Evangelical Textual Criticism

Friday, September 05, 2008

Quiz Question

How many New Testament Papyri actually contain a complete book of the New Testament?

Think carefully before answering.

24 comments:

  1. I would guess zero depending on your definition of complete...

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  2. I agree that defining 'complete' is fairly crucial to the question. But I couldn't get zero on a sensible definition of 'complete'. Care to defend your answer?

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  3. OED: 'complete': "1. a. Having all its parts or members; comprising the full number or amount; embracing all the requisite items, details, topics, etc.; entire, full."

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  4. To define 'complete': if the copyist of P40 only wanted to copy Romans 1:24-27, 31-32, 2:1-3, 3:21-31, 4:1-8, 6:4-5,16, 9:16-17, 27 then it is complete. But if s/he included 1:22, then it is not complete, missing only one verse from the original.

    Mitch

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  5. But P40 does not contain a complete book of the NT.

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  6. Will any lacuna discount the use of "complete"?-)

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  7. Well, if it is missing the last six chapters then P40 doesn't count as a complete copy of Romans.

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  8. Sorry, in answer to Timo and with ref to the OED (thanks Anon), then yes 'complete' must mean 'having all its parts'.

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  9. hint: the number of generations/nations in Irenaeus.

    :-)

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  10. Yes, I agree that would be one. Any more?

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  11. I was only thinking of Greek. I think there are more to come.

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  12. Would it have to have been understood at the time it was copied to be the "complete New Testament"?

    (As if the question posed wasn't enough trouble on its own...)

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  13. OK Here is what I think I meant:
    How many of the "New Testament Papyri" (as identified in the standard Gregory-Aland list as in the Kurzgefasste Liste and on-line up-dates) actually contain (that is now in their extant form as it now exists) a complete (that is without gaps or holes or lacunae due to damage) book of the New Testament (that is one of the 27 books which we now identify as belonging to the New Testament, even if a) they aren't really 'books' but letters and other such genres; and b) we aren't completely sure whether either the authors or the scribes of such 'books' thought of them as in any coherent sense belonging to such a thing as 'the New Testament' which some scholars don't think actually exists in any concrete form anyway)?

    I trust that is clearer.

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  14. Before I answer, I'll just say I'm an undergraduate in Biblical Studies. I use the NET Translation Notes religiously and have only read half of Bruce Metzger's relevant book on NT Texts.

    So, I'm guessing it's fewer than 10. I'd say 3 or 4.

    But I'm completely guessing.

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  15. P46 is the only one I can think of off the top of my head that I'm pretty confident does. Part of what makes this hard is that in addition to the old and important papyri, there are plenty of later, less highly regarded ones, of which I assume several contain whole books.

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  16. P72 is correct (Wieland already got there).
    P46 is borderline. I exclude it because no page is complete, since the bottom three or four lines are missing no Pauline book is here actually 'complete'.

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  17. Only one out of 124 NT papyri actually contains a complete book of the NT in their current form.
    I didn't know that before I asked myself the question the other day. That is going into my paper on 'New Testament Papyri'.

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  18. Only one out of 124 NT papyri actually contains a complete book of the NT in their current form.
    I didn't know that before I asked myself the question the other day. That is going into my paper on 'New Testament Papyri'.

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  19. For those that are not included:
    P46 could be included except that no page is complete, with 3 or more lines missing from the bottom of each page. Of others which can be demonstrated to have originally included at least one complete book I would include: P5 (includes a leaf with portions of ch 1 and 20 – almost the outside of a single quire codex); P30 (has portions of both 1 and 2 Thessalonians); P45 (has material from all four gospels and Acts); P47 (ten leaves covering Rev 9-17); P59 (fourteen pages with material from the whole gospels including chapters 1 & 2 and 21); P61 (has portions of Romans, 1 Cor, Phil, Col, 1 Thess, Tit and Philemon and was probably a complete Pauline Corpus); P64&67 (has portions from Matt 3, 5 and 26); P66 (is complete for John 1-14 and does have fragments from each of the other chapters so was doubtless originally complete); P74 (which has almost complete copies of Acts, James, and extensive material from 1 & 2 Peter, 1, 2, & 3 John and Jude); P75 (has lost equivalent material from the beginning of Luke and the end of John, both of which were doubtless complete); P115 (multiple fragments covering Rev 2-15).

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  20. How about somebody points out WHICH book?
    Is it Jude?
    How many leaves does it take up?

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  21. P72 has 1 Peter, 2 Peter and Jude all complete. Quite a complicated collection in this codex: the Nativity of Mary(i.e. Protevangelium of James), the apocryphal correspondence of Paul to the Corinthians, the eleventh Ode of Solomon, the Epistle of Jude (pp. 62-68 of the first section), Melito’s Homily on the Passover, a fragment of a hymn, the Apology of Phileas, Psalms 33 and 34, the two Epistles of Peter (with new pagination, pp. 1-34).

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