PAPYRUS 104 (P104) A Very Early Greek Fragment Copy of the Gospel of Matthew

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P. Oxy. 4404 P104
P104 (P. Oxy. 4404) Contents Matt. 21:34–37, 43, 45(?)
Name P. Oxy. 4404
Sign P104
Text Matt. 21:34–37, 43, 45(?)
Date 100-150
Script Greek
Found Egypt
Now at Papyrology Rooms, Sackler Library, Oxford
Size 7 x 5.2 cm
Type Alexandrian text-type
Category I
Note Earliest witness that does not contain Matt. 21:44

Papyrus 104 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering), designated by the symbol P104, is a fragment that is part of a leaf from a papyrus codex, it measures 2.5 by 3.75 inches (6.35 by 9.5 cm) at its widest. It is conserved in the Papyrology Rooms at Sackler Library, Oxford, UK. The front (recto) contains lines from the Gospel of Matthew 21:34-37, in Greek, the back (verso) contains tentative traces of lines from verses 43 and 45.[1]

The P52 PROJECT THE NEW TESTAMENT DOCUMENTS 4th ed. MISREPRESENTING JESUS

Description

This papyrus ranks among the earliest surviving texts of Matthew. It consists of six verses from the Gospel of Matthew, in a fragmentary condition, and is dated 100-150 C.E.[2] The text of the manuscript concurs with the NA27/UBS4 (Greek New Testaments) completely, with the exception that it does not include Matthew 21:44. This verse is also omitted in manuscripts: Codex Bezae, Minuscule 33, some Old-Latin manuscripts, Syriac Sinaiticus (syrs), Diatessaron. However, it is included in Codex Sinaiticus, Codex Vaticanus, Codex Ephraemi, Codex Regius, Codex Washingtonianus, and Dublinensis. This verse thus belongs to the so-called Western non-interpolations, making P104 the earliest witness to the interpolated nature of this verse.

Textual character     Though a small fragment, it concurs with UBS4/NA27 completely, with the exception that it does not include Matt. 21:44, thus making it the earliest witness to its exclusion.

The editor (J. D. Thomas) dates this fragment to the late second century, while noting that the hand is indeed “early.” The question is: how early? The handwriting is carefully executed in what could be called the Roman uncial with a rounded, decorated style. In this style, there is a conscious effort to round letters and to finish every vertical stroke with a serif or decorated roundel. Schubart (naming this style zierstil) thought this style was current from the last century of the Ptolemaic period (first century B.C.) to the end of the first century a.d. Others, such as Turner, saw it as extending to the end of the second century or early third. Turner cited P. Oxy. 3030 (a.d. 207) as an example. But P. Oxy. 3030 is a mixture of zierstil and other forms. It is not a good comparison to P104. Thomas makes some comparisons between P104 and P. Oxy. 3523 (= P90), but I think the Matthew fragment (P104) is more elegant and earlier. In my opinion, P104 is earlier than P90 (John) and all the other late second-century biblical manuscripts displaying a similar style—namely P. Antinoopolis 7 (Psalms), P. Gr Bib g. 5 (Psalms), P. Oxy. 1074 (Exodus), and P32 (Titus). The hand of P104 is more rigid and ornate, reflecting the earlier Roman uncial style of the Ptolemaic period.

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When we look for other comparable manuscripts to help us date P104, one can see similarities with P. Oxy. 454 + PSI 119, dated quite solidly to the mid-second century, and with P. Oxy. 2743, P. Oxy. 3009, and P. Oxy. 3010 (each assigned to the second century). However, P104 bears even greater morphological likeness to three manuscripts dated to the first/second century. The first is P. Berolinenses 6845, the second is PSI 1213, and the third is P. Oxy. 4301, which is probably the work of the same scribe who produced PSI 1213. PSI 1213 and P. Oxy. 4301 are the nearest matches to P104 (note especially the formation and/or decoration of the following letters: epsilon, iota, lambda, mu, nu, and rho). The editor of P. Oxy. 4301 dates this manuscript to the late first/early second century. P104 seems to belong to the same period. If this is true, it is the earliest New Testament manuscript. If the date is pushed back to early/middle second century (the scribe may have been an older man working in an earlier style), then P104 is among the earliest of the New Testament manuscripts.[3]

Scribe Copyist-ScribeGreek Text

The papyrus is written on both sides, and the surviving portion also includes part of the top and outer margins of the page. Since the text for the verso is nearly illegible, only the text for the recto is given. The characters that are in bold style are the ones that can be seen in Papyrus P104.

Gospel of Matthew 21:34-37 (recto)

AΠE-
ΣTEIΛEN TOYΣ ΔOYΛOYΣ AYTOY ΠPOΣ
TOYΣ ΓEΩPΓOYΣ ΛABEIN TOYΣ KAP
ΠOYΣ AYTOY KAI ΛABONTEΣ OI ΓEΩP
ΓOI TOYΣ ΔOYΛOYΣ AYTOY ON MEN
EΔEIPAN ON ΔE AΠEKTEINAN ON
ΔE EΛIΘOBOΛHΣAN ΠAΛIN AΠE
ΣTEIΛEN AΛΛOYΣ ΔOYΛOYΣ ΠΛEIO
NAΣ TΩN ΠPΩTΩN KAI EΠOIHΣAN
AYTOIΣ ΩΣAYTΩΣ YΣTEPON ΔE AΠE

ΣTEIΛEN

ape-
steilen tous doulouautou pros
tous geōrgous labein tous kar
pous autou kai labontes oi geōr
goi tous doulous autou on men
edeiran on de apekteinan on
de elithobolēsan palin ape
steilen allous doulous pleio
nas tōn prōtōn kai epoiēsan
autois ōsautōs usteron de ape

steilen

…he sent his servants to
the vine-growers to collect the harvest
that was his. And the vine-growers took
his servants; indeed,
they beat one and they killed another,
and another they stoned. Again, he sent
other servants, more than
the first: and they did

unto them likewise. But last of all he sent

A total of 110 legible letters are visible on the recto side of the fragment, representing 18 out of the 24 letters of the Greek Alphabet; zeta, theta, xi, phi, chi, and psi being missing. “The scribe uses rough breathings, but no other lectional feature or punctuation is found.”[4] The hand is ‘early’, i.e., before c. 250. It is very carefully written, with extensive use of serifs.

by Wikipedia and Edward D. Andrews

4th ed. MISREPRESENTING JESUS King James Bible The Complete Guide to Bible Translation-2

[1] “Liste Handschriften”. Münster: Institute for New Testament Textual Research. Retrieved Saturday, July 25, 2020.

[2] P.Oxy.LXIV 4404

Gregory-Aland numbers register

[3] Philip Wesley Comfort and David P. Barrett, THE TEXT OF THE EARLIEST NEW TESTAMENT MANUSCRIPTS: Papyri 75-139 and Uncials, Vol. 2 (English and Greek Edition) (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Academic, 2019), 149.

[4] P. M. Head, “Some recently published NT Papyri from Oxyrhynchus: An Overview and Preliminary Assessment Archived 2011-07-06 at the Wayback Machine,” Tyndale Bulletin 51 (2000), pp. 1-16.

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