Some Recently Published NT Papyri From Oxyrhynchus: An Overview And Preliminary Assessment -- By: Peter M. Head

Journal: Tyndale Bulletin
Volume: TYNBUL 51:1 (NA 2000)
Article: Some Recently Published NT Papyri From Oxyrhynchus: An Overview And Preliminary Assessment
Author: Peter M. Head


Some Recently Published NT Papyri From Oxyrhynchus:
An Overview And Preliminary Assessment

Peter M. Head

Summary

Seventeen newly published manuscripts of the Greek New Testament (comprising a new portion of P77 as well as P100-P115) are introduced and then discussed individually, with special attention to two groups of manuscripts: seven of Matthew and four of John. The material offers important new evidence on a range of text-critical issues and three passages are discussed (Mt. 23:38; Jn. 1:34; Rev. 13:18).

I. Introduction

Within the last three years seventeen previously unknown papyrus manuscripts of portions of the New Testament have been published in volumes 64, 65 and 66 of The Oxyrhynchus Papyri.1 The seventeen manuscripts, mostly fairly small fragments, comprise seven early manuscripts of Matthew, four of John’s Gospel, and one each of Luke, Acts, Romans, Hebrews, James and Revelation. Only the last two (James and Revelation) could be described as anything other than fragmentary. Nevertheless, as I hope we shall see, taken together they form an important new (although not revolutionary) resource for NT

textual criticism. The purpose of this article is to offer an overview of the content of this newly published material, to discuss three examples where this material impacts upon debated text-critical issues, and to offer some preliminary discussion concerning what light these fragments might shed on the early history of the New Testament text, and the texts of Matthew and John in particular.2

It is noteworthy that the supply of early New Testament papyrus manuscripts has been steadily but quietly increasing over recent decades. Although no substantial individual manuscript finds have been published since the sixties, the steady progress is apparent in developments between, for example, the twenty-sixth and twenty-seventh editions of the Nestle-Aland, Novum Testamentum Graece. When the twenty-sixth edition was published in 1979 it listed the papyri whose evidence was cited as extending to P88. The twenty-seventh edition, published in 1993, took the list up to P98.3 This increase of eleven manuscripts in something ov...

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