A new 4th century fragment of Justin Martyr!!!

Via Brice C. Jones I learn that the new volume of the Oxyrhynchus Papyri (vol. 73) contains a parchment fragment of the 4th century, with 6 lines from Justin Martyr’s First Apology on it! The reference is P.Oxy. 5129.

This is quite a find, since the apologies of Justin are known to us only from ms. Paris graecus 450, written in 1364.   It is by no means unusual for Greek texts to be preserved only in manuscripts of the 14-16th centuries; what is unusual is to get a shred of a manuscript from antiquity.

Jones gives a photograph, transcription and translation.  It’s a shame that it’s so very short; but how very exciting too!

9 thoughts on “A new 4th century fragment of Justin Martyr!!!

  1. Let us hope so. Although how would we recognise a new fragment?

    Note that the Vatican library is a modern collection. Despite popular fiction, there are no ancient volumes handed down.

  2. That’s true. For all we know some Papias fragments have been discovered but there would be no way of knowing some of them unless you had enough context with some of the stuff already known.

  3. The text of all of Justin’s works is preserved in a single manuscript, now Parisinus Graecus 450, written in September 1364. A list of the all works contained in that manuscript can be found at the Pinakes website here. According to Eric Osborn, the manuscript is incomplete and contains many errors. There is a copy of the Paris manuscript, made in 1541, a “Codex Claromontanus Mediomontanus”.

    It is not at all unusual for Greek texts to reach us only in a single late manuscript; indeed for most works, that is indeed how we get them.

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