Notes on the Bodmer Manuscript of Luke -- By: Marchant A. King

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 122:487 (Jul 1965)
Article: Notes on the Bodmer Manuscript of Luke
Author: Marchant A. King

Notes on the Bodmer Manuscript of Luke

Marchant A. King

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

The contribution to Biblical scholarship made by M. Bodmer of Switzerland in the field of ancient manuscripts has come to be outstanding. Though the discoveries from the Qumran caves still hold the spotlight of general interest and the Dag Hammadi writings claim prime attention from the historian, the publication of the New Testament papyri P74 and P75 brings the Bodmer collection to the front rank of Biblical manuscripts and adds some very valuable evidence in the confirmation of the New Testament text. P74, covering Acts and parts of the Catholic epistles, is not of so early date, but P75, covering most of Luke and John, gives every evidence of being as early as any New Testament manuscript now known except the Rylands fragment. We are concerned in this study with the text of Luke which runs from 3:18 to the end with one major break, 18:1822:24, and numerous instances of minor fragmentation.

We may say first of all that this is an excellent manuscript; the scribe exercised very real care both in penmanship and content. Except where the papyrus is now broken there is no question as to the identity of any letter and, more important, exceptional diligence was shown in regard to the text. As M. Martin, the scholar selected to publish this manuscript as well as P66, has said, the scribe’s work is “remarkably correct.”1 There are very few corrections for the simple reason that there are few mistakes and most of these corrections seem to have

been made by the original hand. (Martin thinks that even the insertion of an ε as a “correction” forming an itacism was the work of the first hand!) There are in Luke only two corrections showing clearly the work of a later hand. These notations being in a different and possibly somewhat later style of writing suggest that the manuscript may have continued in use for a number of years, while the presence of several rather obvious slips that remain uncorrected would point to its not being extensively used by those of more critical turn of mind. Certainly the manuscript was not remote from the common life of the people since one of the three bits of extraneous writing on the margins is in the hand, seemingly, of a child. It is the large, irregular, and inaccurate copying of the first line of that page. Thus, for all its beautifully careful p...

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