Papyrus 4/64/67 (P4/P64/P67) Alexandrian Text Type (150-175 C.E.)

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P4/64/67 (Papyrus 4/64/67 – Suppl. Gr. 1120/Gr. 17/P. Barcelona 1)

PAPYRUS 4

P4

  • Contents: Luke 1:58–59; 1:62–2:1, 6–7; 3:8–4:2, 29–32, 34–35; 5:3–8; 5:30–6:16
  • Date: 150–175 C.E.
  • Discovered: Coptos, Egypt in 1889
  • Housing Location: Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, Suppl. Gr. 1120
  • Physical Features: P4 is one the earliest manuscripts of the Gospel of Luke and contains extensive sections of the first six chapters: 1:58-59; 1:62-2:1; 2:6-7; 3:8-4:2; 4:29-32, 34-35; 5:3-8; 5:30-6:16

Textual Character: P4 is of the Alexandrian text-type and agrees with P75 and B 93 percent of the time. The copyist of P4 was likely a professional scribe. “P4 and P75 are identical in forty complete verses, with only five significant exceptions (Luke 3:22, 36; 5:39; 6:11, 14).” Comfort and Barret in their book Text of the Earliest NT Greek Manuscripts inform us that P4 came from the same codex as P64/67. Comfort writes,

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The Common Identity of P4, P64, and P67

Textual scholars acknowledge that P64 and P67 come from the same manuscript. But few have recognized that renowned papyrologist Colin Roberts identified the Lucan manuscript P4 as also belonging to the same codex. Roberts, who is best known for his dating of the Johannine manuscript P52 to the early second century, was both the editor of P64 and the scholar who first identified P67 as belonging to the same manuscript. This same papyrologist was convinced that P4 also came from the same codex. Speaking of P4, P64, and P67, he wrote:

There can in my opinion be no doubt that all these fragments come from the same codex which was reused as packing for the binding of the late third century codex of Philo (= H. 695). An apparent discrepancy was that ʼΙησοῦς appeared as ΙΣ in the Paris fragments and as ι̅η̣̅ in the Oxford fragments; the correct reading in the latter, however, is ΙΣ, as can be checked in the photograph. – Colin H. Roberts, Manuscript, Society, and Belief in Early Christian Egypt, Schweich Lectures 1977 (London: Oxford University Press for the British Academy, 1979), 13.

Roberts made the above statement in his 1977 lecture to the British Academy. Ten years later, in his publication The Birth of the Codex, he still affirmed that P4, P64, and P67 are parts of the same Gospel codex. To my knowledge, he never changed his opinion. The only scholar I know of who changed his mind on this matter is Kurt Aland. In 1963, he listed P4 as separate from P64/P67. In 1965, he suggested that P4 belonged to the same codex as P64 and P67, but thereafter, he never refers to them as belonging to the same codex. P4 is always listed separately from P64/P67 in Aland’s publications. But I cannot find a reason for the change.

In the 1965 article about new papyrus manuscripts of the New Testament, Kurt Aland presented the position that P4 probably belonged to the same codex as P64 and P67. The only hesitancy Aland had in affirming a complete identification is that the color of P64 was much lighter than that of P4. Otherwise, with respect to all other paleographic features, Aland noted that P64/P67 bears a remarkable similarity to P4. Following Aland’s lead, the papyrologist Joseph van Haelst also identified P4 as probably belonging to the same manuscript as P64 and P67.

Thus, the common identity of the three papyri needs to be reexamined and reaffirmed, which can be done by showing common provenance for the manuscripts and shared paleographic features. This discussion will then lead naturally to the dating of these manuscripts. According to Roberts, P4 was used as stuffing for the binding of “a codex of Philo, written in the later third century and found in a jar which had been walled up in a house at Coptos.” (Roberts, Manuscript, Society, and Belief, 8.) Very likely, the owner of this manuscript “concealed it with the intention of removing it from its hiding-place when danger had passed, either when Coptos was besieged and sacked by Diocletian in A.D. 292 or later [303] in his reign during the last and severest of the persecutions.” – Philip Wesley Comfort and David P. Barrett, THE TEXT OF THE EARLIEST NEW TESTAMENT MANUSCRIPTS: Papyri 1-72, Vol. 1 (English and Greek Edition) (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Academic, 2019), 32-33.

Gregory-Aland_papyrus_P4_Gospel_of_Matthew's_title,_euangelion_kata_Maththaion
[Papyrus BnF Suppl. Gr. 1120 ii 3_(Gregory-Aland papyrus_P4) Gospel of Matthew title euangelion kata Maththaion] Fragment of a flyleaf with the title of the Gospel of Matthew, ευαγγελιον κ̣ατ̣α μαθ᾽θαιον (euangelion kata Maththaion). Dated to late 2nd or early 3rd century, it is the earliest manuscript title for Matthew and one of the earliest manuscript titles for any gospel (alongside with John’s P66 and P75.

Notable Readings P4

In Luke 6:2 — οὐκ ἔξεστιν (not lawful) for οὐκ ἔξεστιν ποιεῖν (not lawful to do); the reading is supported only by Codex Vaticanus Graecus 1209, (Codex Bezae), Codex Nitriensis, 700, lat, copsa, copbo, arm, geo;

Some early accounts stated that P4 was used as stuffing for the binding of a codex of Philo, written in the late third century and found walled up in a house at Coptos. Apparently, this account was incorrect, however, as the fragments were actually found stashed between pages of the codex of Philo, not in the binding.

Philip Comfort and David Barret in their book Text of the Earliest NT Greek Manuscripts argue that P4 came from the same codex as P64+67, the Magdalen papyrus, and date the texts to 150-175. Willker tentatively agrees stating ‘The [3rd century] dating given is that of NA. Some date it into the 2nd CE (e.g. Roberts and Comfort). This is quite probable considering the use as binding material for a 3rd CE codex’. Comfort and Barret also show that P4 and P64+67 have affinities with a number of late 2nd-century papyri. Roberts (1979), Skeat (1997), Willker and Stanton also date the text to the late 2nd century, leading Gregory to conclude that ‘[t]here is good reason to believe that P4 … may have been written late in the 2nd century…’. Frederic Kenyon dated P4 to the fourth century. In 2018, Brent Nongbri argued that it was not possible with current knowledge to date P4 to a specific century and that any dates from the 2nd to 4th centuries were equally reasonable. Charlesworth has concluded ‘that P64+67 and P4, though written by the same scribe, are not from the same … codex.’

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PAPYRUS 64

Papyrus 64 Magdalen
Papyrus 64 “Magdalen”

P64

Contents: Matthew 3; 5; 26

Date: 150–175 C.E.

Discovered: Coptos, Egypt

Housing Location: Barcelona, Fundación Sant Lluc Evangelista, Inv. Nr. 1; Oxford, Magdalen College, Gr. 18

Physical Features: The fragments have writing on both sides, which indicates that they came from a codex as opposed to a scroll.

Textual Character: P64 is of the Alexandrian text-type, evidencing a strong affinity with Alexandrian features, “agreeing slightly more with א than with B.”

The “Magdalen” papyrus was purchased in Luxor, Egypt in 1901 by Reverend Charles Bousfield Huleatt (1863–1908), who identified the Greek fragments as portions of the Gospel of Matthew (Chapter 26:23 and 31) and presented them to Magdalen College, Oxford, where they are cataloged as P. Magdalen Greek 17 (Gregory-Aland P64) and whence they have their name. When the fragments were finally published by Colin H. Roberts in 1953, illustrated with a photograph, the hand was characterized as “an early predecessor of the so-called ‘Biblical Uncial'” which began to emerge towards the end of the 2nd century. The uncial style is epitomized by the later biblical Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus. Comparative paleographical analysis has remained the methodological key for dating the manuscript, but there is no consensus on the dating of the papyrus. Estimates have ranged from the first century to the fourth century AD.

The fragments are written on both sides, indicating they came from a codex rather than a scroll. More fragments, published in 1956 by Ramon Roca-Puig, cataloged as P. Barc. Inv. 1 (Gregory-Aland P67), were determined by Roca-Puig and Roberts to come from the same codex as the Magdalen fragments, a view which has remained the scholarly consensus.

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Date

P64 was originally given a 3rd-century date by Charles Huleatt, who donated the Manuscript to Magdalen College. Papyrologist A. S. Hunt then studied the manuscript and dated it to the early 4th century. After initially preferring a third or possibly fourth century dating for the papyrus, Colin Roberts published the manuscript and gave it a dating of ca. 200, which was confirmed by three other leading papyrologists: Harold Bell, T. C. Skeat, and E. G. Turner. In late 1994, Carsten Peter Thiede proposed redating the Magdalen papyrus to the middle of the 1st century (AD 37 to 70). This attracted considerable publicity, as journalists interpreted the claim optimistically. Thiede’s official article appeared in Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik in 1995. A version edited for the layman was co-written with Matthew d’Ancona and presented as The Jesus Papyrus, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 1996. (also published as: Eyewitness to Jesus, 1996, New York: Doubleday). Thiede’s hypothesis has been viewed with skepticism by nearly all established Biblical scholars. (For example, Peter M. Head in Tyndale Bulletin 46, 1995.)

Philip Comfort and David Barret in their book Text of the Earliest NT Greek Manuscripts argue for a more general date of 150–175 for the manuscript, and also for P4 and P67, which they argue came from the same codex. P4 was used as stuffing for the binding of “a codex of Philo, written in the later third century and found in a jar which had been walled up in a house at Coptos [in 250].” If P4 was part of this codex, then the codex may have been written roughly 100 years prior or earlier. Comfort and Barret also show that this P4/64/67 has affinities with a number of the late 2nd century papyri.

Comfort and Barret “tend to claim an earlier date for many manuscripts included in their volume than might be allowed by other palaeographers.” The Novum Testamentum Graece, a standard reference for the Greek witnesses, lists P4 and P64/67 separately, giving the former a date of the 3rd century, while the latter is assigned ca. 200. Charlesworth has concluded ‘that P64+67 and P4, though written by the same scribe, are not from the same … codex.’ The most recent and thorough palaeographic assessment of the papyrus concluded that “until further evidence is forthcoming perhaps a date from mid-II to mid-IV should be assigned to the codex.”

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PAPYRUS 67

P67

Contents: Matt. 3:9, 15; 5:20–22, 25–28

Date: 150–175 C.E.

Discovered: Coptos, Egypt

Housing Location: Barcelona, Fundación Sant Lluc Evangelista, Inv. Nr. 1; Oxford, Magdalen College, Gr. 18

Physical Features: The fragments have writing on both sides, codex style.

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Textual Character: P67 is of the Alexandrian text-type, evidencing a strong affinity with Alexandrian features, determined by Roca-Puig to have a close affinity to א. Comfort and Barret show that this P4/64/67 has affinities with a number of the late 2nd century papyri. Comfort says, “T. C. Skeat makes a convincing case for the claim that P4/P64/P67 once belonged to a four-Gospel codex. This would make P4/P64/P67 the earliest extant four-Gospel codex.” In reference to their common identity, Roberts wrote of P4, P64, and P67:

There can, in my opinion, be no doubt that all these fragments come from the same codex which was reused as packing for the binding of the late third-century codex of Philo (= H. 695). An apparent discrepancy was that ʼΙησοῦς appeared as IC,] in the Paris fragments and as ι̅η̣̅ in the Oxford fragments; the correct reading in the latter, however, is, as can be checked in the photograph.

Roberts made the above statement at a lecture to the British Academy in 1977. In 1987, he reaffirmed that this was still his position in his publication, The Birth of the Codex. There is nothing on record that suggests Roberts ever changed his position that P4, P64, and P67 are parts of the same Gospel codex.

Edward D. Andrews & Wikipedia

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