Monday, September 21, 2009

The Artemidorus Papyrus

There is a fascinating review of recent books on the Artemidorus Papyrus (wikipedia summary) in the current issue of The Classical Review (59.2, 2009, 403-410) by Richard Janko (for general bibliography see here). Basically this is a papyrus roll which looks like a first-century text but may well be (following Luciano Canfora's arguments which Janko accepts and augments) a nineteenth-century forgery by Constantine Simonides, well-known among NT textual scholars for his (forged) early copy of Matthew and his claim that the wrote Codex Sinaiticus (amply covered in a fascinating book by Keith Elliott, mentioned in the article [honourable mention also of Tregelles and Tischendorf]).
Janko shows that the portrait of Matthew on the frontespiece to Simonides 1861 book, which is basically a self-portrait by Simonides (Facsimiles of certain portions of the Gospel of St. Matthew, and of the Epistles of Ss. James & Jude, written on papyrus in the first century, and preserved in the Egyptian museum of Joseph Mayer) appears as a sketch in the Artemidorus Papyrus. It looks pretty persuasive to me. [HT: Papy list]


6 Comments:

Tommy Wasserman said...

The forgeries of Matthew and Jude are still in that museum in Liverpool. I don't think they were entirely aware of the fact that the papyri were forgeries when I contacted them some years ago because I was interested in looking at the faked Jude.

Wieland Willker said...

I remember having read an article recently in which a biologist analyzed the animals depicted on the papyrus and he found that it is extremely unlikely that a forger of the 19th CE would have known some of them.
Overall I remember the article stated that most consider the papyrus genuine.

Stephen C. Carlson said...

How easy or hard is it to fake aged papyrus with writing on it?

Daniel Buck said...

Carbon-14 testing should be able to decide the matter. 1st century blank papyrus just isn't sitting around waiting for a forger to fill it in.

Peter M. Head said...

The papyrus is ancient. That is an important aspect of the puzzle.

Michele said...

Well, I think only few really studied enough the papyrus to judge correctly. It seems that Janko is rather skeptical like canfora on philological grounds. The point is that the papyrus is ancient, but the text is surely older than the 1st century. The fact that the material is authentic is not surprising. Forgers used to employ authenitc papyrus.