# Tuesday, May 15, 2012

There was some talk in the blogosphere last year about P.Oxy 5072. (here, here, here, and here) It has been published in the most recent volume of the Oxyrhynchus Papyri (vol. 76, p. 1-10, ed. J. Chapa) and, even better, images are online (recto, verso), and they’re clear and relatively readable.

After all the hubbub, however, nobody (that I have seen) has really mentioned it again, let alone really interacted with the text of the papyrus. I ran across it again when looking for fragments of ‘apocryphal’ gospels in Greek to include with the fragments in my Greek Apocryphal Gospels, Fragments and Agrapha project. I am still unsure if P.Oxy 5072 will be included in that work (should I? please let me know!), but am leaning towards doing so.

I could not, however, locate vol. 76 of the Oxyrhynchus Papyri in a library anywhere near me. A friend (you know who you are) came to the rescue and sent along pictures of the article. For that I’m grateful. It gave me an opportunity to work through the text visible on the papyrus images available online in consultation with the official transcription and reconstruction.

I begin by readily admitting I am not familiar with more recent volumes of the Oxyrhynchus Papyri; I have only been able to examine portions of the first 15 volumes in any detail while working on other fragments (e.g. P.Oxy 840; P.Oxy 1224) as those volumes are in the public domain and relatively easily available via archive.org. But those early volumes seem, to me, much more helpful than this portion on P.Oxy 5072. Grenfell and Hunt give a transcription, they discuss possibilities, they determine which they think is most likely, and they give a translation. Their work is very helpful, most of the time.

Chapa’s discussion, however, nearly made me pull my hair out. The issues and possibilities are thoroughly discussed, but positive statements are almost never made about which possibilities could be thought most likely and why. To be sure, Chapa does make some decisions in that reconstructions are included in the transcriptions. Even still, I was frustrated that Chapa’s discussions and suggestions concluded with text like “again, this is speculative” and “which makes it difficult” and “but the expected traces are not visible” and the like. I appreciate the discussion of options (it is helpful and thorough) and understand there is a place for “scholarly caution,” but I also want decisions and positive prescriptions. Of course guessing about reconstructions is not certain. That’s the point, and that’s why experts need to weigh in.

Also, I was a bit surprised that there is no translation of P.Oxy 5072 given; though perhaps lack of translation is standard with the newer P.Oxy volumes. Since no translation was available, I thought I’d offer a preliminary transcription and two(!) translations below. While informed by Chapa’s work, I do not simply copy it. If you consult the below against the transcription in P.Oxy 76, you’ll find a few spots where I’m more uncertain than Chapa is (rightly so, I have not examined the actual papyrus, only the images online) and perhaps even differ. You will note that I did not put any accents/breathing marks on the text (they are in Chapa’s reconstruction in P.Oxy 76). I also do not include Chapa’s reconstructions in this transcription, though I do translate Chapa’s reconstructions and mention them in the notes (so one can see what I’m translating). The suggestions I offer as reconstructions are things that seem relatively secure to me; I even differ with Chapa in a few spots.

I would not be surprised if there are typos in the transcription and issues with the translation. This is not final, by any means. I’m still working through it and need to do more work examining the possible parallels. If you cite it, please note its provisional nature, and please link to this page.

Also, rather than note actual/probable numbers of missing characters using specific under-dots, I simply note that a group of characters is missing with a “[…]”. Images are readily available (recto, verso) so check them for the actual layout. “.” indicates a visible but indiscernable character. Letters with under-dots indicate uncertainty. Recto line 3 υ(ι)ε indicates an expanded abbreviation and possible nomen sacrum, as does verso 9 βα(σι)λεια. If you hover the asterisk at the end of most lines, you should see a note pop up. All notes are offered at the end, numbered by line, though some may be slightly edited/expanded.


  1. [...] ε̣ναντιον̣ [...]ου.[...]
  2. [...] αλλα κατε̣ρρησσ̣εν οσα.[...]*
  3. [...]ν̣ ανεκραξ̣ε λεγων υ(ι)ε [...]*
  4. [...].ες προ κα̣ιρου ημας π.[...]*
  5. [...] επετιμη̣σεν αυτωι̣ λε̣[γων...]*
  6. [... εξ]ε̣λθε απο του ανθρωπου̣ [...]*
  7. [...].ελθων εκαθισεν .[...]
  8. [...].των̣ πε.[...]*
  9. [...]ς περιες.[...]*
  10. [...]ον ενδυσ̣[...]*
  11. [...]ει̣ τις αυτω[...]
  1. [...]before [...]
  2. [...] but he tore apart as much as [...]*
  3. [...] he cried out, saying, Son [...]*
  4. [...have] you come before the time us .[...]*
  5. [...]he rebuked him, say[ing...]*
  6. [... go] out from the man[...]*
  7. [...].going he sat down .[...]
  8. [...of] them [...]*
  9. [...Jesu]s [...]*
  10. [...][...]*
  11. [...] someone to him [...]

… before … but he tore apart as much as … he cried out, saying, "Son … have you come before the time us …?" … he rebuked him, saying, "… go out from the man …" … going he sat down … of them … Jesus … someone to him …


  1. [...].[...]
  2. [...]μετ̣[...]..ο̣υ ομο.[...]*
  3. [... δι]δασκαλον εγω δε σε απ[...]
  4. [...]ου μαθητην και εση αισ̣[...]*
  5. [...].α̣τα ναι λεγω υμιν .[...]*
  6. [...].ου υπερ εμε ουκ εστ[ιν...]*
  7. [... μαθ]η̣της ει ουν γραμματικ̣[οι...]*
  8. [...]Ιεροσολυμα και ει σοφ[...]
  9. [...]τα..[...] . δε βα(σι)λεια [...]
  10. [...]..εν υμ.[...]*
  11. [...].των απεκ̣[...]*
  12. [... μ]αθ̣ητας̣ α̣.[...]*
  13. [...].[...]
  1. [...].[...]
  2. [...].[...]...[...]*
  3. [...a] teacher, myself but you I will [deny...]
  4. [...of] my disciple and you will be shame[fully...]*
  5. [...las]t things. Yes, I say to you, fr[iend...]*
  6. [..of] him more than me, not he [is...]*
  7. [...dis]ciple. If then scrib[es...]*
  8. [...]Jerusalem and if [...]
  9. [...]..[...] and Kingdom [...]
  10. [...be]fore yo[u...]*
  11. [...inte]lligent he kept hid[den...]*
  12. [...d]isciples [...]*
  13. [...].[...]

… a teacher, but I myself will deny you … of my disciple and you will be shamefully … last things. Yes, I say to you, friend … of him more than me, he is not … disciple. If then scribes … Jerusalem and if … and Kingdom … before you … intelligent he kept hidden … disciples …

Notes By Line


  1. [no notes]
  2. There is a possibility that instead of οσα. at the end of the line, it could be ο σα., thus opening the door for possible readings like ο σατ[ανας] or others. Chapa discusses and dismisses this, noting that "traces of ink" exclude these as possibilities (Chapa 10).
  3. Parallel passages that mention casting out of demons (Mk 5:7; Lk 8:28; Mt 8:29) all use υιε του θεου in address of Jesus; it is very possible this is used here too.
  4. Chapa reconstructs the beginning of the line as ηλ]θες, in line with parallels (particularly Mt 8:29).
  5. Chapa reconstructs the end of the line as λε[γων.
  6. Chapa also suggests εξ]ελθε at the beginning of the line.
  7. [no notes]
  8. Chapa reconstructs the beginning of the line as α]υτων.
  9. Chapa reconstructs the beginning of the line as Ι(ησου)]ς.
  10. Chapa does not read the last character in the line (σ) as it could be either an omega or a sigma, but from the images it appears to be consistent in shape and placement with other probable sigmas (cf. especially verso line 4).
  11. [no notes]


  1. [no notes]
  2. Chapa notes the following parallels for reconstructions of lines 2–5: Lk 12:8–9; Mt 10:32–33; Lk 9:26; Mk 8:38.
  3. [no notes]
  4. Chapa reconstructs the beginning of the line as μ]ου; the end of the line as αισ[χυνομενος.
  5. Chapa notes the following parallels for reconstructions of lines 5–7: Mt 10:37–38; Lk 14:26–27, 33. He reconstructs the start of the line as εσ]χατα and the end of the line as ο φ[ιλων.
  6. Chapa reconstructs the beginning of the line as αυ]του. He also suggests εστ[ιν at the end of the line.
  7. The word μαθητης seems frequent, hence the suggestion at the start of line 7 and line 12. This agrees with Chapa. The end of the line, however, Chapa neglects to reconstruct because γραμματικ[οι/γραμματικ[ος is not known in the New Testament as it has been received. However, the word is in use (Is 33.18; Dan 1.4, 17), and I think it could have been used here in a sense similar to γραμματευς.
  8. [no notes]
  9. [no notes]
  10. Chapa reconstructs the beginning of the line as εμπρο]σθεν; the end of the line as υμω[ν.
  11. Chapa reconstructs the beginning of the line as συν]ετων; the end of the line as απεκ[ρυψε.
  12. Chapa also suggests μ]αθητας at the start of the line.
  13. [no notes]
Post Author: rico
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 7:34:59 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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