The Earliest Manuscript Title of Matthew’s Gospel (BnF Suppl. gr. 1120 ii 3 / 𝔓4)

In: Novum Testamentum

Abstract

A flyleaf bearing the title of Matthew’s gospel, found with the Luke fragments of 𝔓4 (henceforth P4), has been neglected in studies of P4 as well as in editions of the Greek New Testament. This article publishes for the first time a photograph of the flyleaf, and seeks to provide an accurate transcription of the often misspelled title. It also discusses the various factors impinging upon the date of the fragment, such as the Philo codex in which it was found and the apostrophe in the middle of Matthew’s name. A date in the late second or early third century makes best sense of the evidence, making this neglected flyfleaf the earliest manuscript title of Matthew’s gospel.

  • 4)

    V. Scheil“Fragments de l’Évangile selon saint Luc, recueillis en Égypte,” RB 1 (1892) 113-115 (114).

  • 5)

    V. Scheil“Deux traités de Philon,” Mémoires publiés par les membres de la Mission Archéologique Française au Caire 9.2 (1893) iii-viii (“Préface”) + 151-215 (Philo text) + 216 (“Fragment d’Évangile”) + Plates I-IV. The mention appears in “Préface” iii.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 6)

    M.-J. LagrangeCritique Textuelle II: La critique rationnelle (2nd ed.; Paris: Gabalda1935) 118-124 (118).

  • 7)

    Copying from Scheil“Deux traités de Philon,” iii, J. Merell, “Nouveaux fragments du Papyrus 4,” RB 47 (1938) 5-22 (6): “À la suite du quarante-quatrième feuillet en guise de bourre je pense et pour remplir la capacité de la couverture se trouvaient plusieurs fragments de feuillets collés ensemble [Scheil + et provenant d’un Évangéliaire] l’un d’eux portant κατα Μαθθαιον et les autres des fragments de saint Luc.” (See also the list of contents on the same page.) This is strange not only because of the mention of the pensée in the first person but also because Merell states that he spoke with Scheil about the matter in 1937.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 8)

    G. Maldfeld & B.M. Metzger“Detailed List of the Greek Papyri of the New Testament,” JBL 68 (1949) 359-370 (364).

  • 9 )

    C.H. Roberts“An Early Papyrus of the First Gospel,” HTR 46 (1953) 233-237with Plate.

  • 13)

    C.H. RobertsBuried Books in Antiquity: Habent Sua Fata Libelli (Arundell Esdaile memorial lecture, 1962; London: Library Association1963) 13.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 14)

    Aland“Neue neutestamentliche Papyri II” 193-194; idem Studien zur Überlieferung des Neuen Testaments und seines Textes (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter 1967) 108 under the heading “𝔓4(+𝔓64+ 𝔓67?)”: “Bei den Fragmenten noch 3 Teile eines fremden Textes und Rest eines Blattes ro mit der Überschrift Matthäusevangelium vo mit bisher unidentifiziereten Buchstabspuren in 2 Spalten wohl zur gleichen Handschrift gehörend.”

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 15)

    Aland“Neue neutestamentliche Papyri II” 193-194.

  • 19)

    Aland“Neue neutestamentliche Papyri II” 193-194.

  • 20)

    Scheil“Preface” iii followed by Merell “Nouveaux fragments du Papyrus 4” 6. Also reproduced in van Haelst’s catalogue entry for the Philo codex: J. van Haelst Catalogue des papyrus littéraires juifs et chrétiens (Paris: Sorbonne 1976) §695.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 21)

    C. Astruc & M.-L. Concasty eds.Catalogue des manuscrits grecs. Troisième partie: Le supplément grec. Tome III (Paris: Bibliothèque Nationale1960) 241 (§1120 by Concasty). This is the spelling in Codices Alexandrinus (subscriptio to Matthew) and Ephraemi rescriptus (inscriptio to Matthew) and in Codex Washingtoniensis (at Matt. 10.3).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 22)

    Aland“Neue neutestamentliche Papyri II” 194.

  • 24)

    Skeat“Oldest Manuscript of the Four Gospels” 18.

  • 25)

    P.W. Comfort“New Reconstructions and Identifications of New Testament Papyri,” NovT 41 (1999) 214-230 (217).

  • 26)

    Aune“Meaning of Εὐαγγέλιον” 875.

  • 28)

    See J.M. Robinson“Interim Collations in Codex II and the Gospel of Thomas,” in Mélanges d’histoire des religions offerts à Henri-Charles Puech (ed. A. Bareau; Paris: Presses Universitaires de France1974) 379-392 (387).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 29)

    Robinson“Interim Collations” 387.

  • 34)

    L.W. HurtadoThe Earliest Christian Artifacts: Manuscripts and Christian Origins (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans2006) 175 n. 67 rightly notes that such classifications are much less useful than real measurements.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 38)

    M. Waldstein and F. Wisse eds.The Apocryphon of John: Synopsis of the Nag Hammadi Codices II1; III1; and IV1 with BG 85022 (NHMS XXXII; Leiden/New York/Köln: Brill1995) 1 (title on the verso).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 39)

    J.D. Turner“Introduction to Codex XI,” in Nag Hammadi Codices XI XII XIII (ed. C.W. Hedrick; NHS 28; Leiden/New York/Köln: Brill1990) 3-20 (5 19) again with the title on the verso.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 41)

    Skeat“Oldest Manuscript of the Four Gospels” 19. His judgment is based on the supposed size of his P4 + P64 + P67 codex but the dimensions of the P4 fragments (which are rather larger than those of P64 and P67) have the most significant impact on his calculation of the dimensions.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 46)

    C.H. RobertsManuscript Society and Belief in Early Christian Egypt (Oxford: Oxford University Press/ The British Academy1979) 13 and 8 n. 1.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 47)

    Skeat“Oldest Manuscript of the Four Gospels” 24.

  • 48)

    Scheil“Deux traités de Philon” iii.

  • 51)

    Scheil“Fragments de l’Évangile selon saint Luc” 113; idem “Deux traités de Philon” iii. Merell’s reference to 1880 a misprint for 1889. The introductions to the Loeb Classical Library texts of Philo (LCL II p. 93 and IV p. 282) also have 1889. Skeat rightly warns that the story of discovery must be taken “like all dealers’ stories—in this case quite literally—cum grano salis” alluding to the fact that the codex was encrusted with a mass of small crystals of salt (“Oldest Manuscript of the Four Gospels” 25).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 53)

    Scheil“Fragments de l’Évangile selon saint Luc” 113; idem “Deux traités de Philon” iv.

  • 54)

    L. Cohn & P. Wendland eds.Philonis Alexandri Opera quae Supersunt (Berlin: Reimer1896) I xlii. (Cohn was the sole editor of the first volume.)

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 57)

    A.S. Hunt ed.The Oxyrhynchus Papyri: Part IX (London: Egypt Exploration Fund1912) 16.

  • 58)

    HuntOxyrhynchus Papyri IX16.

  • 59)

    W.G. Waddell“On the Oxyrhynchus Papyrus of Philo (P. Oxy. IX, 1173; XI, 1356),” Études de Papyrologie 1 (1932) 1-6 (5). He notes however that the Paris papyrus is in two columns whereas the Oxyrhynchus text is in a single column.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 60)

    RobertsBuried Books12; Turner Typology of the Early Codex 113; Skeat “Oldest Manuscript of the Four Gospels” 26; Roberts Manuscript SocietyBelief 8: “later third century.” The only exception which I have found to the third century date is that given by Harl (as advised by A. Bataille) namely the fourth century. M. Harl ed. Quis rerum divinarum heres sit (Philon d’Alexandrie 15; Paris: Cerf 1976) 155.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 63)

    J.R. Royse (with A. Kamesar)“The Works of Philo,” in The Cambridge Companion to Philo (ed. A. Kamesar; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press2009) 32-64 (63) dating both the Coptos papyrus and the Oxyrhynchus text to the third century.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 65)

    Skeat“Oldest Manuscript of the Four Gospels” 26.

  • 66)

    Scheil“Fragments de l’Évangile selon saint Luc” 113.

  • 67)

    LagrangeCritique Textuelle II118.

  • 68)

    Merell“Nouveaux fragments du Papyrus 4” 7.

  • 69)

    TurnerTypology of the Early Codex145.

  • 71)

    Skeat“Oldest Manuscript of the Four Gospels” 30.

  • 72)

    See e.g. Head “Is P4 P64 and P67 the Oldest Manuscript of the Four Gospels?” 451 who questions whether they were part of the same codex but suggests that the same scribe wrote the two (separate) texts.

  • 74)

    D. Barker“The Dating of New Testament Papyri,” NTS 57 (2011) 571-582 (578).

  • 75)

    Skeat“Oldest Manuscript of the Four Gospels” 3. Similarly G. Cavallo “Greek and Latin Writing in the Papyri” in The Oxford Handbook of Papyrology (ed. R. Bagnall; Oxford: Oxford University Press 2009) 101-148 (129) on the “biblical majuscule.”

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 77)

    G. CavalloRicerche sulla maiuscola biblica (Studi e testi di papirologia 2; Florence: Le Monnier1967) 20 and n. 3 for the date of P.Berol. 7499 with plate 19a; on PSI 1377 Ricerche 41 for the date with plate 20a.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 82)

    Turner/ParsonsGreek Manuscripts of the Ancient World108.

  • 84)

    F.G. Kenyon ed.The Chester Beatty Biblical Papyri Fascicle VI. Isaiah Jeremiah Ecclesiasticus: Text (London: Emery Walker1937) viii.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 86)

    P.M. Head“Some Recently Published New Testament Papyri from Oxyrhynchus: An Overview and Preliminary Assessment,” TynB 51 (2000) 1-16 (5).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 87)

    Head“Some Recently Published New Testament Papyri” 5.

  • 88)

    A. PietersmaThe Apocryphon of Jannes and Jambres the Magicians. P. Chester Beatty XVI (with new editions of Papyrus Vindobonensis Greek inv. 29456+29828 verso and British Library Cotton Tiberius B. v f. 87) (Leiden/New York: Brill1994) 89-90 on the fourth century date and 83 for examples of the apostrophe between gammas.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 89)

    B.P. Grenfell and A.S. HuntThe Amherst Papyri being an Account of the Greek Papyri in the Collection of the Right Hon. Lord Amherst of Hackney (London: Oxford University Press1900) 3.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 90)

    H.J.M. MilneCatalogue of the Literary Papyri in the British Museum (London: British Museum1927) 165-166: απαγ’ [γελω].

  • 94)

    Skeat“Oldest Manuscript of the Four Gospels” 18; L.W. Hurtado “The Origin of the Nomina Sacra: A. Proposal” JBL 117 (1998) 655–673 (657 n. 7) cites from personal correspondence with Skeat: the apostrophe as a division of double consonants “is common in the 3rd cent. but decidedly rare in the 2nd.” A.F. Gregory The Reception of Luke and Acts in the Period before Irenaeus: Looking for Luke in the Second Century (WUNT II/169; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck 2003) 30 follows Skeat’s NTS article in dating the flyleaf to the third century on the basis of the apostrophe.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 95 )

    W. CrönertMemoria Graeca Herculanensis (Leipzig: Teubner1903) 18; P.W. Comfort Encountering the Manuscripts: An Introduction to New Testament Paleography (Nashville: Broadman and Holman 2005) 109; Turner/Parsons Greek Manuscripts of the Ancient World 11 n. 50. Contra T. Nicklas “Papyrus Egerton 2” in Non-Canonical Gospels (ed. P. Foster; London: Continuum 2008) 139-149 (140 n. 6) on the later dating of the Egerton manuscript: “Concretely the newly found part of the manuscript has an apostrophe between two consonants at the new line 44 a scribal practice otherwise not attested during the second century CE.”

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 96 )

    The text is printed in K. WesselyPapyrorum Scripturae Graecae Specimina Isagogica (Leipzig: Avenarium1900) 4 and in Table 6 (text 7). Since the text has not to my knowledge yet been published in the official publications of the Rainer papyri (to which it belongs) I present the reference number above in the form given in the sceptical note of Wilcken where he remarks presumably (!) in reference to the first-century scribe rather than Wessely: “Das sieht eher wie ein lapsus calami aus” (“Ein Polybiustext auf Papyrus” 388 n. 4). Wessely is clear about the presence of the apostrophe however noting: “Hoc instrumentum scriptum esse a scriba haud imperito manifestum est etiam ex eo quod in vocabulo αλ’λωι quo facilius legatur uirgula addita est.”

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 104)

    See W. Crönert“Literarische Texte mit Ausschluss der christlichen,” APF 1 (1901) 502-539 (536-537) and idem Memoria Graeca Herculanensis 18 n. 3.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 105)

    Comfort & BarrettComplete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts44.

  • 106)

    Comfort“New Reconstructions and Identifications” 217.

  • 107)

    Cf. the brief remark in R. BagnallEarly Christian Books in Egypt (Princeton: Princeton University Press2009) 95.

  • 109)

    See H.I. Bell & T.C. SkeatFragments of an Unknown Gospel and other Early Christian Papyri (London: Oxford University Press1935) 2-7.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 110)

    M. Gronewald“Unbekanntes Evangelium oder Evangelien Harmonie (Fragment aus dem ‘Evangelium Egerton’),” in Kölner Papyri. Vol. VII Band 6 (ed. M. Gronewald, B. Kramer, K. Maresch, M. Parca and C. Römer; Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag1987) 136-145 (136-137): “Nachzutragen ist daß sich in dem Kölner Fragment nun auch Apostroph zwischen Konsonanten (ανενεγ’κον) wie in P.Bodmer II findet was nach E.G. Turner Greek Manuscripts 13 3 eher ins dritte Jahrhundert weist. Doch auch bei einer eventuellen Datie-rung um 200 würde P.Egerton 2 immer noch zu den frühesten christlichen Papyri zählen.”

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 112)

    A.S. HuntCatalogue of the Greek Papyri in the John Rylands Library (Manchester: Manchester University Press1911) 190.

  • 113)

    Wilcken“Ein Polybiustext auf Papyrus” 388.

  • 114)

    HuntCatalogue of the Greek Papyri190.

  • 115)

    M.W. Haslam ed.The Oxyrhynchus Papyri: Volume LIII (London: Egypt Exploration Society/The British Academy1986) 60. For images see the plates in the volume as well as: http://www.csad.ox.ac.uk/POxy/papyri/vol53/pages/3708.htm.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 117)

    P.J. Parsons ed.The Oxyrhynchus Papyri XLII (London: Egypt Exploration Society/The British Academy1974) 46.

  • 119)

    C.H. RobertsGreek Literary Hands 350 B.C.—A.D. 400 (Oxford: Clarendon1956) xiv; Turner/Parsons Greek Manuscripts of the Ancient World 20.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 119 115 4
Full Text Views 97 92 0
PDF Downloads 9 8 0