How Many Second-Century [100 – 200 A.D.] New Testament Manuscripts Are There?

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APOSTOLIC FATHERS Lightfoot

The Importance of the Papyrus Manuscripts

EDWARD D. ANDREWS (AS in Criminal Justice, BS in Religion, MA in Biblical Studies, and MDiv in Theology) is CEO and President of Christian Publishing House. He has authored over 180+ books. In addition, Andrews is the Chief Translator of the Updated American Standard Version (UASV).

The earliest sources for the Greek New Testament are the papyri in codex (book-like) form. Of course, this designation came from the medium on which they were inscribed. In short, 25 New Testament papyri date between 100-200 A.D. At present, there have been over 139 of these discovered, with eighty of these manuscripts dating between 100 – 300 C.E., with the number increasing to 21 more papyri from 290-390 C.E., with a total of 139, dating between 100-500 C.E. These biblical papyri range from a very small fragment to codices, which may be incomplete, but still contain large portions of several New Testament books. They are noted in literature with the Black letter character, also known as Gothic script 𝔓, or by an upper- or lowercase “P” followed by a superscript Arabic number. (e.g., 𝔓52𝔓66, and 𝔓75).

The manuscripts below have all the second-century Papyri listed. If you see the papyri siglum (e.g., P66, P75, P108) is linked, this means that there is an article for that papyrus manuscript. If you see a superscripted + next to the papyrus, and it is linked, that is another article on the same papyrus manuscript (e.g., P66 + and P75 +). Click on the papyrus siglum for one article and the + symbol for the second article. Below is some basic information on the twenty-six papyri manuscripts dated to the second century. For far more extensive information, click the link on each siglum (e.g., 𝔓52𝔓66, and 𝔓75). Note that if any other manuscripts are discovered, or a manuscript is legitimately dated to the second century, it will be added here.

The Reading Culture of Early Christianity From Spoken Words to Sacred Texts 400,000 Textual Variants 02

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.

Below we will list the manuscripts. Then, we will give you insights into significant terms (a very brief into New Testament Textual Studies) that will enable you to understand the importance of these early papyri better. Then, the article will close with a description of each manuscript.

The P52 PROJECT 4th ed. MISREPRESENTING JESUS

Furthermore, if you wish to dig deeper, the manuscript siglum will be linked so you can click and jump to an article that may cover it in far more depth. For example, the article on P52, P66, and P75 would be over 20 pages each. Others might only be about 3-5 pages in length. In some cases, there might be two or even three articles on one manuscript, so click the link of the siglum of the manuscript for the main article and any other that says + or ++ as well, if you are interested in all, there is to know.

WARNING: Some relatively new papyrologists have made a name for themselves by redating of the earliest New Testament papyri, like Brent Nongbri and Michael Gronewald, who would redate P52 from 100-150 A.D. to …

  • 100-225 A.D. Brent Nongbri
  • 200-300 A.D. Michael Gronewald

World-Renowned Paleographers and Textual Scholars Date P52 Early

  • 100-150 C. H. Roberts
  • 100-150 Sir Frederic G. Kenyon
  • 100-150 W. Schubart
  • 100-150 Sir Harold I. Bell
  • 100-150 Adolf Deissmann
  • 100-150 E. G. Turner (cautiously)
  • 100-150 Ulrich Wilken
  • 100-150 W. H. P. Hatch
  • 100-125: Philip W. Comfort
  • 100-150 Bruce M. Metzger
  • 125-175 Kurt and Barbara Aland
  • 125-175 Pasquale Orsini
  • 125-175 Willy Clarysse
  • 170 C.E. Andreas Schmidt
  • 100-200 Daniel B. Wallace
9781949586121 THE NEW TESTAMENT DOCUMENTS

P75 is the most valuable Papyri manuscript for many reasons. It contains text from the Gospel of Luke 3:18-24:53 and John 1:1-15:8. Since it was published in the early 1960s, P75 has often been dated to about 175-225 A.D. However, some scholars have dated it into the third century, 200-300 A.D.  But Brent Nongbri again sets a date to the 4th century A.D. [300-400] for P75. Brent Nongbri also redates the second most substantial and important NT papyri, P66, from its date of 100-150 A.D., other  “ca. 200” A.D. to the 2nd century to the 4th century A.D. [150-300 A.D.]. The warning comes because papyrologists are even more unknown than textual scholars. Daniel Wallace and Agnostic Bart D. Ehrman are the two most known and prominent textual scholars alive today. Those who recently passed, Kurt Aland and Bruce M. Metzger, were arguably the best well-known textual scholars of the 20th/21st centuries. B. F. Westcott and F. J. A. Hort of the 19th century. But it might only be a couple of hundred thousand Christians out of 2.3 billion Christians who know these names. But when we start naming papyrologists, that number drops to a few thousand, and most of them are Bible scholars. Likely, all New Testament Bible scholars teaching in seminaries have never heard of papyrologists C. H. Roberts, Sir Frederic G. Kenyon, Sir Harold I. Bell, and E. G. Turner, to mention a few from the 20th century. And they would have never heard of Brent Nongbri if not for the fact he is redating many NT papyri to many decades later, if not a couple of hundred years later. Otherwise, he and others would be absolutely obscure their entire career with a handful of textual scholars knowing who they are.

7Q4/7Q5? Pre-68-70 A.D.

P1 175-225 A.D.

P4/64/67 150-175 A.D.

P20 150-200 A.D.

P23 175-225 A.D.

P27 175-200 A.D.

P29 175-225 A.D.

P32 100-150 A.D.

P39 175-225 A.D.

P45 175-225 A.D.

P46 125-150 A.D.

P52 100-150 A.D.

P66 100-150 A.D.

P75 175-225 A.D.

P77/103 125-150

P87 125-150 A.D.

P90 125-150 A.D.

P98 150-175 A.D.

P104 100-150 A.D.

P108 175-225 A.D.

P109 150-200 A.D.

P118 175-200 A.D.

P137 100-150 A.D.

0189 125-175 A.D.

P. Egerton 2 100-150

P. Egerton 3 150-200

 

Autograph: The autograph (self-written) was the text actually written by a New Testament author, or the author and scribe as the author dictated to him. If the scribe was taking it down in dictation (Rom: 16:22; 1 Pet: 5:12), he might have done so in shorthand. Whether by shorthand or longhand, we can assume that both the scribe and the author would check the scribe’s work. The author would have authority over all corrections since the Holy Spirit did not move the scribe. If the inspired author wrote everything down himself as the Spirit moved him, the finished product would be the autograph. This text is also often referred to as the original. Hence, the terms autograph and original are often used interchangeably. Sometimes textual critics prefer to make a distinction, using “original” as a reference to the text that is correctly attributed to a biblical author.  This is a looser distinction, one that does not focus on the process of how a book or letter was written.

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Textual Criticism: the art and science (some would say only art) of determining the original text from variant readings exhibited by extant manuscripts. Currently, a good deal of scientific methodology seems to be used as statistics, and computer processing is heavily employed. At the same time, however, TC is also faith-based (at least among conservative theologians), and the results are arguably impossible to verify. Faith plays a role in the belief by many that God has preserved His word somewhere among extant Greek manuscripts, which makes conjectural emendation unnecessary and unacceptable. As to verification, logic and the genealogical relationships between texts than can be constructed are often very convincing, but sometimes a decision is somewhat tenuous. Some critics would claim that no decision can really be verified, but many theories are accepted today without physical verification on the strength of reasonable probability.

New Testament manuscripts in Greek are categorized into five groups, according to a scheme introduced in 1981 by Kurt and Barbara Aland in The Text of the New Testament. The categories are based on how each manuscript relates to the various text types. Generally speaking, earlier Alexandrian manuscripts are category I, while later Byzantine manuscripts are category V. Aland’s method involved considering 1000 passages where the Byzantine text differs from non-Byzantine text. The Alands did not select their 1000 readings from all of the NT books; for example, none were drawn from Matthew and Luke.

Nomen sacrum, nomina sacra. Divine titles (such as Jesus, Lord, Christ, God) and sacred words (such as cross) written in contracted form in Christian biblical manuscripts.— Philip Comfort.

Staurogram (plural staurograms), also monogrammatic cross or tau-rho, (), of the Greek letters τ and ρ or Coptic letters ⲧ and ⲣ, later used as a symbol of the cross in early Christianity and remaining in use as a ligature in abbreviations of the words σταυρός and σταυρόω.

Text: this term has several meanings, the simplest of which is the content of a manuscript as opposed to its materials. This is a non-technical meaning, the same as the content of any book or a portion of the content. The term also has two technical meanings, one of which is roughly synonymous with “text type.” This use of the term is accompanied by a geographical or qualitative adjective, usually proper, such as “Alexandrian” or “Byzantine.” There is a significant difference between it and “text-type”: “text” by itself takes into account modern considerations regarding textual contamination and redefinitions of traditional text types. The other technical meaning is roughly synonymous with “witness” (q.v.). It focuses, as one would expect, on content, while “witness” focuses on the text as content entirely separate from the manuscript and predating it, possibly by many centuries.

Itacism: scribal errors based on confusion of certain vowel sounds in Greek. The term is based on the letter iota, which tended to be the sound (a long “ee” in English) of three vowels and additional two-vowel combinations. Long and short “o” sounds were also confused, however. The substitution of mistaken vowels when copying was done at dictation could result in a confusion of Greek pronouns and verb constructions among other things. Doubtless the same mistakes might also be made as a result of homophony (q.v.) even when copying was done without dictation. The textual critic must be alert to the possibility, which can provide a simple explanation to variant readings whose vowels could be confused.

Lacuna(e). Gap(s), blank space(s), tear(s), or missing page(s) in a manuscript. Most ancient manuscripts have lacunae, which are filled in by editors when they publish the editio princeps of the document. The siglum vid attached to a manuscript (such as P4vid) often indicates that the editor has filled in a lacunae with the most likely letters or words. Of course, not all scholars will agree on exactly how the lacunae should be filled in.— Philip Comfort.

Text-Type: a technical term in textual criticism referring to a unique combination of characteristics that a specific group of manuscripts is thought to have in common. These characteristics, such as longer variant readings and harmonizations, are determined by comparison of the variant readings found in different manuscript groups. Often the term “text type” is used not only of the characteristics but of the variant readings themselves. In modern textual criticism, the term is generally considered no longer viable, due mainly to textual contamination (q.v.). The term “text” by itself (see above) is, however, sometimes used to refer to much the same thing, taking into account contamination and other issues.

Textual Family: a group of manuscripts that are observed to share common traits. The groups have been distinguished by geography, but textual contamination has cast major doubt on the relevance of that factor (see “Cluster” above). The concept of a family (or sub-family) of manuscripts is certainly relevant, however, and it appears that the old geographic identifiers continue to be used for convenience at least.

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The Alexandrian text, which Westcott and Hort called the Neutral text (a question-begging title), is usually considered to be the best text and the most faithful in preserving the original. Characteristics of the Alexandrian text are brevity and austerity. That is, it is generally shorter than the text of other forms, and it does not exhibit the degree of grammatical and stylistic polishing that is characteristic of the Byzantine type of text. Until recently the two chief witnesses to the Alexandrian text were codex Vaticanus (B) and codex Sinaiticus (א), parchment manuscripts dating from about the middle of the fourth century. With the acquisition, however, of the Bodmer Papyri, particularly 𝔓66 and 𝔓75, both copied about the end of the second or the beginning of the third century, evidence is now available that the Alexandrian type of text goes back to an archetype that must be dated early in the second century. The Sahidic and Bohairic versions frequently contain typically Alexandrian readings.—Bruce M. Metzger.

The so-called Western text, which was widely current in Italy and Gaul as well as in North Africa and elsewhere (including Egypt), can also be traced back to the second century. It was used by Marcion, Tatian, Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Cyprian. Its presence in Egypt is shown by the testimony of 𝔓38 (about A.D. 300) and 𝔓48 (about the end of the third century). The most important Greek manuscripts that present a Western type of text are codex Bezae (D) of the fifth century (containing the Gospels and Acts), codex Claromontanus (D) of the sixth century (containing the Pauline epistles), and, for Mark 1:1 to 5:30, codex Washingtonianus (W) of the fifth century. Likewise the Old Latin versions are noteworthy witnesses to a Western type of text; these fall into three main groups, the African, Italian, and Hispanic forms of Old Latin texts. The chief characteristic of Western readings is fondness for paraphrase. Words, clauses, and even whole sentences are freely changed, omitted, or inserted. Sometimes the motive appears to have been harmonization, while at other times it was the enrichment of the narrative by the inclusion of traditional or apocryphal material. Some readings involve quite trivial alterations for which no special reason can be assigned. One of the puzzling features of the Western text (which generally is longer than the other forms of text) is that at the end of Luke and in a few other places in the New Testament certain Western witnesses omit words and passages that are present in other forms of text, including the Alexandrian. Although at the close of the last century certain scholars were disposed to regard these shorter readings as original (Westcott and Hort called them “Western non-interpolations”), since the acquisition of the Bodmer Papyri many scholars today are inclined to regard them as aberrant readings (see the Note on Western Non-Interpolations, pp. 164–166). In the book of Acts the problems raised by the Western text become most acute, for the Western text of Acts is nearly ten percent longer than the form that is commonly regarded to be the original text of that book. For this reason the present volume devotes proportionately more space to variant readings in Acts than to those in any other New Testament book, and a special Introduction to the textual phenomena in Acts is provided (see pp. 222–236).—Bruce M. Metzger.

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An Eastern form of text, which was formerly called the Caesarean text, is preserved, to a greater or lesser extent, in several Greek manuscripts (including Θ, 565, 700) and in the Armenian and Georgian versions. The text of these witnesses is characterized by a mixture of Western and Alexandrian readings. Although recent research has tended to question the existence of a specifically Caesarean text-type, the individual manuscripts formerly considered to be members of the group remain important witnesses in their own right. Another Eastern type of text, current in and near Antioch, is preserved today chiefly in Old Syriac witnesses, namely the Sinaitic and the Curetonian manuscripts of the Gospels and in the quotations of Scripture contained in the works of Aphraates and Ephraem.—Bruce M. Metzger.

The Byzantine text, otherwise called the Syrian text (so Westcott and Hort), the Koine text (so von Soden), the Ecclesiastical text (so Lake), and the Antiochian text (so Ropes), is, on the whole, the latest of the several distinctive types of text of the New Testament. It is characterized chiefly by lucidity and completeness. The framers of this text sought to smooth away any harshness of language, to combine two or more divergent readings into one expanded reading (called conflation), and to harmonize divergent parallel passages. This conflated text, produced perhaps at Antioch in Syria, was taken to Constantinople, whence it was distributed widely throughout the Byzantine Empire. It is best represented today by codex Alexandrinus (in the Gospels; not in Acts, the Epistles, or Revelation), the later uncial manuscripts, and the great mass of minuscule manuscripts. Thus, except for an occasional manuscript that happened to preserve an earlier form of text, during the period from about the sixth or seventh century down to the invention of printing with moveable type (A.D. 1450–56), the Byzantine form of text was generally regarded as the authoritative form of text and was the one most widely circulated and accepted.—Bruce M. Metzger.

It was the corrupt Byzantine form of text that provided the basis for almost all translations of the New Testament into modern languages down to the nineteenth century. During the eighteenth century scholars assembled a great amount of information from many Greek manuscripts, as well as from versional and patristic witnesses. But, except for three or four editors who timidly corrected some of the more blatant errors of the Textus Receptus, this debased form of the New Testament text was reprinted in edition after edition. It was only in the first part of the nineteenth century (1831) that a German classical scholar, Karl Lachmann, ventured to apply to the New Testament the criteria that he had used in editing texts of the classics. Subsequently other critical editions appeared, including those prepared by Constantin von Tischendorf, whose eighth edition (1869–72) remains a monumental thesaurus of variant readings, and the influential edition prepared by two Cambridge scholars, B. F. Westcott and F. J. A. Hort (1881). It is the latter edition that was taken as the basis for the present United Bible Societies’ edition. During the twentieth century, with the discovery of several New Testament manuscripts much older than any that had hitherto been available, it has become possible to produce editions of the New Testament that approximate ever more closely to what is regarded as the wording of the original documents.—Bruce M. Metzger.

Variant Reading(s): differing versions of a word or phrase found in two or more manuscripts within a variation unit (see below). Variant readings are also called alternate readings.

Variation Unit: any portion of text that exhibits variations in its reading between two or more different manuscripts. It is important to distinguish variation units from variant readings. Variation units are the places in the text where manuscripts disagree, and each variation unit has at least two variant readings. Setting the limits and range of a variation unit is sometimes difficult or even controversial because some variant readings affect others nearby. Such variations may be considered individually, or as elements of a single reading. One should also note that the terms “manuscript” and “witness” may appear to be used interchangeably in this context. Strictly speaking “witness” (see below) will only refer to the content of a given manuscript or fragment, which it predates to a greater or lesser extent. However, the only way to reference the “witness” is by referring to the manuscript or fragment that contains it. In this book, we have sometimes used the terminology “witness of x or y manuscript” to distinguish the content in this way.

Significant Reading: one can interpret “significant” in two ways: 1) readings with adequate textual support, and 2) readings that are significantly different, as opposed to having differences (like a movable Greek nu or final sigma) that do not distinguish them in meaning from another reading. Adequate textual support can be a matter of opinion, however (compare “Singular Reading” below). For example, a reading with only Byzantine Text support would be rejected by those who favor the position taken by Westcott and Hort. It would be chosen by those who prefer the Majority Text.

Singular Reading: technically, a variant reading that occurs in only one Greek manuscript and is therefore immediately suspect. There is some quibbling over this because critics who reject the Westcott and Hort position on the combination of 01 (sinaiticus) and 03 (Vaticanus) might call a reading “nearly singular” if it has only the support of these two manuscripts. Moreover, it is understood that not all manuscripts are comparable. Thus, for example, one would comfortably reject a reading found only in a single late manuscript, while many critics would not find it so easy to reject a reading supported uniquely by 03. Some also give more credit to singular readings that have additional support from versions.

Scriptorium. A place where scribes worked to produce copies of books.— Philip Comfort.

Corrector and corrections. One who made corrections to a manuscript. Corrections were made by the scribe himself, by an official corrector in a scriptorium (called a diothortes—see below), or by the purchaser of the newly made copy. Corrections were often made by comparing the newly made copy against a different exemplar than was used for making the copy.— Philip Comfort.

P1              175-225 A.D.   Matt. 1:1–9, 12, 14–20

Comfort: The copyist of P1 seems to have faithfully followed a very reliable exemplar. Where there are major variants, P1 agrees with the best Alexandrian witnesses, especially B, from which it rarely varies.

Papyrus 1 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering) designated by “𝔓1” is an early Greek copy of a papyrus manuscript of one chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, dating paleographically to 175-225 A.D.. It was discovered in Oxyrhynchus, Egypt. It is currently housed at the University of Pennsylvania Museum (E 2746). The manuscript is a fragment of one leaf, one column per page, 27-29 lines per page, roughly 14.7 cm (6 in) by 15 cm (6 in). The original codex was arranged in two leaves in quire. The surviving text of Matthew is verses 1:1-9,12 and 13,14-20. The words are written continuously without separation. Accents and breathing marks are absent, except two breathing marks, which are a smooth breathing on fifth letter (ωβηδ ἐκ) in line 14 of the verso and a rough breathing on the fourth letter to last letter (ἡ συν) in line 14 of the recto. And the nomina sacra are written in abbreviated forms: “ΙϹ,” “XC,” “YC,” “ΠΝΑ,” “KΣ.”

P4/64/67    150-175 A.D.    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

Comfort: P4 is probably the work of a professional scribe or at least one trained in producing literary texts; displays a text very close to P75 and B. In fact, there is 93 percent agreement between P4 and P75 in Luke; the same percentage occurs for P4 and B, though not for all the same variants as P75. P4 and P75 are indentical in forty complete verses, with only five significant exceptions (Luke 3:22, 36; 5:39; 6:11, 14). P64 shows strong Alexandrian features, agreeing slightly more with א than with B. Our text follows Skeat’s (op. cit.). Roca-Puig demonstrated P67’s close affinity with א.

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.[8] Willker tentatively agrees stating ‘The [3rd century] dating given is that of NA. Some date it to 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.[9] 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, a new papyrologist who seems to want to mak a name for himself, 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. Nongbri desires to redate many of the early papyri to much later, a century to two centuries or more, for this assures him attention from the academic world. We will hear his name often as we complete this list.  Charlesworth has concluded ‘that 𝔓64+67 and 𝔓4, though written by the same scribe, are not from the same … codex.’

P20           150-200 A.D.      James 2:19–3:9

Papyrus 20 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering), designated by 𝔓20, is an early copy of the New Testament in Greek. It is a papyrus manuscript of the Epistle of James, but it only contains Chapter 2:19-3:9. The original size of the leaves was 17 by 12 cm. The text is neatly written in upright semi-cursive letters. The main Nomina Sacra are used, but πατηρ / pater / father and ανθρωπος / anthropos / man are written out in full. The Greek text of this codex is representative of the Alexandrian text-type (rather proto-Alexandrian). Aland placed it in Category I. This manuscript shows the greatest agreement with Codex Sinaiticus and Vaticanus but not with codices Ephraemi, Regius, and other late Alexandrian manuscripts. Philip Comfort has suspected that the scribe who wrote 𝔓20 was also the same scribe who wrote 𝔓27, where the Greek letters α, β, δ, ε, λ, ι, μ, ν, ο, π, ρ, σ, ψ, υ, φ, ω are formed identically in both manuscripts. (See below) It is currently housed at the Princeton University Library (AM 4117) in Princeton.

Comfort: P20 exhibits the greatest agreement with א and B against all other manuscripts. According to Schofield, P20 diverges from the B-group (i.e., א and B) only twice (in 2:23 and 3:7). The handwriting has many similarities with P. Egerton 4 (2 Chronicles) of the third century, and even more so with P27, which may be the work of the same scribe. The following letters are formed identically: α, β, δ, ε, κ, ι, μ, ν, ο, π, ρ, σ, ψ, υ, φ, ω. Both manuscripts display no punctuation other than the diaeresis (an apostrophe appears in P20 after a foreign name, but there was no occasion for it in P27).

P23          175-225 A.D.    James 1:10–12, 15–18

Papyrus 23 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering), designated by 𝔓23, is an early copy of the New Testament in Greek. It is a papyrus manuscript of the Epistle of James; it contains only James 1:10-12,15-18.

The Nomina sacra are written fully; abbreviations are used only at the end of lines. There has been noticed the occurrence of the ungrammatical αποσκιασματος also found in Codex Sinaiticus and Vaticanus in James 1:17. The Greek text of this codex is representative of the Alexandrian text type (or rather proto-Alexandrian). Aland placed it in Category I. This manuscript displays the greatest agreement with codices א A C, which represent the best text of the Catholic epistles, and then with Codex Vaticanus and Papyrus 74. It is currently housed in the Spurlock Museum at the University of Illinois (G. P. 1229) in Urbana, Illinois.

Comfort: P23 displays what the Alands call a “strict” text. In James 1:17, for example, P23 (together with א and B) contains the genitive αποσκιασματος where one would normally expect a nominative. This may show strict adherence to a common exemplar. P23 exhibits the greatest agreement with א, A, and C (which represent the best text of the General Epistles), and then with B and P74. This fragment was originally dated to the fourth century by Grenfell and Hunt. The Alands redate it to the third century. Neither authority gives evidence from other manuscripts. A similar style can be seen in the first hand of P. Chester Beatty IX (Ezekiel), which should be dated to the third century. The style of P23 is earlier in that it exhibits small serifs in many letters (alpha, iota, lambda, mu, nu) and no small omicrons—all characteristics of the second century. Wilcken confirms this second-century date.

P27          175-200 A.D.    Rom. 8:12–22, 24–27; 8:33–9:3, 5–9

Papyrus 27 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering), designated by 𝔓27, is an early copy of the New Testament in Greek. It is a papyrus manuscript of the Epistle to the Romans; it contains only Romans 8:12-22.24-27; 8:33-9:3.5-9. The manuscript paleographically has been assigned to 175-200 A.D. It is written in 43 lines per page. The scribe of this manuscript may have also written 𝔓20The Greek text of this codex is representative of the Alexandrian text type. Aland placed it in Category I. This manuscript shows agreement with Codex Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, and other witnesses of the Alexandrian text type. It is currently housed at the Cambridge University Library (Add. 7211) in Cambridge.

Comfort: The text of P27 is “strict,” according to the Alands. It shows agreement with א, B, and other Alexandrian witnesses. Grenfell and Hunt identified the handwriting as being similar to that of P20 (see comments on P20). Indeed, the manuscript appears to have been written by the same scribe who composed P20 and therefore must have the same date. Even if it was not done by the same scribe, it belongs to the same era. The following letters are formed identically: α, β, δ, ε, κ, ι, μ, ν, ο, π, ρ, σ, ψ, υ, φ, ω. Both manuscripts display no punctuation other than the diaeresis (an apostrophe appears in P20 after a foreign name, but there was no occasion for it in P27).

P29           175-225 A.D.      Acts 26:7–8, 20

Papyrus 29 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering), designated by 𝔓29, is an early copy of the New Testament in Greek. It is a papyrus manuscript of the Acts of the Apostles, which contains Acts 26:7-8 and 26:20. The manuscript paleographically has been assigned to 175-225 A.D. The Greek text of this codex is too short to put decisively in a family. Grenfell and Hunt noticed its agreement with Codex Bezae, 1597, and some Old-Latin manuscripts. According to Aland, it is a “free text,” and it was placed by him in Category I. According to Bruce M. Metzger and David Alan Black, the manuscript might be related to the Western text type, but Philip Comfort stated, “the fragment is too small to be certain of its textual character.” It is currently housed at the Bodleian Library, Gr. bibl. g. 4 (P) in Oxford.

Comfort: Metzger thinks P29 might be “Western,” and the Alands describe it as a “free” text, but the fragment is too small to be certain of its textual character. P29 belongs to the same era as P45, probably early third century. Both manuscripts manifest some unusual, nearly identically shaped letters: a triangular theta, a squarish pi, and squarish epsilon with lower inward hook. P29 also has several similarities to P. Oxy. 2949 (an apocryphal Gospel) dated to the late second or early third century, which has many similarities with Papyrus Marmarica—dated with great certainty to A.D. 200–225.

P32           100-150 A.D.    Titus 1:11-15; 2:3-8

Papyrus 32 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering), designated by 𝔓32, is an early copy of the New Testament in Greek. It is a papyrus manuscript of the Epistle to Titus; it contains only Titus 1:11-15; 2:3-8. Based on paleography, the manuscript has been assigned a date around A.D. 100-125. Written in round and rather large letters. A slight tendency towards division of words can be observed. The nomina sacra are abbreviated. The Greek text of this codex is representative of the Alexandrian text-type. Aland described it as “at least normal text,” and he placed it in Category I. This manuscript shows agreement with Codex Sinaiticus and with F G. The papyrus is written on both sides. The characters that are in bold style are the ones that can be seen in 𝔓32. It shows agreement with Codex Sinaiticus, Codex Augiensis, and Codex Boernerianus. It is currently housed with the Rylands Papyri at the John Rylands University Library (Gr. P. 5) in Manchester.

Comfort: Metzger says P32 shows agreement with א and with F and G. Since F and G (nearly identical manuscripts) go back to the same archetype, it is quite possible that P32 could be linked to the same source.

This manuscript was originally dated to the third century because it was regarded as comparable to the handwriting of P. Oxy. 656 (Genesis), also dated early third century. But the editor of P. Oxy. 656 (Hunt) said it had more affinities with second-century manuscripts than with third-century manuscripts. So why not date P. Oxy. 656 to the second century? In fact, scholars such as H. I. Bell, T. C. Skeat, and F. G. Kenyon have since redated P. Oxy. 656 to the second century and, in suit, dated P32 to the second century (probably the second half). P32 belongs to the early third century (A.D. 100-150) because of its remarkable likeness to P. London 130 (dated with certainty to c. 100 or earlier), P Oxy. 2367 (dated “late first/early second century”) P. Oxy 4443 (dated “late first/early second century”), and P. Bodleian G. bib. g. 5 (dated “the end of the first century to the end of the second century”) See extensive discussion Vol. 2 Sec. 2.

P39          175-225 A.D.    John 8:14-22

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.

P45          175-225 A.D.    Contains Verses in fragmentary form from the texts of Matthew chapters 20-21 and 25-26; Mark chapters 4-9 and 11-12; Luke chapters 6-7 and 9-14; John chapters 4-5 and 10-11; and Acts chapters 4-17

Papyrus 45 (P. Chester Beatty I), designated by siglum 𝔓45 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering of New Testament manuscripts), is an early Greek New Testament manuscript written on papyrus and is one of the manuscripts comprising the Chester Beatty Papyri, a group of early Christian manuscripts discovered in the 1930s, and purchased by businessman and philanthropist, Alfred Chester Beatty. Beatty purchased the manuscript in the 1930s from an Egyptian book dealer. It was subsequently published in The Chester Beatty Biblical Papyri, Descriptions and Texts of Twelve Manuscripts on Papyrus of the Greek Bible by palaeographer, biblical and classical scholar Frederic G. Kenyon in 1933. Manuscripts among the Chester Beatty Papyri have had several places of discovery associated with them, the most likely being the Faiyum in Egypt (the dry sands of Egypt have been a haven for finding very early manuscripts since the late 1800s). Using the study of comparative writing styles (palaeography), it has been dated to 175-225 A.D. This, therefore, makes it the earliest example of not only the four Gospels contained in one volume but also the Acts of the Apostles. It contains verses in fragmentary form from the texts of Matthew chapters 20-21 and 25-26; Mark chapters 4-9 and 11-12; Luke chapters 6-7 and 9-14; John chapters 4-5 and 10-11; and Acts chapters 4-17. The manuscript is currently housed at the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, Ireland, except for one leaf containing Matt. 25:41-26:39 which is at the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna (Pap. Vindob. G. 31974). In November 2020, the CSNTM in conjunction with Hendrickson Publishers released a new 1:1 high-resolution imaged facsimile edition of 𝔓45 on black and white backgrounds, along with 𝔓46 and 𝔓47.

Comfort: P45 should be dated to the late second or early third century. It varies with each biblical book (see discussion below). P45 was dated by Kenyon to the first half of the third century, a date which was confirmed by the papyrologists W. Schubart and H. I. Bell. This continues to be the date assigned to this manuscript in modern handbooks on textual criticism and critical editions of the Greek New Testament. According to Kenyon, the manuscript displays individual forms that are early, in that they show the simplicity characteristic of the Roman period. The curves of the epsilon and sigma and the lack of exaggeration in the upsilon and phi are also signs of an early date. But the general appearance, especially its sloping appearance and small omicron, places it in the third century. Hunt, Schubart, and Bell also date P45 to the third century. Two noteworthy, comparable manuscripts are P. Egerton 3 and P. Oxy. 1012, both dated to the early third century. All things considered, the manuscript can be dated to the early third century.

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P46          125-150 A.D. It contains verses from the Pauline Epistles of Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, and Hebrews

Papyrus 46 (P. Chester Beatty II), designated by siglum 𝔓46 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering), is an early Greek New Testament manuscript written on papyrus, and is one of the manuscripts comprising the Chester Beatty Papyri. Manuscripts among the Chester Beatty Papyri have had several provenances associated with them, the most likely being the Faiyum. It has been paleographically dated between 125 and 150, others say 175-225 C.E., and some say early 3rd century C.E. It contains verses from the Pauline Epistles of Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, and Hebrews. Some leaves are part of the Chester Beatty Biblical Papyri, and others are in the University of Michigan Papyrus Collection. In November 2020, the CSNTM in conjunction with Hendrickson Publishers released a new 1:1 high-resolution imaged facsimile edition of 𝔓46 on black and white backgrounds, along with 𝔓45 and 𝔓47.

The codex is made from papyrus in single quire, with the folio size approximately 28 by 16 centimeters (11.0 in × 6.3 in). The text is written in single column, with the text-block averaging 11.5 centimeters (4.5 in), between 26 and 32 lines of text per page, although both the width of the rows and the number of rows per page increase progressively. Lines containing text at the bottom of each page are damaged (lacunose), with between 1–2 lines non-extant in the first quarter of the codex, 2–3 lines non-extant in the central half, and up to seven lines non-extant in the final quarter. Though unusual for ancient manuscripts, 𝔓46 has each page numbered. Throughout Romans, Hebrews, and the latter chapters of 1 Corinthians, small and thick strokes or dots are found, usually agreed to be from the hand of a reader rather than the initial copyist, since the ink is always much paler than that of the text itself. They appear to mark sense divisions (similar to verse numbering found in Bibles), and are also found in portions of 𝔓45, possibly evidence of reading in the community which held both codices. Edgar Ebojo made a case that these “reading marks” with or without space-intervals were an aid to readers, most likely in a liturgical context.

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Nomina Sacra

𝔓46 uses an extensive and well-developed system of nomina sacra. It contains the following nomina sacra in abbreviated form (nominative case): ΚΣ (κυριος / Lord) ΧΣ or ΧΡΣ (χριστος / anointed) ΙΗΣ (Ιησους / Jesus) ΘΣ (θεος / God) ΠΝΑ (πνευμα / Spirit) ΥΙΣ (υιος / Son) ΣΤΡΟΣ (σταυρος / cross).[9]: 208–334 

The use of nomina sacra has featured in discussions on the dating for 𝔓46, with Bruce Griffin arguing against Young Kyu Kim, in part, that such an extensive usage of the nomina sacra system nearly eliminates any possibility of the manuscript dating to the 1st century. He admitted, however, that Kim’s dating cannot be ruled out on this basis alone, since the exact provenance of the nomina sacra system itself is not well-established.

On the other hand, Philip Comfort (preferring a date c. 100-150) notes indications the scribe’s exemplar made limited use of nomina sacra or none at all. In several instances, the word for Spirit is written out in full where the context should require a nomen sacrum, suggesting the scribe was rendering nomina sacra where appropriate for the meaning but struggling with Spirit versus spirit, without guidance from the exemplar. The text also inconsistently uses either the short or the long contracted forms of Chris

Comfort: Specifically

Most of Paul’s epistles, excluding the Pastorals. The order is as follows: Rom. 5:17–6:3, 5–14; 8:15–25, 27–35; 8:37–9:32; 10:1–11:22, 24–33; 11:35–15:10; 15:11–16:27; Heb. 1:1–9:16; 9:18–10:20, 22–30; 10:32–13:25; 1 Cor. 1:1–9:2; 9:4–14:14; 14:16–15:15; 15:17–16:22; 2 Cor. 1:1–11:10, 12–21; 11:23–13:13; Eph. 1:1–2:7; 2:10–5:6; 5:8–6:6, 8–18, 20–24; Gal. 1:1–8; 1:10–2:9, 12–21; 3:2–29; 4:2–18; 4:20–5:17; 5:20–6:8, 10–18; Phil. 1:1, 5–15, 17–28; 1:30–2:12, 14–27; 2:29–3:8, 10–21; 4:2–12, 14–23; Col. 1:1–2, 5–13, 16–24; 1:27–2:19; 2:23–3:11, 13–24; 4:3–12, 16–18; 1 Thess. 1:1; 1:9–2:3; 5:5–9, 23–28. New reconstructions appear in Rom. 11:2; 15:10; Heb. 7:28; 1 Cor. 1:13–14; 4:10; 5:7–8; 14:15; 15:50; 16:23; 2 Cor. 4:12; 6:2; 11:21–22; Eph. 5:6; 6:18; Phil. 1:1; 3:8. (Each is noted in the text.)

P52  + ++  +++    100-150 A.D.      John 18:31–33, 37–38

The Rylands Library Papyrus P52, also known as the St John’s fragment and with an accession reference of Papyrus Rylands Greek 457, is a fragment from a papyrus codex, measuring only 3.5 by 2.5 inches (8.9 cm × 6.4 cm) at its widest (about the size of a credit card), and conserved with the Rylands Papyri at the John Rylands University Library Manchester, UK. The front (recto) contains parts of seven lines from the Gospel of John 18:31–33, in Greek, and the back (verso) contains parts of seven lines from verses 37–38. Since 2007, the papyrus has been on permanent display in the library’s Deansgate building.

Although Rylands 𝔓52 is generally accepted as the earliest extant record of a canonical New Testament text, the dating of the papyrus is by no means the subject of consensus among scholars. The original editor, C. H. Roberts, in the 1930s proposed a date range of 100–150 CE, which was/is supported by 12 of the world’s leading paleographers, papyrologists and textual scholars for the past 90+ years. A recent exercise by Pasquale Orsini and Willy Clarysse, aiming to generate consistent revised date estimates for all New Testament papyri written before the mid-4th century, has proposed a date for 𝔓52 of 125–175 CE. A few scholars say that considering the difficulty of fixing the date of a fragment based solely on paleographic evidence allows the possibility of dates outside these range estimates, such that “any serious consideration of the window of possible dates for P52 must include dates in the later second and early third centuries.” Of course, this is Nongbri, p. 46.—Brent Nongbri (2020) “Palaeography, Precision and Publicity: Further Thoughts on P.Ryl. III.457 (P52). Andrews’ book the P52 Project debunks these notions of a later date.

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The fragment of papyrus was among a group acquired on the Egyptian market in 1920 by Bernard Grenfell, who chose several fragments for the Rylands Library and began work on preparing them for publication before becoming too ill to complete the task. Colin H. Roberts later continued this work and published the first transcription and translation of the fragment in 1935. Roberts found comparator hands in dated papyrus documents between the late 1st and mid 2nd centuries, with the largest concentration of Hadrianic date (117 CE to 138 CE). Since this gospel text would be unlikely to have reached Egypt before c. 100 CE, he proposed a date in the first half of the 2nd century. Roberts proposed the closest match to 𝔓52 as being an undated papyrus of the Iliad conserved in Berlin; and in the 70 years since Roberts’s essay the estimated date of this primary comparator hand has been confirmed as being around 100 CE, but other dated comparator hands have also since been suggested, with dates ranging into the second half of the 2nd century, and even into the 3rd century. 

Comfort: Should be dated to early second century (ca. 100–125). Though the amount of text in P52 is hardly enough to make a positive judgment about its textual character, the text seems to be “Alexandrian” (Metzger), or what the Alands call “normal.” Its greatest value is its early date, for it testifies to the fact that the autograph of John’s Gospel must have been written before the close of the first century. Many scholars (Frederic G. Kenyon, H. I. Bell, Adolf Deissmann, and W. H. P. Hatch) have confirmed the dating of P52. Deissmann was convinced that it was written at least during the reign of Hadrian (A.D. 117–138) and perhaps even during the reign of Trajan (A.D. 98–117). Deissmann wrote an article on this, “Ein Evangelienblatt aus den Tagen Hadrians,” which was translated in the British Weekly. This dating is derived from comparing P52 to manuscripts such as P. Fayum 110 (A.D. 94), the Egerton Gospel (A.D. 130–150), P. Oslo 22 (A.D. 127), P. London 2078 (reign of Domitian, A.D. 81–96), and P. Berolinenses 6845 (ca. A.D. 100). Though each of these manuscripts bears significant resemblance to P52, P. Berolinenses 6845 is the closest parallel, in Roberts’s opinion. Another manuscript shares many similarities with P52, P. Oxy. 2533. The editors of P. Oxy. 2533 said that its handwriting could be paralleled with first-century documents, but since it had the appearance of being second century, they assigned it a second-century date. Thus, both P. Oxy. 2533 and P52 can safely be dated to A.D. 100–125. However, its comparability to manuscripts of an even earlier period (especially P. Berol. 6845), pushes the date closer to A.D. 100, plus or minus a few years. This is extremely remarkable, especially if we accept the consensus dating for the composition of the Fourth Gospel: A.D. 80–85. This would mean that P52 may be only twenty years removed from the original.

P66 +         100-150 A.D.   John 1:1–6:11; 6:35–14:26, 29–30; 15:2–26; 16:2–4, 6–7; 16:10–20:20, 22–23; 20:25–21:9, 12, 17.

Papyrus 66 (also referred to as 𝔓66) is a near complete codex of the Gospel of John, and part of the collection known as the Bodmer Papyri.

The manuscript contains John 1:1–6:11, 6:35b–14:26, 29–30; 15:2–26; 16:2–4, 6–7; 16:10–20:20, 22–23; 20:25–21:9, 12, 17. It is one of the oldest well-preserved New Testament manuscripts known to exist. Its original editor assigned the codex to the early third century, or around AD 200, on the basis of its style of handwriting. Herbert Hunger later claimed that the handwriting should be dated to an earlier period in the middle or early part of the second century. More recently, Brent Nongbri has produced a broader study of the codex and argued that when one takes into consideration the format, construction techniques, and provenance of the codex along with the handwriting, it is more reasonable to conclude that the codex was produced “in the early or middle part of the fourth century.” In common with both the other surviving early papyri of John’s Gospel – P45 (apparently), P75, and most New Testament uncials – Papyrus 66 does not include the pericope of the adulteress (7:53-8:11), demonstrating the absence of this passage in all the surviving early witnesses of the Gospel of John. The manuscript also contains, consistently, the use of Nomina Sacra.

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Studies done by Karyn Berner and Philip Comfort contended that 𝔓66 had the work of three individuals on it: the original, professional scribe; a thoroughgoing corrector; and a minor corrector. But more recently James Royse argues that, with the possible exception of John 13:19, the corrections are all by the hand of the original copyist. However, even more recently in 2019, Philip Comfort holds to his position that P66 has preserved the work of three individuals: the original scribe, a thoroughgoing corrector (diorthōtēs), and a minor corrector. The staurogram appears in at least ten places in the papyrus (corresponding to chapter 19 of the Gospel). The Greek text of this codex is a representative of the Alexandrian text-type. Aland ascribed it as “Free text” and placed it in I Category. A transcription of every single page of 𝔓66 is contained in Text of the Earliest New Testament Greek manuscripts.

In John 1:15 ο οπισω ] ο πισω, the reading is supported by Sangallensis and 1646;

In John 13:5 it has unique textual variant ποδονιπτηρα instead of νιπτηρα.

In John 13:7 it has αρ (error) instead of αρτι (now).

The manuscript was found in 1952 at Jabal Abu Mana near Dishna (Egypt). The preservation level of 𝔓66 surprised scholars because the first 26 leaves were basically fully intact, and even the stitching of the binding remained. It was published in 1956 and it was the most important New Testament manuscript publication since the Chester Beatty Papyri in 1933–1934. It is currently housed at the Cologny-Geneva, Switzerland: Bibliotheca Bodmeriana. The Papyrus contains 39 folios – that is 78 leaves, 156 pages – at a size of 14.2 cm x 16.2 cm for each leaf with roughly 15-25 lines per page.

Comfort: The manuscript does not include the pericope of the adulteress (7:53–8:11), making it the earliest witness not to include this spurious passage. According to recent studies done by Berner and Comfort,2 it seems evident that P66 has preserved the work of three individuals: the original scribe, a thoroughgoing corrector (diorthōtēs), and a minor corrector.

P75   +      175-225 A.D. Luke 3:18–22; 3:33–4:2; 4:34–5:10; 5:37–6:4; 6:10–7:32, 35–39, 41–43; 7:46–9:2; 9:4–17:15; 17:19–18:18; 22:4–24:53; John 1:1–11:45, 48–57; 12:3–13:1, 8–10; 14:8–29; 15:7–8. The manuscript does not include 7:53–8:11, making it the second earliest witness (next to P66) not to include this spurious passage.

Papyrus 75 (formerly Papyrus Bodmer XIV–XV, now Hanna Papyrus 1), designated by the siglum 𝔓75 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering of New Testament manuscripts), is an early Greek New Testament manuscript written on papyrus. It contains text from the Gospel of Luke 3:18-24:53, and John 1:1-15:8. It is generally described as “the most significant” papyrus of the New Testament to be discovered so far. Using the study of comparative writing styles (paleography), it has been traditionally dated to 175-225 A.D. It is due to this early dating that the manuscript has a high evaluation, and the fact its text so closely resembles that of the fourth-century Codex Vaticanus. It is currently housed in the Vatican Library (Hanna Papyrus 1) in Rome.

The manuscript is a codex (precursor to the modern book), made of papyrus, in single quire format (a single quire being a collection of pages placed on top of each other, then folded in half to create a book), measuring 27 x 13 cm. It has between 38-45 lines per page, containing most of the text of the Gospel of Luke and the Gospel of John. It originally contained about 144 pages, 102 of which have survived, of which 20 are fragmentary. The papyrus is of a smooth and fine quality, with the verso (vertical striped side) nearly as smooth as the recto (horizontal striped side), and feels like hand-woven linen. The writing is a clear and careful majuscule. 𝔓75 is one of the earliest manuscripts (along with 𝔓4) of the Gospel of Luke, containing most of Luke 3:18–24:53. An unusual feature of this codex is that when the Gospel of Luke ends, the Gospel of John begins on the same page. It uses a staurogram (⳨) in Luke 9:23, 14:27, and 24:7.

The Greek text of this codex is considered a representative of the Alexandrian text-type. The text-types are groups of different manuscripts which share specific or generally related readings, which then differ from each other group, and thus the conflicting readings can separate out the groups, which are then used to determine the original text as published; there are three main groups with names: Alexandrian, Western, and Byzantine). Textual critic and biblical scholar Kurt Aland placed it in Category I of his New Testament manuscript text classification system. Category I manuscripts are described as being manuscripts “of a very special quality, i.e., manuscripts with a very high proportion of the early text, presumably the original text, which has not been preserved in its purity in any one manuscript.” The text is closer to Codex Vaticanus than to Codex Sinaiticus. Agreement between 𝔓75 and codex B is 92% in John, and 94% in Luke. It concurs with 𝔓111.

According to Aland, 𝔓75 is the key for understanding the primitive textual history of New Testament, but, again, recently paleographer and religious history scholar Brent Nongbri has argued that restricting the date of 𝔓75 to the late second or early third century is not realistic, and that the similarity of the text of 𝔓75 to that of Codex Vaticanus might be better explained by considering both books as products of the fourth century.

Comfort: Textual scholars have a high regard for P75’s textual reliability. Metzger calls it “proto-Alexandrian”; the Alands say it has a “strict text.” Victor Martin originally dated P75 to the early third century on the basis of its comparability with manuscripts such as P. Oxy. 2293, 2322, 2362, 2363, and 2370. Martin said these manuscripts, as with P75, all display the defined angular hand of the early third century. It should be noted, however, that the Oxyrhynchus editors said the date should be late second or possibly early third century for three of these manuscripts: P. Oxy. 2293, 2363, and 2370. Of these three, P. Oxy. 2293 and P. Oxy. 2452 are also very similar to P75. Furthermore, Martin indicates that the handwriting of P75 is comparable to P. Fuad XIX, a documentary text dated A.D. 145–46. I also note P75’s affinities with P. Michigan 3, dated firmly to the second half of the second century. Seider dates P75 “2nd/3rd century.” I would date it late second century, possibly early third. [175-225 A.D.]

P77/103   125-150 A.D.   Matt. 23:30–39 (P. Oxy. 2683 + 4405); Matt. 13:55–57; 14:3–5 (P. Oxy. 4403)

Papyrus 77 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering), designated by 𝔓77, is a papyrus manuscript of the Gospel of Matthew verses 23:30-39. It is written in Greek and has paleographically been assigned a date of 125-150 A.D. According to Comfort, Papyrus 77 together with Papyrus 103 probably belong to the same codex. The Greek text of this codex is a representative of the Alexandrian text-type. Aland ascribed it as a “at least normal text”, and placed it in Category I. 𝔓77 has the closest affinity with Codex Sinaiticus. It is currently housed at the Sackler Library (P. Oxy. 2683) in Oxford.

Comfort: It is proto-Alexandrian. P. Oxy. 2683 and 4405, fragments of one leaf (one fragment published in 1968 and the other in 1997), fit side by side. The two fragments unquestionably belong to the same codex. In both fragments, the formation of letters is the same, and the number of letters per line (25–27) matches. Other identical features are punctuation (a midpoint between phrases and verses), breathing marks (rough and diaeresis), and spacing. Originally the writing would have occupied 7 cm x 11 cm (on a 11 cm x 16 cm codex page), with twenty lines per page. It is quite likely that P103 also belonged to the same codex or at least was produced by the same scribe. The formation of the letters is remarkably similar (see especially the kappa, phi, and upsilon, the latter of which takes several shapes—one a long shaft with a shallow bowl on top, just as in P77). The only noticeable difference is in the formation of ξ. The average number of letters per line (25–27) is identical, as is the calculation that originally there would have been 20 lines per page. Other identical features are punctuation (a midpoint between phrases and verses) and breathing marks (diaeresis). The only difference in physical appearance is that P103 is not as bilinear as P77, but this difference is very slight. The editor of P103 (J. D. Thomas), noting all these similarities, suggests that P103 belongs to the same codex as P77 but cannot be certain. My opinion is that it is far more likely than not that P103 belongs to the same codex. The original editor of P77 (Parsons) dated it to the late second century on the basis of its strong similarities to manuscripts like P. Oxy. 1082 and P. Oxy. 2663. The handwriting shows some similarities with P. Oxy. 1082 and P. Oxy. 2663 (both of the second century), but it has far more similarities with P. Oxy. 1622, a manuscript that must be dated pre-A.D. 148 (per the documentary text on the other side of Thucydides). Thus, P77/P103 could be dated to around the middle second century. According to Parsons, the text of P77 has the closest affinity with א. The Alands describe the manuscript as having an “at least normal text, by a careless scribe.” However, the manuscript is clearly a literary production. According to Roberts, P77 was written “in an elegant hand [and] has what was or became a standard system of chapter division, as well as punctuation and breathing marks.” The additional fragments affirm the proto-Alexandrian character of the manuscript, showing more agreement with א than with B. Both these fragments also confirm that the manuscript was produced by a trained scribe.

P87          125-150 A.D.    Philemon 13–15, 24–25

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.

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.

P90          125-150 A.D.    John 18:36–19:7

Papyrus 90 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering), designated by 𝔓90, is a small fragment from the Gospel of John 18:36-19:7 dating paleographically to 125-150 A.D. The Greek text of this codex is a representative of the Alexandrian text-type. Aland placed it in Category I (because of its date). Philip W. Comfort says, “𝔓90 has [close] textual affinity with 𝔓66 … [and] some affinity with א (Aleph).” It is currently housed at the Sackler Library (Papyrology Rooms, P. Oxy. 3523) in Oxford. The papyrus is written on both sides. The characters that are in bold style are the ones that can be seen in 𝔓90.

Comfort: P90 has more affinity with P66 than with any other single manuscript, though it does not concur with P66 in its entirety. T. C. Skeat, the editor of P90, notes its general similarities with the Egerton Gospel of the second century and even closer similarities with P. Oxy. 656 (Genesis), also of the second century. My own personal observation of the two manuscripts confirms the same. The hand is a decorated rounded (discussed in the introduction) dated anywhere from the middle to the late second century.

P98          150-175 A.D.    Rev. 1:13–2:1  

Papyrus 98 (in the Gregory–Aland numbering), designated by 𝔓98, is an early copy of the New Testament in Greek. It is a papyrus manuscript of the Book of Revelation. The manuscript paleographically had been assigned to years 150–175. The surviving text of Revelation includes verses 1:13–2:1 in a fragmentary condition. The script is well-formed and large. It was formed in a scroll. The biblical text is on the side verso. On the recto is another documentary text dated to the end of the 1st century or the beginning of the 2nd century. The verso side of the scroll was used for the biblical text at the end of the 2nd century. It has an error of dittography in the first line – περι̣εζωσμμ̣εν̣ον instead of περιεζωσμενον. It is still not placed in any of Aland’s Categories of New Testament manuscripts. “The text shows several differences from that printed in Nestle-Aland 27th.” In Rev 1:18 it lacks the phrase και ο ζων “as the (one) living” as in Latin Codex Gigas and some manuscripts of the Vulgate. It is the only Greek manuscript not containing this phrase. The manuscript was probably written in Egypt. The first publisher was Wagner in 1971, who did not know that it was a biblical text. Hagedorn discovered that it was the text of Rev. 1:13–2:1. The manuscript is currently housed at the Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale (P. IFAO inv. 237b [+a]) at Cairo.

Comfort: The text shows several differences from that in NA27. In the first publication of this manuscript, the editor (Wagner) dated the manuscript (thought to be a letter with a list of objects) to the second century, not knowing that it was a biblical text. He chose this date because the document on the recto side of the roll was dated to the late first or early second century. Later, Hagedorn discovered that what was thought to be a list of objects was actually a part of the text of Rev. 1:13–2:1. Hagedorn re-edited the text, accepting the date of second century as plausible, though not excluding the beginning of the third century. Wagner’s second-century date, assigned without knowing that the text was biblical, is both fairer and more likely, especially since the documentary text on the recto side was dated to the late first or early second century.

REASONING WITH OTHER RELIGIONS

P104        100-150 A.D.      Matt. 21:34–37, 43, 45(?)

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. 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 from early to late 2nd century. 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 Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, Ephraemi, Regius, 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. 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.

Comfort: 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. 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 1213.5 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.

PAUL AND LUKE ON TRIAL

P108        175-225 A.D.

Papyrus 108 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering), designated by P108, is a copy of the New Testament in Greek. It is a papyrus manuscript of the Gospel of John, containing verses 17:23-24 & 18:1-5 in a fragmentary condition. The manuscript has been paleographically assigned to “late second/early third century (ca. 200).”[1] Comfort says, “the handwriting bears remarkable resemblance to P. Chester Beatty IX–X (Ezekiel), which was dated by Kenyon to the first half of the third century. However, other paleolographers, such as Wilcken (U. Wilcken, Archiv für Papyrusforschung 11 (1935): 113) and C. H. Roberts, see it as belonging to the second century. P108 is probably slightly later because it was written with metalic ink.?” The manuscript is currently housed in the Papyrology Rooms (P. Oxy. 4447) of the Sackler Library at Oxford University.

Physical Features

The original manuscript would’ve been around 14.5 cm x 18.5 cm, with 23 lines per page. The handwriting script is representative of the reformed Documentary style. The text is a representative of the Alexandrian text-type. Although small, the manuscript concurs with Codex Sinaiticus. It has an itacistic error in John 17:23 (γεινωσκη instead of γινωσκη).

Itacism: scribal errors based on confusion of certain vowel sounds in Greek. The term is based on the letter iota, which tended to be the sound (a long “ee” in English) of three vowels and additional two-vowel combinations. Long and short “o” sounds were also confused, however. The substitution of mistaken vowels when copying was done at dictation could result in a confusion of Greek pronouns and verb constructions among other things. Doubtless the same mistakes might also be made as a result of homophony (q.v.) even when copying was done without dictation. The textual critic must be alert to the possibility, which can provide a simple explanation to variant readings whose vowels could be confused.

P109        150-200 A.D.    John 21:18–20, 23–25

Papyrus 109 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering), designated by siglum 𝔓109, is a copy of the New Testament in Greek. It is a papyrus manuscript of the Gospel of John, containing verses 21:18-20 & 21:23-25 in a fragmentary condition. The INTF has paleographically assigned the manuscript to the early 3rd century CE. [200-225 A.D.] Papyrologist Philip Comfort dates the manuscript to the middle-late 2nd century C.E. 150-200 A.D.]. The manuscript is currently housed in the Papyrology Rooms (P. Oxy. 4448) of the Sackler Library at Oxford. The original manuscript probably measured 12 cm x 24 cm, with 26 lines per page. The handwriting script is representative of the Reformed Documentary style. The text is too small to determine its textual character.

Comfort: P109 dates middle to late second century; the manuscript, though small, resembles P66, dated to the middle of the second century (see comments in our introduction to P66). However, the limited number of extant letters in P109 prohibits a full-scale comparison with P66.

P118        175-200 A.D.     Romans 15:26-27, 32-33; 16:1, 4-7, 11-12

Papyrus 118, designated by 𝔓118 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering of New Testament manuscripts), is a copy of a small part of the New Testament in Greek. It is a papyrus manuscript of the Epistle to the Romans. The surviving text of Romans is verses 15:26-27, 32-33; 16:1, 4-7, 11-12. The manuscript is in a fragmentary condition. Using the study of comparative writing styles (paleography), the manuscript has been dated by the INTF to 175-200 A.D. The Greek text of this codex is too small to determine its textual character. The codex is currently housed at the Institut für Altertumskunde of the University of Cologne at Cologne, with the shelf number (Inv. No. 10311).

Comfort: Interesting;y, the text of  𝔓118 runs straight through Romans 15:33 to 16:1, so it differs from 𝔓46, which has the doxology (usually printed at 16:25-27) immediately following 15:33.

P137        100-150 A.D.

Papyrus 137 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering), designated by 𝔓137, is an early fragment of the New Testament in Greek. The fragment is from a codex, written on both sides with text from the first chapter of the Gospel of Mark; verses 7–9 on the recto side and 16–18 on the verso side. The manuscript has been dated paleographically to 125-150 A.D., and has been published in the Oxyrhynchus papyrus series as P.Oxy. LXXXIII 5345.

The fragment preserves parts of the bottom five lines (recto and verso) of a leaf; which could represent the first page of a single quire codex; and which may be reconstructed as having 25 lines per page with a written area of 9.4cm * 12 cm. On the recto side, the papyrus strips are laid vertically, while on the verso side they are laid horizontally. It is the earliest surviving witness to the text that it covers; otherwise the only early papyrus witness to Mark is in six surviving leaves of Papyrus 45, dated to the 3rd Century, which nowhere overlaps with the text in 𝔓137. Letters on the verso survive clearly, but those on the recto are seriously abraded. The handwriting is in a formal bookhand which the editors propose as having the characteristics of the “‘Formal Mixed” hand (juxtaposing narrower and wider letter forms) elsewhere found in dateable documents of the later second and third centuries. The editors propose the fragments Papyrus 103 and Papyrus 77 of the Gospel of Matthew, also from Oxyrhynchus and conserved at the Sackler Library, as being the closest New Testament papyri to 𝔓137 in handwriting and date.

The term ‘Holy Spirit’ at verse 8 on the recto is shortened from πνευματι to π̣̅ν̣̅ι as a nomen sacrum. Also in verse 8 on the recto, the dative preposition εν(‘in’) is not found in 𝔓137 either before ‘water’ or before ‘Holy Spirit’; whereas the standard text of Mark in Novum Testamentum Graece (NA28) has the dative preposition in the second instance only; “..he will baptize you in the Holy Spirit”, following in this the Codex Sinaiticus. In omitting a dative preposition in both instances at verse 8, 𝔓137 supports the alternative reading of this verse in Mark of the Codex Vaticanus and all editions of the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece up to NA25. All four canonical Gospels introduce their accounts of the ministry of Jesus with these words from John the Baptist. In the Gospel of Luke (3:16) the dative preposition is found before ‘Holy Spirit’ but not before ‘water’; whereas in the Gospel of Matthew (3:11) and the Gospel of John (1:33) both ‘water’ and ‘Holy Spirit’ are preceded by the dative preposition. The fragment otherwise supports no established variant readings from the standard texts for Mark; although the name of ‘Jesus’ is omitted from verse 17 at the third line of the verso, possibly through parablepsis as a scribal error.  The editors note that the space presumed on the recto above the preserved lines of the fragment would imply an opening text of Mark of very similar length to that witnessed in the Codex Sinaiticus; contrary to the proposals of Karl Lachmann and others that some of these verses (especially 2 and 3) might be later intrusions. It is currently housed at the Sackler Library (P. Oxy. LXXXIII 5345) in Oxford.

Uncial 0189        125-175 A.D.     Acts 5:3–21

Uncial 0189 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering), is the oldest parchment manuscript of the New Testament. It consists of a single vellum leaf of a late second or early third century Greek codex, containing only a small part of the Acts of the Apostles. The history of Uncial 0189 is unknown prior to its current possession by the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. Uncial 0189 measures 11.5 cm by 18 cm from a page of 32 lines. The scribe wrote in a reformed documentary hand. Uncial 0189 has evidence of the following nomina sacra: ΑΝΟΣ ΠΝΑ ΚΥ ΚΩ ΙΛΗΜ ΘΩ ΙΣΗΛ.

The Alands describe the text-type as “at least normal”. Uncial 0189 is an important early witness to the Alexandrian text-type, nearly always agreeing with the other witnesses to this type of text. Aland placed it in Category I (because of its date). Aarne H. Salonius originally dated Uncial 0189 to the 4th Century CE. However this was later redated by C. H. Roberts to the 2nd or 3rd Century CE, which the Alands accepted. The INTF currently dates Uncial 0189 to the 2nd or 3rd century CE. Philip W. Comfort dates it to the middle of the second century A.D.

Kurt Aland included Uncial 0189 in the Critical Apparatus of the 25th edition of Novum Testamentum Graece (1963). Uncial 0189 is classed as a “consistently cited witness of the first order” in the Novum Testamentum Graece (NA27). NA27 considers it even more highly than other witnesses of this type. It provides an exclamation mark (!) for “papyri and uncial manuscripts of particular significance because of their age.” A transcription of the text of Uncial 0189 was first published by Aarne H. Salonius in Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft in 1927.

Comfort: The Alands say it is an “at least normal text.” The text nearly always agrees with the Alexandrian witnesses. Salonius, the original editor of this manuscript, dated it to the fourth century. C. H. Roberts redated it to the second or third century. Aland accepted this date. Indeed, the handwriting is much earlier than the fourth century. The finely executed hand bears resemblance to second-century manuscripts such as P4/P64/P67, P. Oxy. 661, and P. Oxy. 2404, but 0189 is later in overall appearance—especially the small omicron.

Jesus Paul THE EVANGELISM HANDBOOK

7Q4/7Q5?          Pre-68-70 A.D. 7Q4 (1 Timothy 3:16-4:3)? and 7Q5 (Mark 6:52-53)?

7Q5 is a fragment of a papyrus scroll found in a cave in Qumran, in the West Bank (“7Q5” stands for “cave 7, Qumran, fragment 5″), and part of the collection of the so-called Dead Sea manuscripts, which contain works of the library of the religious community of the Essenes. The 7Q5 fragment measures approximately 39×27 mm and has on one side a text in Greek, of which a dozen letters are visible, not all clearly identifiable, arranged on four lines; based on paleographic analysis, this fragment was written between 50 BC and 50 AD.

Qumran was a locality on the western shore of the Dead Sea, in the current West Bank, near the ruins of Jericho and southeast of Jerusalem. The site built between 150 BC and 130 BC was inhabited by a community of Essenes dedicated to reading and writing the sacred texts. In 66 AD, when Tito Flavio Vespasianohe besieged Jerusalem, those Essenes sealed their sacred handwritten literature in terracotta pots and hid it in the various caves that surrounded the place where they lived, so that it would not fall into the hands of the Roman pagans. In 1947 an Arab shepherd chasing a sheep from his flock entered one of those manuscript storage caves and discovered one of the many vases. The expeditions that followed this discovery led to the discovery of eleven caves where vases filled with manuscripts were stored. In 1955, in cave n.7, archaeologists recovered 19 papyrus fragments written in Greek. Among the other finds was also found a fragment of the one recorded with the progressive number 5 which measured 3.9 by 2.7 centimeters for a total of only 20 letters arranged on 5 lines and named 7Q5.

P. Egerton 2 100-150 A.D.—The Unknown Gospel Paralleling John 5:36-47; Matthew 81-4

The Egerton Gospel (British Library Egerton Papyrus 2) refers to a collection of three papyrus fragments of a codex of a previously unknown gospel, found in Egypt and sold to the British Museum in 1934; the physical fragments are now dated to the very end of the 2nd century CE. However, as Philip W. Comfort points out, it should be dated between 100 and 150 A.D. See the linked article. Together they comprise one of the oldest surviving witnesses to any gospel, or any codex. The British Museum lost no time in publishing the text: acquired in the summer of 1934, it was in print in 1935. It is also called the Unknown Gospel, as no ancient source makes reference to it, in addition to being entirely unknown before its publication.

P. Egerton 3 150-200

Commentary with New Testament verses Matthew 4:5; 5:8; 27:52-53; John 1:14, 29; 6:35; Philippians 2:6; 2 Timothy 2:9. The manuscript is late second century because its handwriting is much like P45, P. Michigan 3, P. Rylands 57, and P Oxyrynchus 2082—all of the late second century.

Edward D. Andrews: 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&2 Grand Rapids, Michigan: Kregel Academics.
  2. Philip Comfort, Encountering the Manuscripts: An Introduction to New Testament Paleography & Textual Criticism (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 2005)
  3. Bruce Manning Metzger, United Bible Societies, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, Second Edition a Companion Volume to the United Bible Societies’ Greek New Testament (4th Rev. Ed.) (London; New York: United Bible Societies, 1994)
  4. B. P. Grenfell & A. S. Hunt, Oxyrhynchus Papyri XIII, (London 1919),
  5. 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.
  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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WHY DON'T YOU BELIEVE WAITING ON GOD WORKING FOR GOD
 
YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE Let God Use You to Solve Your PROBLEMS THE POWER OF GOD
HOW TO OVERCOME YOUR BAD HABITS-1 GOD WILL GET YOU THROUGH THIS A Dangerous Journey
ARTS, MEDIA, AND CULTURE Christians and Government Christians and Economics

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CHRISTIAN DEVOTIONALS

40 day devotional (1) Daily Devotional_NT_TM Daily_OT
DEVOTIONAL FOR CAREGIVERS DEVOTIONAL FOR YOUTHS DEVOTIONAL FOR TRAGEDY
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CHURCH HEALTH, GROWTH, AND HISTORY

LEARN TO DISCERN Deception In the Church FLEECING THE FLOCK_03
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FIRST TIMOTHY 2.12 EARLY CHRISTIANITY-1

Apocalyptic-Eschatology [End Times]

Explaining the Doctrine of the Last Things Identifying the AntiChrist second coming Cover
AMERICA IN BIBLE PROPHECY_ ezekiel, daniel, & revelation

CHRISTIAN FICTION

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