Periodical Reviews -- By: Anonymous
BSac 146:584 (Oct 89) p. 451
“Palaeographical Dating of P46 to the Later First Century,” Young Kyu Kim, Biblica 69 (1988): 248-57.
Chester Beatty Papyrus II—University of Michigan Papyrus Inv. 6238—better known as P46, has been assigned a date of around A.D. 200 by most paleographers and New Testament textual critics. As such, it is the earliest manuscript of the Pauline corpus, originally containing 10 of Paul’s letters (all but the Pastorals) and the Epistle to the Hebrews. Its text is an excellent representative of the Alexandrian type.
Kim argues, however, that a date of around 200 is about 120 years too late. His evidence “strongly suggests that P46 was written some time before the reign of the emperor Domitian”—that is, before A.D. 81. Kim gives several strands of evidence for his hypothesis, all of a paleographical nature: (1) the ligature forms of P46 do not occur later than the first century; (2) “all literary papyri similar to P46 in its exact style…have been assigned to an early date [i.e., no later than ca. A.D. 150]”; (3) P46 belongs to the earlier type of such styles (various reasons are given). Kim then gives three counterarguments to a later date: though the manuscript omits iota adscripts, has nomina sacra, and transliterates the Latin name Σιλβανός, other first-century papyri have been found to do the same.
It remains to be seen what the scholarly community will think of Kim’s redating of this important papyrus. Certainly this article will generate as much discussion as Jose O’Callaghan’s identification of 7Q5 with Mark 6:52–53 (dated ca. A.D. 50; see J. O’Callaghan, “Papiros neotestamentarios en la cueva 7 de Qumran?” Biblica 53 : 91-100). Though most have rejected O’Callaghan’s thesis, Kim’s argument will not be as easy to dismiss.
There are several implications of such an early date for P46. (1) This papyrus would become the earliest New Testament manuscript, antedating P52 by as much as 50-75 years. (2) Dated within two decades of Paul’s death, P46 would tend to argue for the authenticity of the 10 Pauline letters contained in it, explain more easily why the Pastorals are missing, and confirm
BSac 146:584 (Oct 89) p. 452
that very early on Hebrews...
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