Papyri Mix Up

Rodney Decker points out that on p. 16 of The New Testament in Antiquity (Zondervan, 2009) the papyrus fragment identified as P52 is not in fact P52.  He asked if anyone could identify the manuscript in question and unfortunately I couldn’t comment on his blog (you have to be logged in and for some reason it won’t let me) so I thought I’d post the information here and hope it generates a pingback.  The manuscript on p. 16 of The New Testament in Antiquity is Oxyrhynchus Papyrus 52 which is housed in Glasgow University Library’s Special Collections Department.  One can see how such a mistake could be made with regard to the label, but Decker does have a point when he says “How a major photo extravaganza book could mis-identify such a key photo is a puzzle.”  P52 is a pretty well known fragment and it really doesn’t look anything like the one pictured below. [Update: Jesse Hillman from Zondervan informed me in a comment that they have caught the error and it will be corrected in subsequent printings.]

op52

B”H

12 thoughts on “Papyri Mix Up

  1. Thanks Nick. Sorry you couldn’t register and log in, but this way you were able to post a photo as well which you couldn’t have done in a comment on my blog.

    (You do have to register first; if you have before, I routinely delete any with non-recognizable addresses and names since the “comment spammers” constantly register with garbage info. Thus far my other spam defenses have held up and I’ve avoided blog spam. But sometimes it makes it more difficult for a legitimate user.)

  2. Mike: After I saw Rod’s post I looked in Comfort’s Encountering the Manuscripts which has photos of a lot of the NT papyri and when I didn’t see it there I checked all of the references to the Oxyrhynchus Papyri listed in the book on the POxy website and still couldn’t find it. So my last resort was to check the index to The New Testament in Antiquity and they listed the photo as coming from the Glasgow University Library. So the next step was check them out and voila! The funny thing is that it’s not even a NT manuscript which explains why I couldn’t find it anywhere in Comfort’s book.

  3. I’m sure that the authors would have known the differences between the two fragments. This has to be some sort of publisher’s editorial blunder. I don’t own a copy of the book yet, but I’m wondering if there are any other image in it, even with the coins.

    Has anyone checked for other potential mistakes? Curious.

  4. Hi Nick,

    Thanks for your detective work. I check with our editorial team and this is an error we caught immediately upon release. It will be corrected in the next printing.

    I think the question (“How a major photo extravaganza book could mis-identify…”) pretty much answers itself. Pulling off a photo-rich, complex textbook is a huge undertaking for both publisher and authors. Occasional errors, though unfortunate (and embarassing!), go with the territory.

  5. Jeremy: I’ve only flipped through the book at this point. I haven’t started my serious reading for my upcoming review yet so if Dr. Decker didn’t note this error I wouldn’t have known about it. I do know that on the back cover Scot McKnight’s name is misspeclled, but this was caught early enough for Zondervan to change it before releasing the book to the public.

    Jesse: Thanks for the info. I’ve updated the post to reflect it.

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