Variant Readings

Oxyrhynchus Papyri Pile Excavated papyri; image source: Egypt Exploration Society

My book on early Christian manuscripts contains a chapter on the Christian material that has so far emerged from the excavations of Grenfell and Hunt at Oxyrhynchus. One of the questions I was unable to answer during my research was  to what degree the Christian literary material that has been published in the Oxyrhynchus Papyri series is representative of the total amount of Christian literary material that was collected by Grenfell and Hunt. To phrase it another way, can we know whether the 160 or so Christian books (codices and rolls) so far published in the P.Oxy. series represent 5%, or 20%, or 50%, or 60%, etc. of the total number of Christian fragments collected in the Oxyrhynchus excavations.

You may recall that, in light of the odd circumstances surrounding the identification and publication of P.Oxy. 83.5345 (the papyrus formerly known as “first-century…

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