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Artefact ID308
TM IDTM 64498
Findspot (DEChriM ID)28   (al-Bahnasā)
Writing mediumCodex
Text contentLiterary

P.Oxy. VI 850; Ap21

A fragmented folio containing parts of the Acts of John, and one of the earliest attestations of the Acts. This particular fragment of the apostolic acts is otherwise unattested.

The fragment has a partially preserved sub-title at the top of the recto, mentioning "Andronikos and the [woman]", which together with the Ephesian context allows for a placement of this fragment sequentially somewhere between the Acts 31 and 106; see ed. pr. This particular text presents two episodes from the life of St. John: the recto presents an altercation between the apostle and a demon in the shape of a soldier, who blocks his path as he crosses a bridge. The second incident, on the verso, presents the apostle as he saves Zeuxis from an attempted suicide intermixed with other scenes.

The Acts of John is attested in i.a. Greek, Coptic and Syriac, and was probably circulated among the Manicheans or Priscillianists after its composition in the 2nd c.; see Blumell / Wayment 2015: 255. 

Selection criteriaLiterary genre (Non-canonical), Nomina sacra
Date from300
Date to399
Dating criteria


Absolute/relative dateRelative date
Archaeological context

Accession number

Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS. Gr. th. f. 13 (P).


Editio princeps:

• Hunt, Arthur S. and Bernard Grenfell. 1908. The Oxyrhynchus Papyri, part VI. Published by the Egypt Exploration Society in Graeco-Roman Memoirs. London. 12-18, no. 850 and plate 1.

Additional bibliography:

• Aland, Kurt. 1976. Repertorium der griechischen christlichen Papyri: 1. Biblische Papyri: Altes Testament, Neues Testament, Varia, Apokryphen. Apokryphen 21.

• Blumell, Lincoln H. and Thomas A. Wayment. 2015. Christian Oxyrynchus: Texts, Documents and Sources. Waco, Texas. Papyrus no. 70.

• Bremmer, Jan N., ed. 1996. The Apocryphal Acts of John. Leuven.

• Czachesz, I. 2007. Commission Narratives: A Comparative Study of the Canonical and Apocryphal Acts. Leuven.

• Elliot, J. K. ed. 2005. The Apocryphal New Testament: A Collection of Apocryphal Christian Literature in an English Translation. Clarendon: Oxford University Press. 345-346.

• Geerard, Maurits. 1992. Clavis apocryphorum Novi Testamenti. Turnhout: Brepols. 129 no. 215.iii (1).

• Gounelle, Rémi. 2004a. "Actes apocryphes des Apôtres et Actes des Apôtres canoniques. État de la recherche et perspectives nouvelles (I)". Revue d'Histoire et de Philosophie Religieuses 84 (1). 3-30, 419-441.

• Gounelle, Rémi. 2004b. "Actes apocryphes des Apôtres et Actes des Apôtres canoniques. État de la recherche et perspectives nouvelles (II)". Revue d'Histoire et de Philosophie Religieuses 84 (4). 419-441.

• Haines-Eitzen, Kim. 2006. "The Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles on papyrus: revisiting the question of readership and audience". New Testament manuscripts, their text and their world. Kraus, Thomas J. and Tobias Nicklas, eds. Leiden / Boston: Brill. 293-304.

• Junod, Eric and Jean-Daniel Kaestl. 1983. Acta Iohannis. Corpus Christianorum: Series Apocryphorum 1. Turnhout: Brepolis. 108-136.

• Klauck, Hans-Josef. 2008. The Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles: An Introduction. Waco, Texas. 15-46.

• van Haelst, Joseph. 1976. Catalogue des papyrus littéraires juifs et chrétiens. Description no. 604.

• Wayment, Thomas A. 2013. The text of the New Testament apocrypha (100-400 CE). London. 10-12, 213-214.

• Wessely, C. 1924. Les plus anciens monuments du christianisme écrits sur papyrus. Vol. 2. Paris. 483-484.

• Zwierlein, O. 2011. "Griechische Papyri in der Überlieferung der Acta Apostolorum Apocrypha". I papiri letterari cristiani. Bastianini, Guido and Angelo Casanova, eds. Studi e Testi di Papirologia NS 13. 138-139 and plate 17a.

Sofia Heim, 2021
Suggested citation
Sofia Heim, 2021, "Artefact ID 308", 4CARE database - Fourth-Century Christian Archaeological Record of Egypt,