The Letters Of Claudius Terentianus And The New Testament Insights And Observations On Epistolary Themes -- By: Peter M. Head

Journal: Tyndale Bulletin
Volume: TYNBUL 65:2 (NA 2014)
Article: The Letters Of Claudius Terentianus And The New Testament Insights And Observations On Epistolary Themes
Author: Peter M. Head


The Letters Of Claudius Terentianus And The New Testament
Insights And Observations On Epistolary Themes1

Peter M. Head

([email protected])

Summary

Eleven papyrus letters from the early second century (P. Mich. 467-480 & inv. 5395) are studied in relation to parallel interests expressed within NT letters, on the topics of physical layout and formatting, discussions of health, the desire for news and the role of greetings, the role of the letter carrier and the use of letters of recommendation.

1. Introduction

This article compares eleven papyrus letters written early in the Second Century by Claudius Terentianus to his father Claudius Tiberianus with the letters of the New Testament. For more than a century, since the early publications of documentary papyri from Egypt, New Testament scholars have had access to thousands of real letters in koine Greek. Knowledge gained from the study of these letters has impacted New Testament studies in many and various ways.2 But it is difficult to

study thousands of texts, and if one does so, it will be at a significant level of generalisation and abstraction away from the particularity of the correspondence. So in this paper I will investigate one small slice of the thousands of papyrus letters, a collection of eleven letters found in a larger archive (including other letters to the same addressee), under the stairs in a particular house in Karanis.

This small collection was chosen primarily because the letters themselves, as we shall see, reflect a wide-ranging acquaintance with and interest in a variety of aspects of epistolary communication.3 In addition they are somewhat distinctive in relation to the bulk of documentary letters on papyrus in that: a) they have a specific provenance: this group of letters was found, as part of a larger archive of letters, in the archaeological context of a domestic building in Karanis; b) they are bilingual, at least in the sense that some of the letters were written in Latin and some in Greek;4 c) some at least of them, were written by Claudius Terentianus while he was in service in the Roman navy outside of Egypt. This article thus serves as a more wide-ranging supplement to my earlier discussion of letter carriers in the documentary papyri from Oxyrhynchus.5

In what follows I will attempt a series of ‘compare and ...

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