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GOSPEL FRAGMENT OXYRHYNCHUS PAPYRUS №1224 (50-150 AD) Questions

Posted: March 29th, 2019, 1:45 pm
by Hal Smith
I understand that the forum does not address issues of translation, theology, and text meaning criticism. So here, as part of my studying the potential first century Christian writings, I want to ask about text reconstruction.

Papyrus 1224 contains sayings of Jesus outside of the canonical New Testament. Paul Foster writes in Early Christian Manuscripts that since Papyrus 1224 contains text from Luke's Gospel that it must have been written after Luke's Gospel.
Paul Foster's writing on this, as well as other materials on the Papyrus can be found here:
https://www.preteristarchive.com/Ancien ... 0-150.html

Some scholars propose that the fragment is from the Gospel of Peter, as Text Excavations explains:
The issue is fragment 2 recto, column 1, line 2, in which the first-person narrative perspective is employed (με εβαρησεν, it weighed me down), just like the first-person perspective twice used in our longest extant fragment of the gospel of Peter, the Akhmîm fragment.

http://www.textexcavation.com/poxy1224.html
(Question 1) How would you reconstruct the Greek text of Fragment 2 recto, column 1, below?
Here is a photograph of the fragment's section, with Paul Foster's reconstruction and comments, from his website:
Image
LINK: https://www.preteristarchive.com/Ancien ... chus/Q.PNG

Some scholars propose that the fragment deals with Jesus' sayings during his pre-Passion ministry, rather than to be a post-resurrection discourse like Gospel of Mary. This part of Papyrus 1224 could conceivably be either Jesus having a vision, or approaching the narrator in a vision. I think that the latter is the case.
Here is a reconstruction of the Greek and translation from Ben Smith's Text Excavation website (the brackets are for words and letters that are guessed or inserted by the modern translator):
[...]ρ[ογ]
με εβαρησεν. και [παρεσταμε]
νου Ιη{σου} [ε]ν οραμα[τι λεγει·]
Τι αθ[υμ]εις; ου γαρ[...]
[σ]υ αλλα ο[...]
δους επ[...]

it weighed me down. And, [having stood]
by, Je{sus} {i}n a visi[on says:]
Why are you dis[our]aged? For not [...]
[y]ou, but the [...]
Here is Paul Foster's reconstructed translation:
it weighed me down. And while Jesus stood by in vision he said "Why are you discouraged? For not... which the other visions... who gives to...
This passage suggests to some scholars that the fragment is from the Gospel of Peter, as Ben Smith explains on the Text Excavation webpage:
The issue is fragment 2 recto, column 1, line 2, in which the first-person narrative perspective is employed (με εβαρησεν, it weighed me down), just like the first-person perspective twice used in our longest extant fragment of the gospel of Peter, the Akhmîm fragment.
I started to see a possible resemblance to Luke 24, where the resurrected Jesus appears to the apostles, but it doesn't fit and the fragment above must be referring to the Transfiguration. Here is Luke 24 on Jesus' resurrection appearance:
37. But they were startled and frightened, thinking they had seen a spirit.
38. “Why are you troubled, Jesus asked, “and why do doubts arise in your hearts?
Three difficulties with equating Luke 24 with the papyrus fragment story are that (1) the apostles are not "weighed down" in Luke 24, (2) Jesus is not said to appear "in" a "vision" in Luke 24, and (3) the writers of the papyrus numbered the above passage's page as 170, whereas later on pp. 174-176 Jesus debates the pharisees directly, meaning that He was not yet died and resurrected in the fragment in question.

Paul Foster notes that the idea of Jesus appearing in a vision before the Passion is not out of question for early Christian writings, as this occurs in the gnostic Gospel of Judas. He notes that in Luke 9:32, the apostles are "weighed down"(in Greek the same verb) with sleep at the Transfiguration, and they see Jesus in a vision-like or mystical state. The same Greek word for visions used in the fragment appears in Matthew's story of the Transfiguration, where Jesus says not to tell of the "vision". So my guess is that the passage refers to the Transfiguration.

(Question 2) How would you reconstruct the text of Fragment 2 recto, column 2 (page [1]76), below? I have trouble understanding the passage's logic.
Here is Paul Foster's photograph from his webpage (the bottom line is cut off, unfortunately):
Image
LINK: https://www.preteristarchive.com/Ancien ... chus/S.PNG

Here is Ben Smith's Greek reconstruction and his translation:
[...ρ]ος
[...κ]αι̣ π̣[ρ]οσευχεσθε υπερ
[των εχθ]ρων υμων. ο γαρ μη ων
[κατα υμ]ων υπερ υμων εστιν.
[ο σημερον ω]ν μακραν αυριον
[εγγυς υμων γ]ενησεται, και εν
[...] του αντιδι[κου]
[...]ινενων[...]


[...a]nd pray on behalf of
[the ene]mies of yours. For he who is not
[against y]ou is for you.
[He who today i]s far away tomorrow
[close at hand to you will] be, and in
[...] the adver[sary]
The Early Christian Writings website gives this reconstructed translation: "... and pray for your enemies. For the one who is not against you is for you. The one who is far away today, tomorrow will be near you and in... the adversary..."
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/t ... s1224.html
Do you think that the reconstructions above are too speculative?
Pray on behalf of your enemies because those who are not against you are for you? I have difficulty understanding the logic that would be in these reconstructed sayings.
Maybe it means that someone who is not against you should not be considered your enemy and so you should treat those persons, whom you consider to be your enemies, well and pray for them?

In Luke 9:50, Jesus' disciples tell Him about a stranger preaching in Jesus' name, and Jesus replies, “Do not stop him, for the one who is not against you is for you.” But Luke 9 doesn't include what follows it: "[He who today i]s far away tomorrow [close at hand to you will] be... the adversary..." Have you seen such a saying elsewhere?

Re: GOSPEL FRAGMENT OXYRHYNCHUS PAPYRUS №1224 (50-150 AD) Questions

Posted: March 29th, 2019, 6:00 pm
by RickBrannan
Where are you getting a date of 50–150AD for these fragments (note: see edit at bottom of post)? Grenfell & Hunt (edito princeps) dated it to the 4th century, and one of the more recent treatments (Wayment, "Text of the New Testament Apocrypha (100–400 CE)," p. 192) dates it to the 4th century as well, and I don't recall any editions (Bernhard, Lührmann or others) varying from that date. Trismegistos ( https://www.trismegistos.org/text/64501 ) puts it in the first half of the 4th century (300–350) which seems about right to me.

Generally, if the editor of the fragment can associate a passage from a known writing with the fragment context, then some guesses at reconstruction can be made. Once association with an extant writing is made, especially today when so much Greek text is available to search online, one can attempt to locate possible words (via concordances or other avenues) from the associated context that fit the available text and space. But no matter how decent the reconstruction seems, remember that there's a reason for the brackets — it makes it very plain which portion of the transcription or translation is supplied/reconstructed, and which portion is a reading of the textual evidence. It reminds us to take caution if we're relying too much on reconstructions for an argument.

Edit: I see that your "50–150" is an estimate of the date of *composition*, not of the dating of the actual fragments of P.Oxy. 1224.

Re: GOSPEL FRAGMENT OXYRHYNCHUS PAPYRUS №1224 (50-150 AD) Questions

Posted: March 30th, 2019, 2:15 pm
by Bill Ross
My understanding is that papyri are often dated solely on the basis of paleography (handwriting analysis) which I understand to be perhaps just a notch ahead of pseudoscience in terms of reliability. Generally, again, from what I understand, it is inappropriate to put any confidence in such dating to be accurate except perhaps within a 100 years in either direction. I don't know the case on that particular papyri but I thought I would mention that.