Jude and 1 and 2 Peter: Notes on the Bodmer Manuscript -- By: Marchant A. King

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 121:481 (Jan 1964)
Article: Jude and 1 and 2 Peter: Notes on the Bodmer Manuscript
Author: Marchant A. King


Jude and 1 and 2 Peter:
Notes on the Bodmer Manuscript

Marchant A. King

[Marchant A. King, Professor of New Testament, Los Angeles Seminary, Los Angeles, California.]

Once again the Christian world is indebted to the Swiss banker, M. Bodmer, for the discovery and publication of a valuable papyrus containing a portion of the New Testament Scriptures. While not equal in size, age, or scribal care to the Bodmer manuscript of John (P66), it is early and complete and certainly has real value to Christian scholarship. Its very existence is perhaps its greatest significance. Up to its discovery, we had no copy of any of these epistles earlier than Vaticanus (c. A.D. 340) and no papyrus containing any part of them. Furthermore, there were the well-known questions about the acceptance of Jude and 2 Peter by the church generally. Now we have a copy of all three from at least the late third century and one of the most interesting things about the manuscript is that 2 Peter is here accorded care and respect equal to, if not greater than, that given 1 Peter. The respect is nicely shown in 2 Peter being given the same appended blessing upon writer and reader as is given to 1 Peter, and around the appended title of 2 Peter is found a special decorative border not found around the others. Here, then, is some specific evidence on the history of the canon. It shows that in the third century Jude and 2 Peter were fully recognized along with 1 Peter in at least the area from which this manuscript comes, i.e., Egypt.

The date which has been given to the manuscript by M. Testuz of the University of Geneva, who did the primary

study of the document and directed its publication, is the later third century, and this seems borne out by the facts of the text. There is no punctuation as such. The apostrophe is used occasionally to separate double consonants and at least once between vowels where the same vowel ends one word and begins the next. The diaresis is frequently found over initial ι and υ and occasionally over both together as in ῢῒος , just as in P66.

Three things seem to point to a date well on in the third century. The writing, while still fully uncial, shows a tendency to connect the letters in marked contrast to P66 (dated c. A.D. 200). We also find a breathing mark, usually for rough breathing, but a few times where we think of it as smooth and once in the middle of the compound word εισὄδος. The third indication of later date is the occurrence of marginal section titles. These are regularly introduced by

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