Saturday, December 01, 2018

Was P18 a Roll or a Codex? A New Article with Pictures in It!

It’s a well-known feature of the early Christian textual transmission that the vast majority of manuscripts are in codex format. There are a few odd-balls in the mix, one of which is P18 (P.Oxy. VIII 1079; BL Pap. 2053 verso; LDAB 2786), a fragment containing portions of Rev 1.4–7. On the opposite side of the fragment (→), there’s the ending of the book of Exodus, published separately as P.Oxy. VIII 1075 (Rahlfs 909; LDAB 3477).

The presence of an ending of a different work on → led Arthur S. Hunt, the fragment’s principal editor, to conclude that P18 is a re-used roll. And this conclusion had been widely accepted until Brent Nongbri disturbed the status quo with his 2013 article. There, Brent posits that, instead, our fragment is likely to have been once part of a composite codex.

In the course of my investigation into the papyri of Revelation, I ended up revisiting this problem and wrote a little piece, which has been published in the latest issue of NTS (it’s in fact the first issue of the 2019 volume, so perhaps we’re dealing with a bit of realised eschatology, pace Rev 1.19).

For the article, see now ‘P.Oxy. VIII 1079 (P18): Closing on a “Curious” Codex?’, NTS 65 (2019) 94–102.


  1. Hi Pete,
    Your article prompted me to more formally write up my thoughts on Charlesworth's article about this papyrus:

  2. ...Ezekiel and Revelation are both scroll-prominent books. Maybe, so, given a choice?