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Video resources for P46’s houses in the US and Ireland

After a period of necessary hibernation, I’m back!

In this re-activated first post, I listed some links to relevant video materials about institutions where P46 leaves are kept, the Chester Beatty Library (DBL) and the Papyrology Collection, University of Michigan (PC-UoM), respectively, as well as other videos related to these two institutions. Hopefully, it will give a human face to this important document from antiquities, and how committed institutions take care of ancient artefacts for our benefits.


The Chester Beatty Library official video:


CSNTM imaging the papyri of CBL

PC-UM promo video:


Others to follow





This thesis is an investigation into the scribal habits of 𝔓46, attempting to enrich further the information database about the sociology of ancient book production and to explore how these habits might have affected the transmission of the texts of the New Testament in general and the corpus Paulinum in particular.  Given this end, this thesis challenges the traditional methods of locating the “scribal habits” of a particular manuscript, specifically methods that are text-focused.  Crucial to developing a viable methodology is articulating how the conceptual category of “scribal habits” is to be understood before we can sufficiently isolate them.  Using an integrative approach (i.e., the composite employment of papyrology, codicology, palaeography, and textual criticism), this thesis proposes that “scribal habits” are to be found in everything that a particular scribe recurrently did and did not do in the manuscript, encompassing all the stages of its production and its eventual use.  In regard to 𝔓46, this thesis finds the scribe in the same league with other ancient scribes as well as idiosyncratic in the ways he used his codex, copied the text of his exemplar, and employed existing systems and devices practised within the scribal profession.  These scribal characteristics emphasise the “human” face of textual transmission of a “divine” book.

January 2014

University of Birmingham




Where it all started: up-close and personal with P46-Dublin leaves!

Book Review: Early Text of the New Testament

Read my review of the Dr Hill and Dr Kruger’s Early Text of the New Testament here.



“First time proof…”

“The second Chester Beatty papyrus contains the Pauline Epistles, and again gives us for the first time proof that these writings were known as early as the third century in a collected form which was impossible so long as the papyrus roll was the only vehicle of publications.”

Sir Frederic G. KenyonRecent Developments in the Textual Criticism of the Greek Bible, p.60.


CALL FOR PAPERS for the 3rd University of Birmingham Biblical Studies PostGraduate Day Conference

The Dating/s of P46: A Select Bibliography

Discussion on the viability/problems of manuscript dating methodology/ies will continue to stir interest (see Prof Larry Hurtado’s recent blog-ticle here), not only because new discoveries keep coming up (although not as bountiful as in the 19th and 20th centuries), but more so because to a certain [large?] extent valuation of the inscribed text on a particular manuscript is influenced by the date assigned to it by its editor/s, i.e., the older the manuscript, the more privileges it apparently enjoys.  At any rate, it would be good to review how P46 has been dated… and continues to be dated since its discovery in 1931.  Hence, I have attached below a list of select works–historically arranged–dealing with the date of P46.

Kenyon, Frederick. The Chester Beatty Biblical Papyri: Descriptions and Texts of the Twelve Manuscripts on Papyrus of the Greek Bible, Fasciculus I: General Introduction, with plates. London: Emery Walker, 1933.

__________. Recent Developments in the Textual Criticism of the Greek Bible, The Schweich Lectures of the British Academy, 1932. London: British Academy, 1933, esp. p. 51-61.

__________. The Chester Beatty Biblical Papyri: Descriptions and Texts of the Twelve Manuscripts on Papyrus of the Greek Bible, Fasciculus 3, Pauline Epistles and Revelation, Text. London: Emery Walker, 1934, esp. p. IX.

__________. The Chester Beatty Biblical Papyri: Descriptions and Texts of the Twelve Manuscripts on Papyrus of the Greek Bible, Fasciculus 3, Supplement, Pauline Epistles, Text. London: Emery Walker, 1936, esp. p. XIV.

__________. Our Bible and the Ancient Manuscripts. Revised by A. W. Adams. London: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1958. In this revised edition, the description of the date of P46 is slightly nuanced.

Sanders, Henry A.  A Third-Century Papyrus Codex of the Epistles of Paul. University of Michigan Studies, Humanistic Series 38. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1935, esp. p. 15; but cf. E.C. Colwell, Review of Henry Sanders, A Third Century Papyrus Codex of the Epistles of Paul, Classical Philology 32/4 (Oct 1937): 385-87, p. 386.

Gerstinger, Hans. “Ein Fragment des Chester Beatty-Evangelienkodex in der Papyrussammlung der Nationalbibliothek in Wien (Pap. Graec. Vindob. 31974)”. Aegyptus, 13/1 (1933): 67-72.

Lietzmann, Hans. “Zur Würdigung des Chester-Beatty-Papyrus der Paulusbriefe”. Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften. Philosophisch-historische Klasse. Abhandlungen XXV (1934): 774-82, p. 774.

Wilcken, Ulrich. “The Chester Beatty Biblical Papyrus”. Archiv fur Papyrusforschung 11 (1935): 112-14, p. 113; (see related story in Goodspeed, Edgar. “The World’s Oldest Bible”. Journal of Biblical Literature 54/2 (Jun 1935): 126).

Hoskier, Herman. “A Study of the Chester Beatty Codex of the Pauline Epistles”. Journal of Theological Studies 38 (1937): 148-63, esp. 149.

McCown, Chester Charlton. “Codex and Roll in the New Testament”. Harvard Theological Review 34/4 (Oct 1941): 219-49, esp. p. 230.

Beare, Frank. “The Text of the Epistle to the Hebrews in P46.” Journal of Biblical Literature 63/4 (1944): 379-96, esp. 379.

Finegan, Jack. Encountering New Testament Manuscripts: A Working Introduction to Textual Criticism. London: SPCK, 1974, esp. pp. 72, 77, 181.

Cavallo, Guglielmo. “Γραμματα Αλεξανδρινα”. Jahrbuch der österreichischen byzantinistik 24 (1975): 23-54, esp. pp. 34-35.

Turner, Eric Gardner. The Typology of the Early Codex. Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1977, esp. pp. 20, 91, 148.

Metzger, Bruce M. Manuscripts of the Greek Bible: An Introduction to Greek Palaeography. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981, esp. p.64.

__________. The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration.  3rd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993, esp. pp. 265-66.

Kim, Young Kyu. “Paleographical Dating of P46 to the Later First Century”. Biblica 69 (1988): 248-57.

Junack, Klaus, E. Güting, U. Nimtz, and Klaus Witte, Das Neue Testament auf Papyrus, II Die Paulinischen Briefe, Teil I: Rom., I Kor., II Kor. Arbeiten zur Neutestamentlichen Textforschung 12; Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1989, esp. p. LXIV.

Wallace, Daniel. Review of Young Kyu Kim’s Paleographical Dating of P46 to the Later First Century. Bibliotheca Sacra 146 (1989): 451-52.

Vaganay, Léon and Christian-Bernard Amphoux. An Introduction to New Testament Textual Criticism. Second Revised and updated edition. Revised by Christian-Bernard Amphoux and Jenny Heimerdinger. Translated by Jenny Heimerdinger. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991, esp. p. 12.

Griffin, Bruce. “The Palaeographical Dating of P46.” Paper presented at the SBL Annual Meeting-New Testament Textual Criticism Section, 1997.

Pickering, Stuart. “The Dating of the Chester Beatty-Michigan Codex of the Pauline Epistles (P46).” Pages 216-27 in Ancient History in a Modern University, Volume 2: Early Christianity, Late Antiquity and Beyond. Edited by T. W. Hillard et al. New South Wales/Grand Rapids, Michigan: Macquarie University Press/Eerdmans, 1998.

Comfort, Philip W. and David P. Barrett, eds. The Text of the Earliest New Testament Greek Manuscripts: A Corrected, Enlarged Edition of The Complete Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts. Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2001, esp. pp. 204-05.

Comfort, Philip W. Encountering the Manuscripts: An Introduction to New Testament Palaeography and Textual Criticism. B & H Academic, 2005.; esp. pp. 134.

Nongbri, Brent. “The Use and Abuse of P52: Papyrological Pitfalls in the Dating of the Fourth Gospel”. Harvard Theological Review 98 (2005): 23-48.

Royse, James. Scribal Habits in Early Greek New Testament Papyri. New Testament Tools. Studies and Documents 36. Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2008, esp. 201.

Jang, Min Seok. “A Reconsideration of the Date of Papyrus 46.” PhD Dissertation, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, 2010.

Barker, Don.  “The Dating of New Testament Papyri.” New Testament Studies 57 (2011): 571-

Orsini, Pasquale and Willy Clarysse, “Early New Testament Manuscripts and their Dates”. ETL 88/4 (2012): 443-74, esp. p.462. (pdf here)

Next time I will try to explore the various date-ranges given to P46–the oldest surviving and most extensive manuscript of the Letters of Saint Paul… and perhaps even my take on its date 🙂


Michigan P46 leaves on Ipad/Ipod/Iphone!

The University of Michigan Papyrological Collection, spearheaded by Prof. Arthur Verhoogt and his team, has announced that high res interactive images of P46 leaves under its custody is now available for free download (promo video here), for gadgets using Apple platform (see earlier promo video released earlier). You may download from the App store for free: PictureIt: EP (that’s an Apple change).

Enjoy this pre-Christmas gift from the University of Michigan, and read the Letters of Saint Paul in the earliest surviving and most extensive manuscript witnessing to their texts!

CALL FOR PAPERS for The 2nd University of Birmingham Biblical Studies Postgraduate Day Conference


Call for Papers–2nd UoB Biblical Studies Postgraduate Day Conference


When Nonsense Makes Sense (Part II)

Attached below are three images (Sanders-1935, Kenyon-1936, and P46) showing the first ten lines of Hebrews. The differences in the placement of space-gaps (indicated by arrows) readily show how Kenyon and Sanders understood the “sense-structures” of P46.  But a closer look at the image of P46 reveals a whole lot more that is yet to be fully discussed by the students of this very important manuscript.

Sanders, in these ten lines, identified 6 instances of space-gaps, which described to have served “admirably for punctuation” and to “mark the end of paragraphs” (p.17).  It’s not clear to me though what “sense” is marked in the first line.  On the other hand, Kenyon identified 3 instances of space-gaps, but with only two agreeing with Sanders.  Kenyon explained “I have thought it best to indicate them (space-gaps) only when they are plainly intentional and denote a pause in the sense” (p.xiv).  That these space-gaps have something to do with sense is not objectionable, and I quickly concur with both of them in this regard.  However, one is dumb-struck once we take a closer look at the actual page–these space-intervals abound, coming in various lengths! Methodological problems immediately come to vogue–How are we going to account for those space-intervals that do not have anything to do with “pauses in sense”? Do they at all “make sense” when they have nothing to do with “sense”? Is a “length-based” method a sustainable in profiling “pauses in sense” in particular manuscripts, especially the earliest ones with scriptio continua format? Accordingly, how are we going to account for the absence of space-gaps at junctures where there are clearly “pauses in sense”? Is there anyway we can explain all this? My take is  an affirmative one–these are a viewing deck into the habits of the scribe who penned this manuscript!