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|Name||P. Oxy. XV 1780|
|Text||John 8 †|
|Now at||The Green Collection|
|Cite||Grenfell & A. S. Hunt, Oxyrhynchus Papyri XV, 1922, pp. 7-8.|
|Size||26 by 16 cm|
Papyrus 39 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering), signed by 𝔓39, is an early copy of the New Testament in Greek. It is a papyrus manuscript of the Gospel of John. It contains only John 8:14-22. The manuscript paleographically had been assigned to the 3rd century but should be dated to 175-225 A.D. It was written by a professional scribe, in 25 lines per page, in large, beautiful letters. It has numbered pages. Don Barker proposes a wider and earlier range of dates for Papyrus 39, along with Uncial 0232, Papyrus 88, and Uncial 0206, and states that all four could be dated as early as the late second century or as late as the end of the fourth century. The Greek text of this codex is representative of the Alexandrian text type (proto-Alexandrian). Aland placed it in Category I. 𝔓39 shows agreement with Vaticanus and 𝔓75. There are no singular readings. Guglielmo Cavallo published its facsimile in 1967. The manuscript now resides in the Green Collection and is featured at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C.
Comfort: It should be dated to the late second or early third century. It is similar to P. Rylands 16, P. Oxyrhynchus 25, and P. Oxyrhynchus 4327. Grenfell and Hunt said P39 generally agrees with B. In fact, it agrees verbatim with B [Codex Vaticanus] and nearly so with P75. The Alands consider P39 to have a “strict” text.
In the case of the New Testament papyri manuscripts, our early evidence for the Greek New Testament, size is irrelevant. They range from centimeters encompassing a couple of verses to a codex with many books of the New Testament. But all of them add something significant. And often, monumental. It can be from support for an original reading to establishing which family of manuscripts were the earliest. A tiny fragment that may date to about 100-150 A.D. or 150-200 A.D. that is established as belonging to the Alexandrian family gives us credence that the Alexandrian text is the earliest form of the text. In addition, it validates our two greatest vellum codices: Vaticanus and Sinaiticus. Early on, the supporters of the Byzantine text tried to argue that the Byzantine manuscripts were the earliest and the most accurate. In addition, they claimed the Alexandrian family had removed material from the New Testament. Well, this was debunked when the 20th century arrived because of all the 144 Papyrus Greek NT manuscripts and all of those dating to the first three centuries after the first century, none are of the Byzantine family, and the rest are Alexandrian, with a couple being Western. The argument from the Alexandrian supporters that the Byzantine was later, and their scribes added to the Bible, was true. The general rule, the earlier the manuscript, the more accurate. So, the early papyri can validate the original reading for almost all of our textual variants.
- PHILIP W. COMFORT; DAVID P. BARRETT (2019). THE TEXT OF THE EARLIEST NEW TESTAMENT GREEK MANUSCRIPTS. VOL. 1 GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN: KREGEL ACADEMICS. P. 110.
- B. P. Grenfell & A. S. Hunt, Oxyrhynchus Papyri XIII, (London 1919), p. 10.
- KURT ALAND; BARBARA ALAND (1995). THE TEXT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT: AN INTRODUCTION TO THE CRITICAL EDITIONS AND TO THE THEORY AND PRACTICE OF MODERN TEXTUAL CRITICISM. ERROLL F. RHODES (TRANS.). GRAND RAPIDS: WILLIAM B. EERDMANS PUBLISHING COMPANY. P. 97.
- David Alan Black, New Testament Textual Criticism, Baker Books, 2006, p. 65.
- “LISTE HANDSCHRIFTEN” MÜNSTER: INSTITUTE FOR NEW TESTAMENT TEXTUAL RESEARCH.
- Attribution: This article incorporates some text from the public domain: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, and Edward D. Andrews