Saturday, April 01, 2017

New Evidence for Earliest Tetraevangelion (Part 1)

Seven years ago, I presented a paper on SBL in Atlanta (2010) on "A Comparative Textual Analysis of 𝔓4 and 𝔓64+67"  which was later published in the TC Journal vol. 15 (2010).

Background to the paper here.

In my last couple of slides I pointed out that there is more to discover, in particular in reference to 𝔓4 = BnF Suppl. gr. 1120 ii 3 / 4.
Two years later, Simon Gathercole published his study in NovT 54 (2012) on the earliest title of Matthew's Gospel which is found on the flyleaf of this MS an image of which was published for the first time.

However, as I said in my paper there is yet more to discover. There are traces of letters on the flyleaf (reverse side of where the title of Matthew is found), which had been noted by T. C. Skeat and Kurt Aland but they were unable to decipher them from black and white photos. I now have access form high-resolution images from the National Library in Paris.

Further, I pointed out that there are mirrored impressions on fragment B, verso because the pages had been glued together for centuries and fragment D has left impressions, but I did not work further on this, and I have had too many projects to think about it.
At the last SBL in San Antonio, however, Elijah Hixon presented a wonderful paper, "Was There a Staurogram in P.Oxy. LXXI 4805 (P121)?" in which he presented a digital restoration using photo-manipulation software.

This gave me the idea to try again on P4 using his software, where the first step is to create a profile by entering all the visible letters and then trying to trace the faint letters from the new high-res images (and also to mirror the impressed letters on fragment B). The results are amazing, and I have been able to decipher about three verses from Luke on fragment B, and Matthew (!) on the flyleaf – this is new evidence that 𝔓4 and 𝔓64+67 did belong to the same codex as argued most forcefully by T. C. Skeat.

In the next post, I will supply transcription and comments to five textual variants.

1 comment :

  1. Looks like what you have found could be significant - just hoping that the date of your post is not significant


    Matthew Hamilton
    Sydney, Australia