Tuesday, April 25, 2006

More on P113 (the other side)

Further to our previous post (here) which attempted a careful reading of one side of this small fragment (P. Oxy 4497), I shall continue with the reading.

Up-dated: see below

Here is a picture:

On this side we have clear traces of letters above the first clear line. None were visible on the other side which raised the question as to whether we had the upper margin. This evidence suggests that we don't have the upper margin. So we have an extra line on this side:

Line 1:
Not too much is visible here. The first visible ink looks like the bottom of a left-down diagonal and the second visible trace looks like a part of a lower horizontal line. The angles suggest that these must be parts of the same letter. Three or four basic possibilities for this combination: delta, alpha, lamda, chi. Does the horizontal line continue right across between the two traces? If so then probably a delta. But it doesn't seem to. No other examples of any of these letters on either side of the fragment except for alpha (of which we have many examples). Potentially alpha, although other letters can't be ruled out.
There is some kind of a dot/trace to the left of the tear between the lines. If this was ink it would have to be a long tail (psi, phi?), but I don't think it is the same colour as the ink. I think it is just a spot in the papyrus, we had a few of these on the other side.
The other traces are simply vertical lines. The first is reasonably close to the preceeding trace then there is a pretty long gap to the second vertical descender. These are compatible with loads of different letters so I don't think there is much to be gained from listing them all here. We could certainly exclude some letters, so the traces are relevant to the identification of the text, but we'll leave that open for now.

Line 1: ]. . . [ (this doesn't look like much yet does it?)

Line 2:
Ah, some clear letters. No real problems here: MU (with a big space to the left), HTA, KAPPA (this has lost a bit of the vertical line, but the angles of the diagonals and the general spacing are very similar to the two clear kappas, and there is nothing else it could be!), ALPHA.
In connection with the other side we raised the question as to whether the large space to the right of the existing letters meant we had the margin. The evidence of this side is tantalising. The space to the left of the MU is bigger than most/all of the spacings between letters elsewhere. So it could be the left-hand margin. On the other hand the space is not large enough to say definitely that we have the margin, especially since MH could be introducing a new clause and thus be given a punctuation-type space. Basic gut instinct suggests this is the left hand margin, but can that be proven?

Line 2: M H K A

Up-date begins here:

Line 3:
The first letter is missing, but the line above it (and the following two letters) is visible. So with NU (the downward slope of the horizontal line distinguishes this from the HTA in the line above, which would also nto make any sense as a NS) and IOTA abbreviated the only option is PNI, the nomen sacrum for PNEUMATI. The next two letters are also clear as OMICRON and UPSILON. The mark to the left of the omicron in this case does look ink-coloured and may be a punctuation mark. Hence:

Line 3: P] N I : O Y [ (unfortunately I can't put in the over-lines and the colon stands for a dot)

Line 4:
The first letter is a little unclear. First impression is that it is a GAMMA, closer inspection suggests that the horizontal line and the dot are not actually joined - in which case it would be an IOTA followed by a punctuation point. A problem here is that this dot, if it is punctuation; is different from the proposed punctuation point in the previous line (which was more like a short line than a dot). I'd like to look at these with some more magnification to compare them. Also it will be interesting to see how the punctuation may or may not work with the text once identified. For the moment I'll opt for IOTA dot. Then we have an OMICRON. The next letter has only some traces remaining and a mark above it. The trace of the letter is of small horizontal stroke followed by a vertical element. It is a little odd and doesn't really correspond to a standard shape. Fortunately we have already noted the unusual UPSILON with this feature on the other side.
Here is a picture. The additional trace, which is a r.h. upward diagonal also clearly fits with this model and thus an UPSILON is the best explanation. Above the UPSILON is a mark which looks like a breathing mark (and almost certainly is), the only question I have in my mind is whether the mark comes from the same scribe as the text as the ink looks a different colour.

As regards the next trace it looks like something in the interlinear area - it is spatially equivalent to the breathing mark rather than the top of a letter. Not too sure what this is.

So, line 4: ?] I : O Y [? (plus breathing and another interlinear mark).

Line 5: Well, the second letter is clearly a KAPPA, the first letter is less clear. It looks like we have part of a vertical upright stroke and a (rather short and thin) upper r.h. diagonal. The only obvious candidate is UPSILON, even though it is not the standard shape. But the other upsilons are similar enough to confirm this.
line 5: ]Y K [

Line 1: ]. . . [
Line 2: ]M H K A
Line 3: P] N I : O Y [ (with over-lines and the colon stands for a dot)
Line 4: ?] I : O Y [? (plus breathing and another interlinear mark)
line 5: ]Y K [

NB. I said previously that the nomen sacrum - PNEUMATI - was probably critical in the identification of the piece (at least as proposed) as from Romans. With no complete words I doubt if anyone would have bothered it it wasn't for this indication (both in form and content) that this was an early Christian text, possibly Scripture. Even so the fact that we have no complete words might encourage some caution as we explore whether this proposed identification is actually correct (more on this later in another post).


  1. Is this important?

  2. Well, there are clearly more important things. But anyone convinced that the original wording of the NT is important can leave no stone unturned that could reveal potentially relevant information.

  3. Please can someone direct me to a dictionary that defines words like"
    Unical, Sigla, and other testual words?

    Jack Brandmahl