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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.

• Kruger, Michael J. 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.

• Kruger, Michael J. 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,