believe that the inscription was part of a temple dedication in honor of Tiberius Caesar. The inscription on display in our museum is a full scale replica based in the one we saw at the Bible Museum and Resource Center in Collierville, Tenn. (Operated by Don Bassett).
Dead Sea Scroll 7Q5
This is a portion of Mark’s Gospel. For it to be deposited in Qumran where it was discovered, it had to be placed there no later than AD 68. AD 68 is the year the Khirbet of Qumran and the nearby area of the caves were overrun by the Tenth Roman Legion. It’s also interesting to note that before the contents of cave seven were identified as Christian, papyrologists had already identified the palaeographic script on the scroll fragments as being “Zierstil” in style – which peaked at the turn of the first century. Colin H. Roberts acting on behalf of the editorial team, stated that 7Q5 is a late example of that style and should be dated no later than AD 50. We might add a few years if we suppose that the style fell out of use more slowly, still, a date of AD 68 is the most recent we can get, due to the destruction of that region by the Roman forces at that time.
The Huleatt Fragments
This MSS consists of three fragments of Matthew’s Gospel. The date assigned to them originally was between 180 to 200 AD. Dr. Carston Theide (papyrologist, director of the Institute for Basic Epistemological Research in Paderborn, Germany) has set forth a strong case to argue for a date closer to AD 60 (See “Eyewitness to Jesus”, Doubleday, 1996). Even the late date of 200 AD is manuscript evidence attesting to the reliability of the New Testament.
The John Rylands Fragment (P52)
This manuscript is located in the John Rylands Library in Manchester England. It was discovered in Egypt and assigned a date of AD 130. This is a late date actually. There are many that content that this manuscript is older. Regardless, even a date of 130 AD supports the Christian position that John penned his Gospel about the end of the first century. Why? Because the traditional place of writing (according to Church historians) was Ephesus in Asia Minor, some distance from Egypt, where the Rylands Papyrus was discovered. Whether we accept what early church history says about where and when John wrote his Gospel, the fact remains that we have a manuscript, said to be an eyewitness account, dated at 130 AD.
A page from Papyrus 46 (AD 250)
Papyrus 46 is one of the oldest extant portions of the New Testament. Our page is a facsimile of a portion of Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians. The wealth of manuscript evidence for the New Testament rules out any possibility that the text underwent significant alteration during the early centuries of the Common Era.
New Testament Coins
Our museum features a number of actual coins from around the time of Christ. Coins minted by Herod, Pilate and Festus are included in our collection.
A Timeline of Church History
Our giant framed wall chart depicts in pictorial form the history of Christianity from the time of Christ Himself until after Constantine. Our timeline features the life spans of the original disciples and their pupils, as well as documenting various manuscript evidences for the New Testament. The historical data is quite clear: there was no “dark period” in which the truth of Jesus was lost. It’s all right there in the pages of the New Testament.