The Gospel of the Savior

An Analysis of P.Oxy 840 and its Place in the Gospel Traditions of Early Christianity


This volume is the first complete analysis of the apocryphal gospel fragment P.Oxy. 840 since its initial discovery nearly a century ago. The fragment recounts a dispute over ritual purity between Jesus and a Pharisaic chief priest in the temple. After an examination of prior research, this work explores the various palaeographical and historical questions raised by this apocryphal story and also offers a new Greek edition and English translation. In particular, P.Oxy. 840’s controversial descriptions of ritual purity practices in Herod’s temple are evaluated in light of what is known of first-century Judaism. After comparing the text with similar passages in the canonical gospels, the origins of this non-canonical story are traced to second-century Jewish-Christian groups that shared its theological and polemical thrust.


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Biographical Note

Michael J. Kruger, Ph.D. (2004) in New Testament, University of Edinburgh, is Assistant Professor of New Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina. He has published a number of articles in the area of Christian origins, and has research interest in textual criticism, apocryphal gospels, and the development of the New Testament canon.

Review Quotes

' In five chapters the author successively offers a most detailed codicological and papyrological analysis, presents a new edition with translation, discusses the historical problems raised by the text, and addresses the double question of its relation to the canonical Gospels and its place within early Christianity.' Joseph Verheyden, Review of Biblical Literature, 2006

Table of contents

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ABBREVIATIONS INTRODUCTION TO P.OXY. 840 I. History of Interpretation A. Initial Interest (1908-1914); B. Subsequent Neglect (1914-1986); C. Occasional Attention (1986-2003); D. Summary II. Purpose of this Study CHAPTER ONE: THE CODICOLOGY AND PALAEOGRAPHY OF P.OXY. 840 I. The Form of P.Oxy. 840: Codex II. The Material of P.Oxy. 840: Parchment III. The Size of P.Oxy. 840 A. Amulets; B. Miniature Codices; C. Blau and Preuschen; D. Summary IV. The Hand of P.Oxy. 840 V. The Punctuation of P.Oxy. 840 A. Enlarged First Letter; B. Spaces Between Sentences; C. Coloring; D. Points; E. Accents/Breathing Marks; F. Diplh; G. Diairesis; H. Summary VI. Scribal Habits of P.Oxy. 840 A. Corrections; B. Inconsistencies VII. Abbreviations in P.Oxy. 840 A. Nomina Sacra; B. Omitted VIII. Conclusions CHAPTER TWO: TEXT AND TRANSLATION OF P.OXY. 840 I. The Text A. Diplomatic Text; B. Reading Text; C. English Translation II. Commentary A. Line 1; B. Lines 2-3; C. Lines 3-7; D. Lines 7-12; E. Lines 12-16; F. Lines 16-21; G. Lines 21-24; H. Lines 24-30; I. Lines 30-34; J. Lines 34-41; K. Lines 41-45 CHAPTER THREE: THE HISTORICAL PROBLEMS OF P.OXY. 840 I. Pharisaic High Priest A. Definition of arciereuj; B. The Combination of Pharisee and Chief Priest II. Temple Layout and the "Holy Vessels" A. agia skeuh; B. agneuthrion III. Ceremonial Washing and the "Pool of David" A. The Pool of David as a Miqveh; B. Dogs and Pigs in the Pool of David IV. Restrictions on Entering the Temple A. Immersion Before Entering the Temple; B. Dressing in White Garments; C. The Essenes; D. Foot Washing V. Conclusion CHAPTER FOUR: THE RELATIONSHIP OF P.OXY. 840 TO THE CANONICAL GOSPELS I. Pericope 1 (l.1-7) A. Textual Relationships: Vocabulary, Phraseology, Grammar; B. Literary Form/Structure; C. Origins of the Tradition II. Pericope 2 (l.7-45) A. Textual Relationships: Vocabulary, Phraseology, Grammar; B. Five Canonical Passages (1. Luke 11:37-52;2. Matt 23:13-22; 3. John 7:1-52; 4. John 13:10; 5. Mark 7:1-23; 6. Summary)C. Literary Form/Structure; D. Origins of the Tradition III. Conclusion CHAPTER FIVE: TOWARDS PLACING P.OXY. 840 WITHIN EARLY CHRISTIANITY I. The Community of P.Oxy. 840 A. Early Heretical Groups; B. Jewish-Christian; C. Which Jewish-Christian Community?; D. Who Were the Opponents of P.Oxy. 840?; E. Summary and Conclusions II. Comparison of P.Oxy. 840 to Analogous Apocryphal Gospels A. Gospel of Peter; B. P. Egerton 2; C. Jewish-Christian Gospels; D. The Long Ending of Mark; E. The Pericope of the Adulterous Woman III. Summary and Conclusions APPENDIX FIGURE 1 FIGURE 2 IS P.OXY. 840 A REDACTION OF AN EARLIER APOCRYPHAL STORY? BIBLIOGRAPHY INDICES


All those interested in apocryphal gospels, the development of early Jesus tradition, ritual purity in first-century Judaism, textual criticism and palaeography, and early Jewish-Christian sects.