The papyri are documents written on papyrus, a material prepared in Ancient Egypt from the pithy stem of a water plant, used in sheets throughout the ancient Mediterranean world for writing. The early papyri of about 100+ manuscripts that date from 110-390 C.E. are said to be the most important for establishing the original.
How Many Second-Century [100 – 200 A.D.] New Testament Manuscripts Are There?
In the case of the New Testament papyri manuscripts, our early evidence for the Greek New Testament, size is irrelevant. They range from centimeters encompassing a couple of verses to a codex with many books of the New Testament. But all of them add something significant.
NEW TESTAMENT TEXTUAL STUDIES: Important Papyrus Manuscripts
Papyrus is a tall, aquatic reed, the pith of which is cut into strips, laid in a crosswork pattern, and glued together to make a page for writing. The papyrus rolls of Egypt have been used as a writing surface since the early third millennium BC.
PAPYRUS: The Predecessor to Paper
Papyrus is a writing material made from the water plant by the same name, which name means “product of the river.” Papyrus is possibly the longest used writing material, with the oldest known fragment dating to about 2400 B.C.E., and the use of it coming to almost an end around 600 C.E., some 3000 years of use.
How Many Greek New Testament Papyri Manuscripts Do We Have and How Early Are They?
The earliest sources for the Greek New Testament are the papyri in codex (book-like) form. Of course, this designation came from the medium on which they were inscribed. At present, there have been over 139 of these discovered, with eighty of these manuscripts dating between 100 – 300 C.E.
PAPYRUS 13 AKA P13 (P. Oxy. 657 + PSI 1292) NT Greek Manuscript – Hebrews 2, 10-12
Papyrus 13, designated by siglum P13 in the Gregory-Aland numbering, is a fragmented manuscript of the New Testament in Greek. It was copied on papyrus in the early 3rd century at approximately 225-250 CE. It contains Heb. 2:14–5:5; 10:8–22; 10:29–11:13; 11:28–12:17
PAPYRUS 15/16 sigla P15/P16 (P. Oxy. 1008) / (P. Oxy. 1009) NT Greek Manuscripts
P16 was discovered together with P15. Grenfell and Hunt conjectured that P16 and P15 might have been parts of the same manuscript, written in a documentary hand.
P10 (P. Oxy. 209) Romans 1:1-5, 7 Dating to About 316 C.E.
Papyrus 10 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering system), signed by P10 and named Oxyrhynchus papyri 209, is an early copy of part of the New Testament content in Greek. It is a papyrus manuscript of the Epistle to the Romans.
FRAGMENTS OF TRUTH: 500 Thousand Papyrus Texts Were Accidentally Discovered in Egypt
One could argue that many of the manuscripts have been looked at over the past 140 years. However, many in comparison to hundreds of thousands mean nothing really. Let's look a little deeper as to how they have helped and why some may have been reluctant to invest time into working their way through this treasure.
Is it the Original Text or the Earliest Text of the New Testament?
This article may be somewhat controversial because many modern textual scholars are not certain (sure or confident) that we can get back to the original text.