Papyrus 90 (P90) Small Greek New Testament Fragment (John 18:36-19:7) Dating to c. 110-150 C.E.

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Papyrus_90_(John_19.1-7) P90
Name P. Oxy 3523
Sign P90
Text John 18:36-19:1r+19:1-7v
Date 110-150 C.E.
Script Greek
Found OxyrhynchusEgypt
Now at Papyrology Rooms, Sackler LibraryOxford
Size 16 x 12 cm
Type Alexandrian text-type
Category I
The P52 PROJECT THE NEW TESTAMENT DOCUMENTS 4th ed. MISREPRESENTING JESUS

Papyrus 90 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering), designated by P90, is a small fragment from the Gospel of John 18:36-19:7 dating paleographically to the early middle 2nd century. It was edited by T. C. Skeat, published in 1983.

The Greek text of this codex is representative of the Alexandrian text-type. It is written in a reformed documentary hand. Aland placed it in Category I (because of its date).[1]

Comfort says “P90 has [close] textual affinity with P66 … [and] some affinity with א (Aleph).”[2] Comfort says elsewhere, “T. C. Skeat, the editor of P90, notes its general similarities with the Egerton Gospel of the second century and even closer similarities with P. Oxy. 656 (Genesis), also of the second century.[3] My own personal observation of the two manuscripts confirms the same. The hand is a decorated rounded (discussed in the introduction) dated anywhere from the early to middle second century.  It is similar to P. Oxy. 3216 and P Yale 1273.”[4]

The Scribe and Correctors of P66 (Papyrus 66)

It is currently housed at the Sackler Library (Papyrology Rooms, P. Oxy. 3523) in Oxford.[5]

Paleographers have been able to distinguish four major kinds of handwriting, each of which reveals something about the training (or lack thereof) of the copyist who produced it. The four types are as follows:

1.) Common: The work of a semiliterate writer who is untrained in making documents. This handwriting usually displays an inelegant cursive.

2.) Documentary: The work of a literate writer who has had experience in preparing documents. This has also been called “chancery handwriting” (prominent in the period A.D. 200–225). It was used by official scribes in public administration.

3.) Reformed documentary: The work of a literate writer who had experience in preparing documents and in copying works of literature. Often, this hand attempts to imitate the work of a professional but does not fully achieve the professional look.

4.) Professional: The work of a professional scribe. These writings display the craftsmanship of what is commonly called a “book hand” or “literary hand,” and leave telltale marks of professionalism such as stichoi markings (the tallying of the number of lines, according to which a professional scribe would be paid), as are found in P46.

Various handwriting styles are more pronounced in one time period over another and thereby help in dating manuscripts.

APOSTOLIC FATHERS Lightfoot APOSTOLIC FATHERS

Shared Features of Jewish and Christian Manuscripts

… Some of the earliest Christian manuscripts could reveal the influence of Jewish scriptoral practices. If this link can be substantiated, then it stands to reason that the earliest Christian writing centers may have been—to some degree—carryovers from Jewish scriptoria. When one examines the Greek Old Testament manuscripts and the Christian Old Testament (and New Testament) manuscripts, we see some common features. For starters, we see the shared appearance of an enlarged letter at the beginning of each line. This could be attributed to Jewish influence, rather than to documentary (as is often done). This observation comes from Peter Parsons, who compared some of the documentary features of the Minor Prophet Scrolls from Nahal Hever with early Christian manuscripts. Parsons made these comments:

Most of this material [in the Greek Minor Prophets] is documentary; but the comparison is rather appropriate, since the use of enlarged initials at line beginning … and phrase beginning … and (set out in the margin) to mark a new section … gives this manuscript a documentary look. The fact is itself remarkable. Early Christian books show the same characteristic; copies of the Greek classics do not. It has therefore been tempting to argue that the texts of the Early Church stood closer to the world of business than to that of literature, and to draw conclusions about the social milieu in which the texts circulated or the esteem in which they were held. Now we see the same thing in a Jewish manuscript of a pre-Christian date. This may suggest that the Christians inherited the practice, rather than inventing it.

9781949586121 BIBLE DIFFICULTIES THE NEW TESTAMENT DOCUMENTS

C. H. Roberts was of the same opinion, saying, “Documentary practice may not have been the only influence on Christian scribes.” Roberts then goes on to explain that the Minor Prophets scrolls show this “enlarged letter, preceded by a small blank space, marking the beginning of a new phrase, while verses are marked off by larger spaces.”

As for Christian Old Testament manuscripts, the feature of the enlarged letter at the beginning of the line can be seen in several of Chester Beatty Greek Old Testament manuscripts: V (Gen.), VI (Num.-Deut.), VII (Isa.), VIII (Jer.), X (Dan.). In my examination of early New Testament manuscripts, I have seen this feature in the following papyri: P13 (somewhat), P23, P32, P46 (somewhat), P53, P70, P72, P78, P90, and P109. The second physical feature of New Testament manuscripts which may have been influenced from Jewish Greek Old Testament manuscripts is the invention of the nomen sacrum for kurios (Lord). As I will argue in chapter 4, it seems that the best explanation for this invention came from Christians producing copies of the Septuagint who then provided an alternative way to display the sacred title, YHWH. Instead of writing the Hebrew Tetragrammaton in a Greek text, they invented a Greek nomen sacrum, ΚΣ for denoting “LORD.”[6]

Papyrus 90 P90 Special Feature_02
Papyrus 90 (P90) NAME: P. Oxy 3523 Text: John 19.1
4th ed. MISREPRESENTING JESUS The Complete Guide to Bible Translation-2

Greek Text

The papyrus is written on both sides. The characters that are in bold style are the ones that can be seen in P90.

P90 01Gospel of John 18:36-19:1 (recto)

BAΣIΛEIA H EMH OI YΠHPETAI OI EMOI
ΩNIZONTO AN INA MH ΠAPAΔOΘΩ
TOIΣ IOYΔAIOIΣ NYN ΔE H BAΣIΛEIA H
EMH OYK EΣTIN ENTEYΘEN EIΠEN
OYN AYTΩ O ΠEIΛATOΣ OYKOYN BAΣI-
ΛEYΣ ΣY EI AΠEKPIΘH O IΣE ΣY ΛEΓEIΣ
OTI BAΣIΛEYΣ EIMI EΓΩ EIΣ TOYTO
ΓEΓENNHMAI KAI EIΣ TOYTO EΛHΛYΘ-
A EIΣ TON KOΣMON INA MAPTYPH-
ΣΩ TH AΛHΘEIA ΠAΣ O ΩN EK THΣ
HΘEIAΣ AKOYEI MOY THΣ ΦΩNHΣ
ΛEΓEI AYTΩ O ΠEIΛATOΣ TI EΣTIN
AΛHΘEIA KAI TOYTO EIΠΩN ΠAΛIN
EΞHΛΘEN ΠPOΣ TOYΣ IOYΔAIOYΣ
KAI ΛEΓEI AYTOIΣ EΓΩ OYΔEMIAN
EYPIΣKΩ EN AYTΩ AITIAN EΣTIN
ΔE ΣYNHΘEIA YMEIN INA ENA AΠ-
OΛYΣΩ YMEIN EN TΩ ΠAΣXA BOYΛE-
ΣΘE OYN INA AΠOΛYΣΩ YMIN TON
BAΣIΛEA TΩN IOYΔAIΩN EKPAYΓ-
AΣAN OYN ΠAΛIN ΛEΓONTEΣ MH
TOYTON AΛΛA TON BAPABBAN HN
DE O BAPABBAΣ ΛHΣTHΣ TOTE OYN

ΛABΩN O ΠEIΛATOΣ TON IΣE KAI EMA-

basileia ē emē oi upēretai oi emoi
ēgōnizonto an ina mē paradothō
tois ioudaiois nun de ē basileia ē
emē ouk estin enteuthen eipen
oun autō o peilatos oukoun basi-
leus su ei apekrithē o ise su legeis
oti basileus eimi egō eis touto
gegennēmai kai eis touto elēluth-
a eis ton kosmon ina marturē-
 tē alētheia pas o ōn ek tēs
alētheias akouei mou tēs phōnēs
legei autō o peilatos ti estin
alētheia kai touto eipōn palin
exēlthen pros tous ioudaious
kai legei autois egō oudemian
euriskō en autō aitian estin
de sunētheia umien ina ena ap-
olusō umien en tō pascha boule-
sthe oun ina apolusō umin ton
basilea tōn ioudaiōn ekraug-
asan oun palin legontes mē
touton alla ton barabban ēn
de o barabbas lēstēs tote oun

labōn o peilatos ton ise kai ema-

kingdom, my servants for me would
fighteth, so that I would not be delivered
unto the Jews: but now this kingdom of
mine is not from hence. Said
therefore to him Pilate, “Then
a king thou art?” answered Jesus, “Thou said
that king I am. For this I
have been born, and for this
I have come into the world, so that
I would testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the
truth hears of me my voice.”
Said to him Pilate, “What is
truth?” And this having said, again
he went out unto the Jews
and said to them, “I do not
find in him guilt.There is,
though, a custom for you, that
I should release unto you one at the Passover:
do you wish then that I would release unto you
the King of the Jews?”
They cried out so again, saying, “Not this
man, but Barabbas!”
Now Barabbas was a robber. Then therefore

Pilate took Jesus, and

P90 02Gospel of John 19:1-7 (verso)

ΣTIΓΩΣEN KAI OI ΣTPATIΩTAI ΠΛE-
ΞANTEΣ ΣTEΦANON EΞ AKANΘΩN
EΠEΘHKAN AYTOY TH KEΦAΛH KAI
IMATION ΠOPΦYPOYN ΠEPIEBA
ΛON AYTON KAI HPXONTO ΠPOΣ AY
TON KAI EΛEΓON XAIPE O BAΣIΛEY
Σ TΩN IOYΔAIΩN KAI EΔIΔOΣAN AY
TΩ PAΠIΣMATA HΛΘEN ΠAΛIN
O ΠEIΛATOΣ KAI LEΓEI AYTOIΣ IΔE
AΓΩ YMIN AYTON EΞΩ INA ΓNΩ
TE OTI AITIAN EN AYTΩ OYX EYPIΣ
KΩ EΞHΛΘEN OYN O IΣE EΞΩ ΦOP
ΩN TON AKANΘINON ΣTEΦANON
KAI TO ΠOPΦYPOYN IMATION KAI
ΛEΓEI AYTOIΣ IΔOY O ANΘPΩΠOΣ
OTE OYN EIΔON AYTON OI APXIEPE
KAI OI YΠHPETAI EKPAZAN LEΓON-
TEΣ ΣTAYPΩΣON AYTON ΛEΓEI AY
TOIΣ O ΠEIΛATOΣ ΛABETE YMEIΣ
AYTON KAI ΣTAYPΩΣATE EΓΩ ΓAP
OYX EYPIΣKΩ EN AYTΩ AITIAN
AΠEKPIΘHΣAN OI IOYΔAIOI HMEIΣ
NOMON EXOMEN KAI KATA TON

stigōsen kai oi stratiōtai ple-
xantes stephanon ex akanthōn
epethēkan autou tē kephalē kai
imation porphuroun perieba
lon auton kai ērchonto pros au
ton kai elegon chaire o basileu
s tōn ioudaiōn kai edidosan au
tō rapismata exēlthen palin
o peilatos kai legei autois ide
agō umin auton exō ina gnō
te oti aitian en autō ouch euris
kō exēlthen oun o ise exō phor
ōn ton akanthinon stephanon
kai to porphuroun imation kai
legei autois idou o anthrōpos
ote oun eidon auton oi archeireis
kai oi upēretai ekrazan legon-
tes staurōson auton legei au
tois o peilatos labete umeis
auton kai staurōsate egō gar
ouch euriskō en autō aitian
apekrithēsan oi ioudaioi ēmeis
nomon echomen kai kata ton

scourged him. And the soldiers having
woven a crown of thorns,
they put it on his head, and
a robe of purple they put around
him, and they did come to him,
and they said “Hail, King
of the Jews!” and they gave him
blows with their hands. And went forth again
Pilate, and said unto them, “Behold,
I bring him to you forth, so that you may know
that fault in him I do not find.”
Came forth then Jesus without, wearing
the crown of thorns,
and the purple robe. And
Pilate saith unto them, “Behold the man!”
When they so saw him, the chief priests
and officers cried out, saying,
“Crucify him!” Saith unto them
Pilate, “Take ye
him, and crucify him: for I
do not find in him guilt.”
Answered the Jews, “We
have a law, and according to that

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[1] Aland, Kurt; Aland, Barbara (1995). The Text of the New Testament: An Introduction to the Critical Editions and to the Theory and Practice of Modern Textual Criticism. Erroll F. Rhodes (trans.). Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. pp. 102, 159.

[2] Philip W. Comfort, Encountering the Manuscripts. An Introduction to New Testament Paleography & Textual Criticism, Nashville, Tennessee: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2005, p. 74.

[3] P. Oxy. 656 is dated to the second century by H. I. Bell and T. C. Skeat, eds., Fragments of an Unknown Gospel and Other Early Christian Papyri (London: Oxford University Press for the British Museum, 1935), 6–7.

[4] Philip Wesley Comfort and David P. Barrett, The Text of the Earliest New Testament Greek Manuscripts, Vol. II (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Academic, 2019), 132-133.

[5] Aland, Kurt; Aland, Barbara (1995). The Text of the New Testament: An Introduction to the Critical Editions and to the Theory and Practice of Modern Textual Criticism. Erroll F. Rhodes (trans.). Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. pp. 102, 159.

“Liste Handschriften”. Münster: Institute for New Testament Textual Research. Retrieved 27 August 2011.

[6] Philip Comfort, Encountering the Manuscripts: An Introduction to New Testament Paleography & Textual Criticism (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 2005), 26–27.

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