Monday, February 05, 2007

More on P75 (P. Vatican ???)

Jim Davila links to a long news report on P75: a translation of an article published last week in the semi-official Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, entitled 18 Centuries of History: The Bodmer Papyrus 14-15 (P75) Arrives in the Vatican Apostolic Library (the proposed sale was previously noted here and the purchase here).

There is a lot of incidental information here which will be of interest to readers (and some unprovable assertions about four gospel collections!) but there is some new info on unidentified extra fragments of P75:

  • "When, however, the manuscript was consigned to the Vatican Library, it emerged immediately from a summary review, that the present situation of the papyrus is not identical to that described by the facsimile: Some fragments of the external pages were recovered by a partial restoration of the "hard binding" effected after the publication in 1961 and some thirty worn out fragments awaited identification, while some new fragments, of which not a few, turned out not to be documented. Subsequent research demonstrated that at least one fragment not reproduced in the facsimile was already noted around 1974."

This reflects an interesting issue, since NA27 cites material in P75 beyond the range of published photos: 13.1-10; 14.30-31; 15.1-6, 9-10. And S.A. Edwards, 'P75 under the Magnifying Glass' Novum Testamentum 18(1976)190-212 refers to additional photos and reconstructs an additional fragment (probably the one refered to above).
In W.J. Elliott & D.C. Parker (eds), The New Testament in Greek IV. The Gospel According to St. John. The Papyri (NTTS XX; Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1995) the editors said about P75: that ‘no fresh transcription was made [i.e. from the originals]; instead, the collation was made directly from the photographs’ (p. 2). And they wouldn't recognise any letters not able to be confirmed directly from the photographs. So hopefully we might soon get a proper new and compelte transcription of the text of P75. And somebody might have the fun of identifying tiny fragments. [By the way: "Your holiness, if you read this, I volunteer."]

Up-date: Holy Father thrilled upon receiving New Testament manuscript


  1. There is also a curious new reading "o uios o eklektos" (singular) for John 1.34 in P75. See my forthcoming article on Filologia Neotestamentaria titled "Son and Chosen. A Text-Critical Study of John 1.34"


  2. Thanks Timo,

    Presumably you are proposing this was the original reading which was corrected to 'the son of God' (since that is clearly present in the photos).

    I'd be interested in seeing the evidence for this.


  3. By the way,

    I happen to have a spare copy of the Bodmer edition of P75 (two volumes with all the photos).

    And also P66 for that matter (with one photo missing and replaced with a photocopy).

    If anyone wants them I'll happily trade them for some other photos or facsimile of a manuscript which I don't have.

    Go on, make me an offer.

  4. Hi Pete,

    Yes, in fact I do. It is a testcase to show that in some rare occasions a singular reading may be the "original". You can find this new reading listed by Münster at

    Just select Joh 1.34 and P75.


  5. Sounds like the Vat is looking after the ms well.

  6. One might think that this reading for P75 is a conflate reading. But before I even get there I'd need to see the evidence that this was the original reading for P75.
    Do tell us when 'forthcoming' comes.

  7. Hi Pete,

    Yes, I though that first myself. But after wondering about the transcriptional probabilities I changed my mind. The article will appear on the next volume (so I was told).