Losing a Curious Christian Scroll but Gaining a Curious Christian Codex

An Oxyrhynchus Papyrus of Exodus and Revelation

in Novum Testamentum
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Abstract

British Library Pap. 2053 is a Greek papyrus fragment from Oxyrhynchus. Its two sides, written in distinctly different hands, were published separately in 1911 as P.Oxy. 8.1075 (Rahlfs 909, the last verses of Exodus) and P.Oxy. 8.1079 (P18, early verses of Revelation). The original editor of the piece, Arthur S. Hunt, described Pap. 2053 as part of a roll rather than a codex. He speculated that at some point after Exodus was copied along the fibers, the reverse was then reused for a copy of Revelation written against the fibers. I argue that, for at least three reasons, it is worth entertaining the possibility that Pap. 2053 is not part of a roll but rather a leaf from a codex. First, the amount of text and the format of the text on the papyrus are appropriate for a codex leaf. Second, we now have good evidence (unavailable to Hunt) for the existence of Christian codices with an eclectic mix of contents copied by different scribes. Third, when the back sides of rolls were reused, they were often rotated 180° such that the texts on the two sides of the papyrus were upside down relative to one another, rather than same-side-up, as the columns of Pap. 2053 are.

Novum Testamentum

An International Quarterly for New Testament and Related Studies

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References

10)

Turner, The Typology of the Early Codex, 25.

14)

Turner, The Typology of the Early Codex, 81-82.

22)

Guy Wagner, Papyrus grecs de l’Institut fran çais d’archeologie orientale (Cairo: Institut français d’archéologie orientale du Caire, 1971) 47.

23)

See Dieter Hagedorn, “P.IFAO II 31: Johannesapokalypse 1,13-20,” ZPE 92 (1992) 243-247.

27)

Personal correspondence of 7 September 2011.

31)

See Eldon J. Epp, “The Oxyrhynchus New Testament Papyri: ‘Not without honor except in their hometown’?” JBL 123 (2004) 5-55, esp. 18-19; reprinted in Epp, Perspectives on New Testament Textual Criticism: Collected Essays, 1962-2004 (NovTSup 116; Leiden: Brill, 2005) 743-801, esp. 758-759.

32)

Turner, The Typology of the Early Codex, 81.

Figures

  • P.Oxy. 8.1075 Exodus; “recto” (→) of Pap. 2053 By permission of The British Library © British Library Board
    View in gallery
  • P.Oxy. 8.1079 Revelation; “verso” (↓) of Pap. 2053 By permission of The British Library © British Library Board
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  • P.Bodmer XX Apology of Phileas “recto” By permission of the Fondation Martin Bodmer, Cologny (Geneva)
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  • P.Bodmer IX Psalms 33 and 34 “verso” By permission of the Fondation Martin Bodmer, Cologny (Geneva)
    View in gallery

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