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Old 04-30-2001, 11:42 AM   #1
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Post What is P46?

What is P46?

In recent discussions, the subject of P46 has come up. Some may wonder what it is.

Quite simply, P46 is the designation or inventory number given to a specific ancient manuscript containing works from the NT, in this case a codex. The “P” indicates that the MS (manuscript) is made of papyrus. The “46” indicates the relative order in which the MS was found and classified by paleographers. Generally, those papyrus manuscripts found earlier have lower numbers and those found later have higher numbers. (Through July of 2000, there had been about 107 papyrus MSS of the NT discovered and inventoried.)

This ancient codex was discovered in Egypt in 1931. Originally, it had 52 leaves. Experts can tell that the scribe stacked these leaves and then folded them in the middle. This folding created 104 leaves, holding 208 pages of writing. P46, when discovered, had 86 of the original 104 leaves remaining. Pages were missing from the front and back of the codex.

Today, the codex known as P46 is in two parts. Of the extant 86 leaves, 30 are at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and 56 are in Dublin, Ireland. The latter are known as the Chester Beatty collection .

What NT works are contained in P46? The scribe copied a previous copy of some of Paul’s letters and Hebrews. They are the following: Romans, Hebrews, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Ephesians, Galatians, Philipians, Colossians, and 1Thessalonians. Actually, since there are leaves missing, the first remaining page begins with Romans 5:17 and the last page ends with 1 Thessalonians 5:28. Experts are not exactly sure why the scribe didn’t include the rest of the letters attributed to Paul. One thing is certain: The scribe could not have copied the remaining letters on what space was available on the missing leaves. There simply would not have been enough room to copy onto the pages of the codex 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon. Perhaps he had planned to add more pages at the end, but for some reason did not. No one knows.

P46 contains text written in ancient Greek script known as “Uncial.” Basically that means all the letters are capitals.

(Much of the above information comes from an article by Professor David Trobisch.)

How is P46 dated? Among other considerations, the size and type of script or writing helps experts date this MS. Generally, paleographers estimate the time period when ancient documents were written based on the various characteristics of the scribe’s particular script. The script of each MS is compared to that of other MSS whose dates are known or approximated. This enables the experts to give a dating that is accurate to within about 25-50 years. (Paleography is more subjective than objective and more of an art than a science.) All scholars, to my knowledge, date this ancient MS to around 200 CE. Why is this? F. G. Kenyon, U. Wilcken, Colin H. Roberts, T. C. Skeat, H. A. Sanders, M. W. Haslam, A. Debrunner, P. W. Skehan, F. Danand, and other paleographers, have compared the script characteristics of P46 with those of other MSS that date to the first centuries of our era. Their unanimous conclusion, based on expert paleographic analysis, is that P46 dates to circa 200 CE.

It should be noted that a person known only as Young Kyu Kim (academic credentials unknown) published a very brief article in an obscure periodical (“Palaeographic Dating of p46 to the Later First Century,” Biblica Magazine, Vol. 69, No. 2, 1988). Kim looked at photographic plates of P46, compared what he saw with other SELECTED MSS, and came to some rather startling conclusions. In his OPINION virtually all paleographers who had examined (as of 1988) P46 were mistaken as to its date. Furthermore, many paleographers were mistaken as to the correct date of some of the MSS Kim selected to compare with P46. How do we know all these paleographers were mistaken? Kim says so.

In his article, Kim states:

“...some previous palaeographers may sometimes have been influenced in their dating of p46 by the omission of iota ascriptum, usage of nomina sacra, and perhaps the Greek transliteration of a Latin name[Latin word] ...Now, however, these features turn out to have no bearing on my giving an early date to p46." [emphasis added]

Kim's major points:
1. “Two biblical papyri (P. Oxy. L3522 and the Minor Prophets of Wadi Murabba’at) have provided biblical texts of the first century AD omitting iota adscript.” Comment: This DOES NOT establish a date for P46. It merely establishes that P46 is missing certain characteristics that possibly earlier MSS are missing.

2. “...the early usage of nomina sacra has been attested by a non-biblical papyrus fragment (PSI 1200 addendum), which was perhaps written about the same time as p46.” Comment: Even Kim admits, in his OPINION, [Footnote #50]“Palaeographically it would be possible that PSI 1200 addendum is assigned more to the early second century AD, but might be as old as the last decade of the first century AD.” Just because a “non-biblical” text from the second century CE contains nomina sacra, it does not follow that a biblical document containing same would date to precisely the same period. Obviously, P46 IS a biblical document. This DOES NOT establish a date for P46.

3. “Finally, as early as 1892 Th. Eckinger cited examples of [Latin word], four times in an inscription of ca. AD 4/5 (but [Latin word] three times from the first century), and O. Cair. J. E. 38622 (I/II AD) illustrates the name [Latin name] together with P. Oxy. II 335 (AD 85) and an exceptional calligraphical form of abbreviation [Greek word]. Comment: This does not establish a date for P46.

Kim’s whole article is nothing more than his OPINION on ligature forms, the usage of iota ascriptum, the Greek transliteration of Latin names, nomina sacra, MSS that MAY compare to P46, etc. It seems obvious that Kim is motivated more by apologetics than by an objective search for scientific truth. In other words, it appears that he WISHES to prove an early date for P46. WHY? As of today, I know of no scholar who agrees with his dating of P46.

Are there other good reasons for dating P46 to a period around 200 CE? Yes! I plan to post those reasons very soon.

rodahi



[This message has been edited by rodahi (edited May 13, 2001).]
 
Old 04-30-2001, 12:26 PM   #2
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P46... Wasn't that some kind of WWII fighter plane?

Seriously, interesting post. I haven't been following this debate very close, but I may now.

Personally, it amazes me that scholars are able to get any kind of accuracy at all out of such subjective comparisons between MSS. However, I believe that in many cases, radio-carbon dating backs up their findings.

BTW, to what range of years does Kim date P46?

Ish
 
Old 04-30-2001, 12:51 PM   #3
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Ish:
P46... Wasn't that some kind of WWII fighter plane?

Seriously, interesting post. I haven't been following this debate very close, but I may now.

Personally, it amazes me that scholars are able to get any kind of accuracy at all out of such subjective comparisons between MSS. However, I believe that in many cases, radio-carbon dating backs up their findings.

BTW, to what range of years does Kim date P46?

Ish
</font>
1. I, for one, would welcome radio-carbon dating of P46. I don't care when it was produced, but I doubt very seriously if it was written before 175-225 CE.

2. Kim does not say specifically in his article what date he gives P46, but 85-90 CE is probably close.

rodahi

 
Old 04-30-2001, 03:20 PM   #4
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Would someone alert Nomad and tell him about this posting? He seems to be avoiding it like the plague.

rodahi
 
Old 04-30-2001, 03:37 PM   #5
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Interesting post. Just try not to overstate your case please.

First, there is not unanimous agreement on the date of c. 200AD. Hunger and Comfort date P46 to 150AD +/- 50 years. That could place it as early as 125AD. Secondly, I am still waiting for a single argument offered as to why Kim's dating is wrong. I will not chase you across yet another thread rodahi. Offer the criticisms. Thus far I have not seen you offer anything beyond the nomina sacra, and I have already rebutted that one.

Nomad
 
Old 04-30-2001, 04:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Nomad:
Interesting post. Just try not to overstate your case please.

First, there is not unanimous agreement on the date of c. 200AD. Hunger and Comfort date P46 to 150AD +/- 50 years. That could place it as early as 125AD. Secondly, I am still waiting for a single argument offered as to why Kim's dating is wrong. I will not chase you across yet another thread rodahi. Offer the criticisms. Thus far I have not seen you offer anything beyond the nomina sacra, and I have already rebutted that one.

Nomad
</font>
Let's see, if we add 50 to 150, we get 200, right? You missed my point, Nomad. NO ONE agrees with Kim's early dating (85 CE) but you. BTW, you have "rebutted" nothing. You have offered your apologetic opinion, nothing more.

One other thing, Nomad. Why didn't you bother reading Kim's article? Why didn't you quote him? Is it because you have no earthly idea what the hell you are talking about?

rodahi

 
Old 05-01-2001, 07:01 AM   #7
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Wink

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Nomad:
Hunger and Comfort date P46 to 150AD +/- 50 years. That could place it as early as 125AD. </font>
That's some mighty strange 'rithmetic there, pardner.

The date range proposed by Hunger and Comfort works out to 'between 100AD and 200AD'.

I'm sure you were just in a hurry. :-&gt;

Regards,

Kelly

 
Old 05-01-2001, 08:16 AM   #8
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Red face

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Touchstone:

That's some mighty strange 'rithmetic there, pardner.

The date range proposed by Hunger and Comfort works out to 'between 100AD and 200AD'.

I'm sure you were just in a hurry. :-&gt;</font>
OOPS! Thanks for the catch Kelly.

While papyrologists will allow an outside margin of error of up to 50 years on any date given, the traditionally halve that to a total + or - of 50 years. Thus, if 150 is listed as the probable date, then the range becomes 125-175.

Sorry for the mistake.

Nomad
 
Old 05-01-2001, 04:49 PM   #9
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Nomad:
Interesting post. Just try not to overstate your case please.

...Hunger and Comfort date P46 to 150AD +/- 50 years...


Present evidence to back up your claim.

rodahi
 
Old 05-01-2001, 08:50 PM   #10
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[quote]<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by rodahi:
Quote:
Originally posted by Nomad:
Interesting post. Just try not to overstate your case please.

...Hunger and Comfort date P46 to 150AD +/- 50 years...


Present evidence to back up your claim.

rodahi
Quote:
</font>
Philip Comfort says "Other papyrologists date it [P46] to the middle of the second century" (Essential Guide to Bible Versions, 2000). His foot note refers questioners to Earliest New Testamnet Manuscripts, pp. 193-197, Comfort and Barrett).

Ish
 
 

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