PAPYRUS 87 (P87) (Inv. Nr. 12) Dating to About 125-150 A.D., Which Contains Philemon 13–15, 24–25

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Papyrus 87

Papyrus 87, recto

Papyrus 87, recto
Sign 𝔓87
Text Philemon 13-15, 24-25
Date 125-150 A.D.
Script Greek
Now at Institut für Altertumskunde,
University of Cologne
Cite C. Römer, Kölner Papyri 4, Papyrologica Colonensia 7 (Cologne: 1984), pp. 28-31
Type Alexandrian text-type
Category I
The P52 PROJECT 4th ed. MISREPRESENTING JESUS

Papyrus 87 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering), designated by 𝔓87, is an early New Testament papyrus. It is the earliest known manuscript of the Epistle to Philemon. The surviving texts of Philemon are verses 13–15, 24–25. The manuscript paleographically has been assigned to 125-150 A.D. The Greek text of this codex is a representative of the Alexandrian text-type (or proto-Alexandrian). Aland ascribed it as “Normal text,” and placed it in Category I. It is currently housed at the University of Cologne (P. Col. theol. 12) in Cologne.

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Comfort: The Alands say that P87 has a “normal” text. The original editors dated P87 “early third century” because the handwriting is nearly identical to that found in P46 and because P46 has traditionally been dated to the beginning of the third century. But if the dating of P46 should be changed (see comments on P46), so must the dating of P87. An independent comparison of P87 with other hands shows that the handwriting in this manuscript is very similar letter for letter to P. Oxy. 841 (second hand; A.D. 120–130), just as P46 is.

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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.

REFERENCES

  1. 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.
  2. B. P. Grenfell & A. S. Hunt, Oxyrhynchus Papyri XIII, (London 1919), p. 10.
  3. Edward D. Andrews (2020) FROM SPOKEN WORDS TO SACRED TEXTS: Introduction-Intermediate New Testament Textual Studies, Cambridge, Ohio, Christian Publishing House.
  4. 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.
  5. David Alan Black, New Testament Textual Criticism, Baker Books, 2006, p. 65.
  6. “LISTE HANDSCHRIFTEN” MÜNSTER: INSTITUTE FOR NEW TESTAMENT TEXTUAL RESEARCH.
  7. Attribution: This article incorporates some text from the public domain: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, and Edward D. Andrews

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