Posted by: aboutalbion | September 6, 2012

Christian origins

I have developed a late-life interest in history generally, and so I collect insights into historical methods.  But sooner or later, an amateur historian (as I aspire to be) needs a ‘project’ on which to deploy these methods.  And my project is the origin of Christianity, and my data is papyrus 46.

I can’t improve upon the opening sentence of the Wikipedia article.  Papyrus 46 “is one of the oldest extant New Testament manuscripts in Greek, written on papyrus, with its ‘most probable date’ between 175-225.  Some leaves are part of the Chester Beatty Biblical Papyri [in Dublin, Ireland], and others are in the University of Michigan Papyrus Collection.”

I have chosen papyrus 46 because, to the best of my knowledge, it is currently one of the oldest significantly sized texts that has been discovered (in the past century) and which once evidenced the new religious movement that became Christianity.  Papyrus 46 is an artefact which can be handled.  It is a Greek text, in the form of a codex, which consists of around 85 surviving leaves.  The text contains ‘letters’ which Christianity refers to as Romans, Hebrews, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Ephesians, Galatians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, and an unknown text on the lost last few leaves of the codex.

So I shall be posting now again on this topic.


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