Mittwoch, Januar 07, 2015

Greek papyrus on ebay, Gospel of John

Brice Jones alerted us to a papyrus for sale on ebay.
It is said to be from the private collection of Harold R. Willoughby.
On one side it shows Greek text from John 1:50-51.
Of the other side only a blurred photo exists, but from what I can read it does not seem to be from the Gospel of John.

Here is an image of side A:
Brice Jones gives a correct reconstruction on his blog.
TC: The text does not read ἀπ᾽ ἄρτι in verse 51 together with P66, P75, 03, L etc., against the Byz text. 
Interesting is the shape of the Nu, but I am no expert in dating.
Brice thinks of the 3. - 4. CE.

Side B seems to be the more interesting because it appears to be not from the Gospel of John:
Clearly on the 2. line one can read:
τὸν θ(εό)ν (nomen sacrum)
On line 3 I read:
οἶκος ἡμῶν?
And on line 5 it seems to read:
τότε ἄρξεσθε
Very tentative only, since the image is quite bad.
EDIT: Brice suggests εὐαγγελίζεσθαι, with an apostrophe separating the two Gammas.
That is very probably right. 

These lines taken together do not fit in anything in the Gospels. This would explain why nothing about the text of the verso is noted on the accompanying list of items.
Not sure what to make of it. Perhaps a commentary, or a sermon or something?

Unfortunately the seller has ended the auction prematurely.

Peter Head notes (what I completely overlooked) that the verso is upside-down to the recto. 
What does this mean?


Timothy Mitchell hat gesagt…

If the verso is upside down, and in a different hand (which is difficult to tell because the picture is so bad), then it could be a re-used bookroll of John.

Wieland Willker hat gesagt…

Thanks, Timothy, yes that is a possibility. We have another NT text on a papyrus scroll: P13 (P. Oxy. 657, Hebrews).

Jeff Cate hat gesagt…

Great that you got a picture of the verso. Being inverted, it would seem to be a roll or a single sheet/leaf. Besides P13, we have other papyrus items that are possibly from a roll (P18, P22, P43, P98), but for all of those, the NT text is on verso. If this Willoughby fragment is from an opisthograph, it would be unusual to have a different document reusing the backside of a copy of a NT book (if Jn 1:50-2:1 was a copy of the whole gospel and not merely a quote or excerpt... but who knows). Thanks for posting this!