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Artefact ID254
TM IDTM 64601
Findspot (DEChriM ID)28   (al-Bahnasā)
Writing mediumCodex
Text contentLiterary

P.Oxy. V 840; Oxyrhynchus Gospel 840

Fragment containing an apocryphal gospel. The folio is almost completely intact (measuring 8.8 x 7.4 cm) and belongs to a miniature codex; see Kruger 2002: 81-94. The text is written in brown and demarcated in red ink (word-initial letters, accents, mid-points, etc.), and features a dialogue with Jesus in which he is consequently referred to as the Saviour (ὁ σωτήρ).

The text frequently abbreviates: there are several nomina sacra, and line-final ny realized as a horizontal stroke. The hand is small and slightly irregular, written in upright, round uncials; see ed. pr.

Selection criteriaLiterary genre (Non-canonical), Nomina sacra
Date from325
Date to425
Dating criteria

Palaeography. The small, upright uncials indicate a date in the 4th c. The ed. pr. adds that the fragment cannot be later than the 5th c., considering the accompanying papyri from the excavation site.

Absolute/relative dateRelative date
Archaeological context

The fragment was found in al-Bahnasā (Oxyrhynchos) during the excavations of Bernard Grenfell and Arthur S. Hunt.

Accession number

Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS. Gr. th. g. 11 (P).


Editio princeps:

∙ Hunt, Arthur S. and Bernard Grenfell. 1908. The Oxyrhynchus Papyri, part V. Published by the Egypt Exploration Society in Graeco-Roman Memoirs. London. 1-10, no. 840.

Additional bibliography:

∙ Bernhard, Andrew E. Other early Christian gospels. Library of New Testament studies 315. 101, 120-125.

∙ Bertrand, D. A. 1997. Écrits apocryphes chrétiens I. Bovon, F. and P. Geoltrain, eds. Paris.

∙ Blumell, Lincoln H. and Thomas A. Wayment. 2015. Christian Oxyrynchus: Texts, Documents and Sources. Waco, Texas. Papyrus no. 77.

∙ Bovon, François. 2000. "Fragment Oxyrhynchus 840, Fragment of a Lost Gospel, Witness of an Early Christian Controversy over Purity". JBL 119 (4). 705-728.

∙ Buchinger, Harald and Elisabeth Hernitscheck. 2014. "P. Oxy. 840 and the Rites of Christian Initiation: Dating a piece of alleged anti-sacramentalistic polemics". Early Christianity 5 (1). 117-124.

∙ de Santos Otero, A. 1963. Los Evangelios apócrifos. Madrid. 80-82.

∙ Geerard, M. 1992. Clavis apocryphorum Novi Testamenti. Turnhout. 1, no. 1.

∙ Hernitscheck, Elisabeth. 2017. "Im trüben Wasser des "Davidsteichs": P. Oxy. 840 und die Suche nach seiner Provenienz". Shadowy characters and fragmentary evidence: the search for early Christian groups and movements. Verheyden, Joseph, Tobias Nicklas and Elisabeth Hernitschek, eds. Wiss. Unters. zum Neuen Testament 388. Tübingen. 89-108.

∙ Horsley, G.H.R, ed. 1977. New Documents Illustrating Early Christianity. Vol. 2. §98.7.

∙ Jeremias, J. 1964. Unknown Sayings of Jesus. London. 49-50.

∙ Kraus, Thomas J. 2004. "P.Oxy. V 840 – Amulett oder Minaturkodex? Grundsätzliche und ergänzende Anmerkungen zu zwei Termini". Journal for Ancient Christianity 8. 485-497.

∙ Kruger, Michael J. 2002. "P.Oxy.840: Amulet or Miniature Codex?". JThS NS 53. 81-94.

∙ ———. 2005. The Gospel of the Saviour. An analysis of P.Oxy. 840 and its place in the gospel traditions of early Christianity. Texts and editions for New Testament study 1. Leuven.

∙ ———. 2009. "Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 840". Gospel fragments. Kraus, Thomas J., Michael J. Kruger, and Tobias Nicklas, eds. 121-215.

∙ Lührmann, Dieter and Egbert Schlarb. 2000. Fragmente apokryp dener Evangelien in griechischer und lateinischer Sprache. MTS 59. Marburg. 164-169.

∙ Porter, S. E. 2006. "Textual criticism in the light of diverse textual evidence for the Greek New Testament: An expanded proposal". New Testamnt Manuscripts: Their Texts and their World. Kraus, T. J. and T. Nicklas, eds. Leiden. 326-330.

∙ Schröter, Jens. 2020. "Gospel of the Savior (P.Oxy. 840)". The reception of Jesus in the first three centuries. Vol. 2. Schröter, J., and C. Jacobi, eds. 255-263.

∙ Shellberg, Pamela. 2009. "A Johannine reading of Oxyrhynchus Papyrus 840". Jewish and Christian scripture as artifact and canon. C.A. Evans and H.D. Zacharias, eds. Library of second temple studies 70. 176-191.

∙ Sweete, H. B. 1924. Two New Gospel Fragments. Cambridge. 4-5.

∙ van Haelst, Joseph. 1976. Catalogue des papyrus littéraires juifs et chrétiens. Paris. Description no. 585.

∙ Wayment, Thomas A. 2013. The text of the New Testament apocrypha (100-400 CE). New York / London. 190-192.

∙ Wessely, C. 1924. Les plus anciens monuments du christianisme écrits sur papyrus. Vol. 2. Paris. 488-490.

∙ Zelyck, Lorne R. "Recontextualizing Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 840". Early Christianity 5 (2). 178-197.

Sofia Heim, 2021
Suggested citation
Sofia Heim, 2021, "Artefact ID 254", 4CARE database - Fourth-Century Christian Archaeological Record of Egypt,