Friday, May 29, 2009

Mystery MS


I teach several sections of a freshman NT survey course each year. Fellow NT professor, Phil Mayo, and I are seriously considering a new Zondervan backgrounds and survey text by Burge, Cohick, and Green. It comes close to the ideal textbook for which we've been searching.

In my perusal of the textbook a few evenings ago, one error jumped out at me.

On p. 16, there is a picture of a papyrus manuscript, with a paragraph beneath describing it as P52. That it is most certainly not, and in fact they have a picture of the real P52 on p. 442. I've written to Zondervan, pointing this out, but have not yet heard back.

What I'm uncertain of, is the actual identity of the fragment on p. 16. I'm not even sure if it is a biblical MS. It is not a professional hand, reminds me of some of the scribbled letters among the Oxyrhynchus papyri....(It looks like my scan of p. 16 is not going to be readable. If people would like, I can try to post a cropped scan of just the fragment.)

In the photo credits at the back of the book, they indicate that the photograph on p. 16 is from Glasgow University Library. However, Glasgow has only one papyrus that I am aware of, and that is P22. This link will provide you a view of P22, which you can see is not what is pictured on p. 16.

Any guesses or actual identifications? If someone can solve the mystery, I will pass it on to Zondervan (though I would hope they could provide the correct ID to us).


  1. Now that it is posted, I see that you can click on the picture and get a great look at the fragment, better than I could get in the textbook. (I need to purchase a magnifying glass for my old eyes.)

    I can even decipher some of the words now, and might get a chance to come back for a closer look in a few days. But if someone else can beat me to it - go right ahead. :-)

  2. Here's your answer:

    You were really, really close.

    Zondervan already knows of the error and is fixing it in future printings.

  3. will those who have the erroneous edition get a refund or a new corrected copy?

    (i don't have one- i'm just wondering how they will make it right)

  4. Well, at least all this notice shows that you can't sneak a wrong identification past textual critics. :-) Thanks, Mike (and Rodney Decker and others).

    I suppose the intention was to put a picture of P52 on p. 16 as well as p. 442. POxy52 is not relevant to the purposes of the textbook. That would explain the text below the picture. Then someone pulled up the wrong image somehow. Why did they go to Glasgow for the image??!! They would have had to ask for permissions, etc. That's kind of embarrassing. Or am I missing some connection that would have made it an easy mistake?

  5. Looks like Mike beat me to it. ;)

  6. Yeah, this one was too easy. My first guess would have been Oxyrhynchus Papyrus #52.

  7. Answer: