Bodmer VIII Papyrus - Epistles of St. Peter

Ex Papyro Bodmeriana VIII Transcriptae P72 - Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)

Alternate Titles:

Papiro Bodmer VIII, Beati Petri Apostoli Epistulae, Epístolas de san Pedro

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Codiology

Alternate Titles

Papiro Bodmer VIII
Beati Petri Apostoli Epistulae
Epístolas de san Pedro

Type
Extent / Format

36 pages / 15.5 x 14.2 cm

Origin
Date
3rd century
Style
Genre
Language
Former owners

Martin Bodmer

Short description

A true sensation: in the year 1956, Swiss citizen Martin Bodmer bought a bundle of papyri from the 2nd-4th centuries after Christ. The pieces of writing discovered in Egypt represent significant textual witnesses for the text of the Bible. One papyrus, titled Bodmer 72, contains among others a copy of the Epistles of Peter, Jude’s Epistle, and individual Psalms, but also poems by Melito of Sardis. In the year 1969, a part of the papyrus – comprising the 1st and 2nd Epistles of Peter – reached the Vatican Library as a gift for the pope. The 3rd century papyrus with ancient Greek text is comprised of 36 pages altogether. The nearly 1,800-year-old piece of writing of incomprehensible worth offers a fascinating glimpse of the formative period of the text of the Bible.

Facsimile editions available

Description

Bodmer VIII Papyrus - Epistles of St. Peter

A true sensation: in the year 1956, Swiss citizen Martin Bodmer bought a bundle of papyri from the 2nd-4th centuries after Christ. The pieces of writing discovered in Egypt represent significant textual witnesses for the text of the Bible. One papyrus, titled Bodmer 72, contains among others a copy of the Epistles of Peter, Jude’s Epistle, and individual Psalms, but also poems by Melito of Sardis. In the year 1969, a part of the papyrus – comprising the 1st and 2nd Epistles of Peter – reached the Vatican Library as a gift for the pope. The 3rd century papyrus with ancient Greek text is comprised of 36 pages altogether. The nearly 1,800-year-old piece of writing of incomprehensible worth offers a fascinating glimpse of the formative period of the text of the Bible.

A True Treasure Chest of World History

Martin Bodmer, a well-moneyed independent Swiss scholar, obtained this treasure in 1956. Bodmer collected countless historically significant pieces of writing, especially the oldest surviving specimens. His library contained 150,000 pieces, “one of the most beautiful manuscript collections in the world.” The papyri probably represented the most important gem in this collection. The bundle of papers impresses through it significant content, the Biblical texts and texts of the church fathers, but also contained antique plays. “It is believed that the Bodmer Papyrus contains the oldest textual fragments of the Gospel of Luke, the oldest Lord’s Prayer, and one of the oldest fragments from the Gospel of John.”

The papyri were discovered in middle Egypt in 1952. The bundle likely came into Bodmers collection of Martin Bodmer under some dubious circumstances in 1956. The pieces of writing were named the Bodmer Papyri after their original owner. Since 2003, they have been appointed to the Bibliotheca Bodmeriana in Cologny, near Genf. In 1969, a piece of this collection was gifted to Pope Paul VI in the Vatican: the Bodmer VIII Papyrus.

The Papyrus VIII Bodmer is a part of Papyrus 72, a piece of writing from the 3rd century, that was completed by various scribes. P72, as the Papyrus is referred to in research for short, contains the oldest surviving copy of the 1st and 2nd Epistles of Peter, together with the first transcript of Jude’s Epistle and some individual Psalms. Aside from that, an apocryphal text about the life of Mary and the childhood of Jesus is to be found in Papyrus 72, in addition to songs and poems by Melito. The Bodmer VIII Papyrus hence contains the part with both of Peter’s Epistles.

Very Close to the Original

This Bodmer VIII Papyrus, which is housed today in the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana and is guarded as a treasure of inestimable worth, represents the oldest surviving manuscript to this New Testament text. The copy of the 1st and 2nd Epistles of Peter from the 3rd century is a significant textual witness of early Christianity. The papyrus grants a fascinating glimpse into this time of the Bible’s creation!

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